Katy is a beautiful community. Our manicured boulevards are lined with neatly trimmed crape myrtles and beautiful oak trees planted on islands of green grass adorned with accents of colorful flowers. Subdivisions are governed by home owners associations that zealously protect the integrity of their respective master-planned communities. Katy residents don’t have to venture far to find good food, plentiful entertainment, and convenient shopping. And all this within a stone’s throw of the greater Houston area. Katy is a great place to call home.
There is, however, a small population of folks who have no home and yet consider Katy their home. They somehow manage to survive in places we drive past but never really see. According to my friend Officer Jaime Giraldo with Houston Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team, there are as many as 40 homeless people who live in our community. Many of these have chosen to live in Katy because they are afraid to live among the larger homeless population in inner-city Houston.
Over the years our missions ministry has worked with the homeless in Houston and supported numerous outreach initiatives to these displaced folks. Early in 2011, I had the privilege of meeting Officer Jaime Giraldo who introduced me to the compassionate work of HPD’s Homeless Outreach Team. We have supported the work of his team by supplying them with clothing, funds to help reunite folks with their families, backpacks stuffed with hygiene items, and more. The police officers who serve with the Homeless Outreach Team do a great work and are a valuable asset to our community.
Officer Giraldo and I recently visited to discuss the plight of Katy’s homeless population. He shared with me that they not only need food and clothing but medical care as well. And then he asked if we would be willing to partner with his team to host a monthly mobile medical clinic for the homeless on our campus. The Harris County Hospital District staffs a mobile medical clinic specifically designed to care for the homeless. Of course, the answer was an immediate yes!
Officer Giraldo and his team know the homeless in Katy by name. They know all of the hidden spots where they are tucked away. And they know the challenges that each of them face, including all sorts of medical issues as well as those with some mental health challenges. Officer Giraldo said that once a month, he and his team will pick up and transport the homeless to our campus to receive medical care and then transport them back to the places where they live.
I am happy to report that yesterday we hosted our first mobile medical clinic for the homeless. The medical staff rendered compassionate care to those who came for help. Our missions ministry provided breakfast, something we will do each month. We will also supply hygiene kits and provide for other needs. As I watched Officer Giraldo and his partner Officer Dhooper (aka Super Dhooper) bring in the homeless in their black and white Homeless Outreach Team van dubbed Shamu, I thought of what Jesus said when He talked about the least of these: “I was sick and you visited me” (Matt. 25:36).
I am thankful for the collaborative efforts of the Houston Police Department, the Harris County Hospital District, and our missions ministry to care for the homeless in Katy. We must work cooperatively in order to care for the homeless who live in our own community. And, we must be Jesus with skin on to those who, for whatever reason, have no roof over their heads and none of the comforts of home. We look forward to hosting the mobile medical clinic for the homeless again next month.