Walking back to your car after a going to a Washington Wizards or Nationals game, you most always find a good number of homeless people on the streets playing music or simply asking for a little something to help them out. Unfortunately, it is all too common to hear negative, derogatory comments made by people who pass by these homeless people while others simply direct their gaze elsewhere to try and not see and feel the suffering of the people all around them.
For many people who don’t understand or comprehend the root causes of homelessness or how issues such as mental health, lack of education or job training, and simple bad luck can all play into homelessness, it is all too easy to condemn and criticize homeless people for their supposed lack of motivation or personal incentive to improve their lives.
Charles Purcell is an inspiring individual who can truly understand the situation of the homeless because he too once shared the streets with them. The most genuine forms of empathy arise when one can truly identify with what another person is going through. The fact that Charles suffered through the pains of homelessness for much of his life, and then was able to find ways to reinsert himself as a productive member of society, allows for a greater empathy and solidarity with the homeless.
Instead of empty and aimless criticism and blame, Charles intimately understands that what most homeless people need is a helping hand and a little bit of encouragement so that they can find a path forward. Again, his personal history of having lived on the street and found the strength to make his way back to society makes his work with homeless people much more effective and valuable than other organizations that tend to treat homeless as objects of charity.
According to Charles, after overcoming his own situation of homelessness “God tapped into my heart, into my compassion, and caused me to empathize with the homeless more than just feel sorry for them. He showed me how His heart aches for those living in such a condition.”
The main initiative that Charles has developed to help people suffering from homelessness in the DC area is #HomelessLivesMatter. The main purpose of Homeless United is to bring other homelessness organizations together to combine (and not duplicate) efforts. A stronger coalition will be more effective in helping to eradicate the root causes of homelessness while also helping to relieve the current needs of the homeless population.
To raise funds and awareness, #HomelessLivesMatter has begun a fundraising campaign to spread the message and get the community involved. For every donation you make, you will receive a customized #HomelessLivesMatter item that will help to bring awareness to the greater DC community.
- For every $5 you donate you get a wristband with #HomelessLivesMatter printed on it.
- For every $20 donation, you get a Coffee Mug.
- For every $25 donation, you get a Raise Awareness T-Shirt.
- For every $50 donation, you get a Raise Awareness Hoodie.
You learn more about #HomelessLivesMatter and if you want to donate, visit them at: