Q & R: Enabling or ???

Here’s the Q:

The first is the one I have deeply been struggling with.  I believe deeply in Matt 25.  I have even hosted a refugee from Congo in my house, helping her build a life for years.  Justice runs deep for me.
However, I am stuck with the knowledge of psychology and concepts like enabling.  I’m not sure if I’ve gotten older but I don’t like to give to people on the street because I feel that I’m enabling them not to adopt health behaviors.
Hover, I can’t see Jesus saying to someone, “Well, if you would just get your act together and stop self sabotaging. That is the real lesson here.  Learn to stop being disfunctional and using others for short term games and grow up.”
Can you give me any insight or is this just living in the tension.
— You’re right to be concerned about enabling. But like many concerns, it can mislead if you don’t integrate it with other concerns. Let me give you a quick example.
If a person is mentally ill (say, suffering from untreated depression or schizophrenia), they can easily end up on the street. But telling them to get their act together is like saying, “If you weren’t mentally ill, you wouldn’t be mentally ill!” That’s why programs like “Housing First” make so much sense to me. They acknowledge that conditions like homelessness have many causes, and you can’t treat one symptom of the condition without dealing with the larger system of conditions. Mental illness, drug abuse, unemployment, and the economy, for example, exist in dynamic relationship. (Obviously, Housing First, like any program, has its critics, but I’ve seen it up close and seen good results.)
What we think of as internal or personal causes or conditions are deeply related to social, economic, and other external causes or conditions.
Dorothy Day understood this:
But there was another question in my mind.  Why was so much done in remedying the evil instead of avoiding it in the first place?…  Where were the saints to try to change the social order, not just to minister to the slaves, but to do away with slavery?
I often say that compassion is a “gateway drug” that leads to justice. You get involved with people’s suffering (compassion) and it leads you to address the causes of their suffering – both internal and external causes. And when you do, very, very often you discover an abuse of power that must be addressed, which is a concern of justice.
That doesn’t delegitimize the need for acts of compassion for individuals. But it shows the necessary connection between compassion and justice, between treating individual symptoms and larger social diseases.
In fact, sometimes, acting in compassion doesn’t enable the recipient of charity – it enables the perpetuator of injustice! For example, if a corporation doesn’t provide its workers a fair wage, while overpaying its executives, and we help the workers with free food and health care, in a real sense, we aren’t simply enabling the workers, we’re contributing to the obscene salaries of the executives! That’s not an excuse to be careless about the struggling workers; it’s a challenge to help them in their immediate distress while addressing the larger causes of those conditions – including a mentality that workers are expendable and CEO’s matter.
The old metaphor for this is we have to pull people out of the river, but we also have to send someone upstream to find out who is throwing people in the river, and stop them from doing so.
Another quote from Dorothy Day captures our challenge beautifully, I think:
The mystery of the poor is this: That they are Jesus, and what you do for them you do for Him. It is the only way we have of knowing and believing in our love. The mystery of poverty is that by sharing in it, making ourselves poor in giving to others, we increase our knowledge of and belief in love.