Faith-based organizations are providing more emergency beds for the homeless than other shelters across 11 major U.S. cities.
A study by Baylor University found that FBOs provided over 50 percent of emergency beds in seven of the 11 studied cities; Omaha, Houston, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Seattle, Denver, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego and Portland.
Some FBOs provide religious opportunities including bible study and worship services while others help because they feel motivated by service, according to the study.
There is a very significant body of empirical evidence showing that the practice of one’s faith tends to protect people from harm while also promoting positive behavior for individuals and families. On the other hand, a review of federally-funded studies on homelessness reveals that faith as well as marriage remain largely overlooked as factors that might reduce addiction, abuse and homelessness, according to the study.
When FBOs provide shelter, food and services for the homeless population they significantly lower taxpayer costs. Researchers estimated that there was a three-year total of $119 million in taxpayer savings, reported Religion News Service.
According to the Baylor study, the services provided by FBOs alleviate government burdens through law enforcement, public assistance and healthcare that must be provided for the homeless.
The study also addressed the core issues causing homelessness, including addiction, incarceration, poverty and domestic violence.