Some struggles of working in a homeless shelter.

Posted: November 23, 2015 in homeless, homelessness, shelters, Uncategorized
Tags: ,

This post is a little different because I want to bring you into my mind and emotions while working on the front line in a homeless shelter. There are a few points I want to touch on:

  • People coming and going, are they really learning anything?
  • Becoming friends with guests.
  • Unrealistic expectations.


People ask me often what the hardest part of working in a shelter is. Because I have been working here as long as I have, it is hard to see people enter one of our programs, stop using drugs, but after a couple weeks/months/years see the same person(s) fall back, sometimes worse than before

We want to be the friendliest place on the earth. Naturally we make a lot of friendships with people looking for shelter. I have a lot of friends now, because of them coming through shelter, us bonding and continuing to be friends. I have written about some in the past and will continue to write about some in the future. I am a naturally friendly person, and I genuinely care about every person that comes through our doors, because of this it can be very hard on me emotionally. When I see people come to our shelter or other programs, start doing well, sometimes people have even worked for me, but then go back to their old life style. I am not sure if they know how much they are cared about. Many thoughts go through my mind.

Should I quit working at the shelter?

Is there something I did wrong?

Were they just using me for a friendship? This is a big one in the past I have had people where we became friends, but the moment I have to enforce a rule, our friendship is over.  So rough emotionally, because on top of all this I have a crowd of people right in front of me that needs my immediate attention.

It is also so hard hearing of people dying, being in the hospital, almost dying, getting in fights, losing their children, being arrested. I am not sharing these thoughts to get sympathy, but to show you just a few of the emotional struggles that I go through often. For people that know me I do not get emotional very often, so this is probably the only post that will ever be like this.

Having unrealistic expectations can be a big frustration. Seeing people, hearing their hearts and thoughts, seeing them do well, knowing that they know better, but seeing them go down a road where they know leads to destruction. Some times I have to let go of circumstances and not bring the burdens of other individuals on my own shoulders or in my own life. However there is such a balance because we still need to show love and compassion.

These are the struggles of someone who works in a relational ministry. On the flip side  I can’t even describe how it feels to see someone get their life in order and live for Christ, and that is why I continue to do what I do. I could share stories upon stories depicting the thoughts I have shared today, but I will continue to share stories, where these topics are highlighted.

Do you have any questions for someone who works in a shelter?

Are you thinking about getting involved in local missions, and want more information?

Leave a comment I would be happy to get back to you.

  1. Scarlett says:

    I don’t know you except through your blog, but we have a lot in common. You see, I have gone through the same heart wrenching emotions with my one drug addicted son’s roller coaster life, and in and out of jail. Hopeful at times, only to be let down again. The Lord says, Will you trust me with this?” Yes, Lord, I will. My heart is bleeding but not torn. .


  2. Camille Ola Bourgeois says:

    How much your relaxing posture, attitude, seeing what you go through for only a few hours I’m there is an encouragement to an old duffer like me with my own situation. I’m proud to know you Danny, your a great inspiration to us all.


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