Faith-based organizations provide services on par with or greater than many local governments. So says a new study from Baylor University’s Institute for Studies in Religion. The study demonstrates that faith-based organizations such as churches, rescue missions, and organizations like the Salvation Army, are leading new effective practices addressing homelessness, poverty, unemployment, addiction, housing, domestic violence and incarceration. The Baylor study suggests that faith-based organizations are on the cutting edge of developing innovative, long-term solutions for societies more intractable problems.
FBO’s lead in understanding and addressing the root causes of issues like homelessness. They do so by rightly identifying the causes of homelessness and treat the lack of housing as a symptom of more complex issues. This perspective, stands in stark contrast to federal agencies and public policy that not only assert that the lack of housing is the cause of homelessness, but de-fund organizations and approaches that address root causes. According to the study, “Faith-Based organizations prioritize holistic before, during and after care for those at risk for our experiencing homelessness rather than focusing on housing first.”
They also lead in the provision of basic services like emergency shelter beds. The study surveyed eleven cities and the impact and scope of services FBO’s provided. The researchers found that in the eleven cities surveyed, FBO’s provided twenty-five percent more shelter beds than those provided by other sources.