Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Serious Private Compassion

I love this time of year.

We are reminded of the importance of family and friends. And we are reminded of what it means to be truly compassionate. And all because of the celebration of the birth of Christ.

That is why this article is so heartening during this Christmas season. (click here)

A plan to end chronic homelessness in Minnesota by 2010 got a boost today when a coalition of business, non-profit and religious leaders announced a commitment to raise $60 million in private donations over the next three years and to coordinate public and private efforts through a new umbrella organization, HeadingHome Minnesota.

"The announcement today is a going to be a huge piece of really turbo-charging that effort," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said at a news conference at the Camden Apartments, a housing program for homeless families in North Minneapolis. (emphasis mine).

The worries, of course, are either 1) that the Government will screw this up by interfering too much in what private groups are participating in, 2) that some Leftist will file a lawsuit to prevent the religious organizations from playing a role.

True compassion comes from the heart and soul, not from the state. In fact, Government would be best served staying out of the compassion business because business, places of worship, non-profits and neighbors do a far better job of lifting the human spirit while lifting the economically depressed. In this case, the announcement today by Governor Pawlenty is truly meaningful for the goals we all have of seeing an end to chronic homelessness.

HeadingHome will stress three strategies to end homelessness, said Jim Frey, president of the Frey Foundation and the other co-chair of the new organization.

Participating groups will provide emergency assistance to people who need help to pay for housing, Frey said.

They will offer services to address the underlying causes of homelessness, he said. Those services include mental health counseling, job training and childcare.

And they will reach out to homeless youth and adults on the streets to provide the help they need to get into housing, he said.

"One of the great beauties of this plan," Pawlenty said, "is that, while it is a moon-shot plan, it gets everybody coordinated toward the same goal with a common set of objectives and tactics."

What a great story of serious private compassion as many of us prepare for the Christmas season.