Wednesday, October 14, 2009

National Coalition for the Homeless

How To Help The Homeless. Understand them. Donate. Volunteer. Just say nice things about them. Heavenly Father loves us, and He loves them. It is easier than you think to become one of them.

I knew a woman who married the wrong man. He couldn't pay the bills. She had poor health. The stress of being low-income and of his inability to get along with his boss led to her walking out. But, she had no idea that she would end up homeless. She found a live-in job that went very sour. She walked out, thinking that her father would let her come home until she found another job. Her father was sick of bailing the couple out, and said no.
She shivered at the payphone. She had saved a little money, but if they had to stay in a motel, it would be gone fast. Her sister lived in a small town. She needed to jobhunt in Atlanta where more jobs were that she could do. She thought to stay at the YWCA, but they didn't have rooms for rent any more. She called Salvation Army and many other shelters. They don't accept people after 6pm. This was in a time when a person who suddenly found herself homeless could expect to find a bed with a lot of persistence. It is a lot harder now. Stays are only 3 weeks now. Then, it was possible to stay until you found a job.
Desperate, she called a new friend she'd made through the local Parents Without Partners chapter, and the friend called other friends until she found one who could take the woman and her 18-month old in. Denise was nice, but Laura felt horrible about the stay as she looked for work. She finally got a slot at Atlanta Women's Mission, and Denise was on MARTA, so she went to 918 Howell Mill, an old renovated elementary school. There, she stepped off the bus, and into the world of the homeless.
I visited her there many times. Laura [names have been changed to preserve her anonymity] shared her story, and her friends with me. I couldn't help her because I lived in public housing, and couldn't have a guest stay without risking homelessness, myself.
I learned a lot about the plight of the homeless. Clothes are easy to get, so you can't tell if a homeless person is homeless by the way they dress. Only an extremely small percentage choose to be homeless and stay that way. Many are disabled. Many are addicted to drugs. Many have mental illness. But, most of the homeless are like you and me. Likeable, trustworthy people who are going through one of the most traumatic things a person can go through. Think about it.

Posted via web from Adia's Posterous From DanniStories

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