We invite people to come into our lives and our spaces, not to convert them to our side or to change them, but to create free space where we can become friends with each other based on who we each are – not who we wish they were. Hospitality means creating spaces for people to be themselves.
Homelessness is, at its core, about relationships. It is people who give our lives shape and meaning, and nobody has their best day alone. The relationships we strive to achieve must be real, based on the realities of who people are, and not agenda driven, or based upon who we wish they were.
History has taught us that when there are two groups of people, policies and decisions tend to bias upward, benefiting the group in power. The people we work among have often been on the wrong end of this power dynamic, so we seek to bias downward whenever possible. Asking ourselves, “Does this benefit the people in our community, or just the people in power?” is a useful decision-making filter.
Grace is the decision to forgive people in advance – before they’ve been proven worthy of it. Forgiving them in advance creates space for people to live into being their best selves. Grace is also aspirational – we extend grace because we wish to be recipients of it.
No one is voiceless, but there are voices that cannot be heard because the rest of us will not be quiet. Therefore, we will use our privilege and platform to bear witness to the goodness we see, the hope we encounter, and the pain we share. We amplify the voices of those who cannot be heard. By doing this work in public, we seek to stoke the imagination of the watching world about the sort of goodness that is possible.
Agency is the right of people to exert power in their own lives. It is a fundamental human right, and to the extent we take away that right, we dehumanize them. People get to make their own decisions, they have the power to choose. Honoring their agency means honoring their choices, even when that is not the decision we would have made for them.
Most outreach work is predicated on the idea that “we” can meet “their” needs. We believe that we can meet each other’s needs, if we are willing to enter into a relationship based on the belief that we all have inherent value and worth. Mutuality involves seeing people as peers and not as students to be taught or children to be monitored.