Encountering Homelessness in 2019

Happy New Year!

2019 Is The Year Of The Voice

I struggled to get off the jam-packed freeway full of road rage and weary drivers that found themselves parked instead of moving forward.  Here it was 6:45 p.m. and I needed to get my life-sustaining heart meds before 7:00 because the pharmacy closed its steel doors at the strike of the 7:00 hour and would be closed for the next two days. 

Once I got off the freeway, there was no way possible to maneuver over four lanes in enough time to turn into the pharmacy’s parking lot so I was forced to travel another bumper-to-bumper half-mile to perform a U-turn.  Amazingly, the light connected with my anxiety and turned green, rushing me into the parking lot with just a few minutes spare to run in and get my prescriptions. 

As I leaped out of my car, I was stopped, even bullied and challenged by an unknown homeless man who was adamant that I give him a couple of bucks. 

You see, in my city, the City of Roseville, I refuse to put up with panhandling.  It’s a distraction.  It initiates fear and crime and there’s ABSOLUTELY NO NEED FOR IT! 

I have even been known to stop in the middle of an intersection to get them to move on.  It’s not that I lack compassion; after all, I run a homeless organization, but it’s just that we have many resources available and their panhandling is an excuse and becomes an eyesore.

I work hard to help guide and direct them to get tapped into alternative resources and get off the streets. 

It’s hard for reality to prevail over guilt!

When encountering panhandlers, I instinctively stop what I’m doing and give them the lowdown of who I am, how and why I run an organization catered specifically to helping love on the homeless, and if they are hungry, I will buy them food.  I then pray over them, give them my business card, and tell them that if I come back in the next hour and still see them panhandling, I will have them arrested. 

You might find that harsh given my heart pours out the love of Jesus into these individuals daily, but if the services we offer don’t suffice, then it’s obvious they’re only looking for a quick fix related to drugs and/or alcohol.

This man was the FIRST AND ONLY HOMELESS individual who didn’t pack up and leave.  Sadly, he felt his fear tactics and threats to kill would influence me otherwise. 

I challenged him with his futile threats to go ahead (not the brightest move admittedly), but I’m ready to meet my savior, Jesus Christ, at any time so it didn’t really matter.

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Blameless and Forever Free Ministries is praying that 2019 initiates a new attitude and compassion for stabilization regarding our homeless epidemic. 

Being the founder of Blameless, I want to be very honest here.  In working to stabilize our homelessness through God’s Great Love, I humbly admit I get frustrated and quite offended when I encounter panhandlers.  Giving them “money” is defeating our arduous work!  It’s much easier to trigger sympathy than to seek help.

Mental illness is the main precursor of homelessness; addiction, depression, psychosis, abuse, rejection, and abandonment issues are the leading causes, but a lot of homelessness has to do with shame and guilt and the need for guidance to get reestablished back into society. 

I don’t like seeing the makeup of my town changing because homelessness is out of control, and everywhere you look they’re either lined up around our stores or in parking lots panhandling or passed out in our parks while depleting our fire and law enforcement resources.

Blameless Homeless Rite-Aid

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Please don’t encourage Panhandling!

There are many ways you can help and we need a village of people to come together and help combat this Goliath.  Please don’t encourage panhandling by offering money; but instead, as you encounter homeless beloveds, acknowledge their presence with eye contact and a warm smile and maybe even say “good morning.”  Being affirmed builds worth and a sense of belonging.

You could offer to buy them a sandwich or burger along with a milk.  A used bike and metal cart is invaluable. 

Another idea is sharing you are tight on money, but could they use laundromat tokens or clothing?  Share with them you’ll go home and be right back with a few things and/or buy tokens with laundry detergent. 

Better yet, donate to charitable nonprofits like Blameless that deal with homelessness.

Here is a glimpse of one homeless beloved who wanted to go to the laundromat for his birthday…

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I personally have found that the most significant treasure was asking if I could pray for them.  Praying over an individual offers hope and a sprinkling of love that someone actually acknowledges their presence and took the time to pray for them.

Being the hands and feet of God encourages the homeless that they’re seen and their lives matter.  This is the way our communities can come together along with the homeless and help find a remedy to stabilize and tackle this epidemic.

God is going to do mighty things in 2019 and tackling this homelessness is going to be one of them. 

Happy New Year!  May God be with you, keep you safe and bless your generosity.

 

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

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Help Me Find My Family

Blameless Gregory

Help Me Find My Family

Please share.  This is Gregory Garland and his birthday is Saturday, October 6.  He is nearing 70 years old and his last known address was in the Seattle, Washington area.  Those blue eyes radiate his kindness and hope without telling the real story of how he wants to go home and be with his children.  His children are located in Washington and Massachusetts and probably think he’s dead.  Their names are Cheri Lee Garland, Stephanie Harrera (spelling ?), Gregory J. Garland and Sean I. Garland.  If you know them, please contact Tammy Ingram or Blameless and Forever Free Ministries at blamelessandforeverfree@gmail.com or Facebook.

Gregory came to California for a hip replacement surgery.  Once he was released, he wanted his alcohol.  He is an alcoholic.  One thing led to another and he was attacked and beat up with all his possessions taken except for his walker.  This is how I met Gregory.  He was incoherent on the side of the road and I pulled over.  I had to stop traffic and summon paramedics.  He went back to the hospital.

Upon release, he had no driver’s license, no wallet, no cell phone, nothing but his walker.  I have run back into Gregory after looking for him for months and we need to find his family.  He stays to himself, like many homeless, and has exhausted all resources and feels this is just how he will die. 

Due to technology, can you remember your kids’ phone numbers?  I can’t and have felt hopeless at times and quite ignorant when my cell wasn’t readily available.  What most of you don’t know about the homeless is, a lot of resources are not available without a valid I.D.  They cannot even receive necessary resources like temporary shelters because they don’t have a valid I.D.  We cannot get Gregory a valid I.D. without a birth certificate.

Many homeless individuals suffer from this mandatory item; lack of I.D.  It is horrendous and quite a lengthy time-consuming process and expensive to get the necessary items that are needed for emergency support.  Plus, you need a valid mailing address to send this pertinent information to.  If you’re homeless, you don’t have a valid mailing address.

We will be ordering Gregory’s birth certificate and finish completing the forms on Thursday, but it will take weeks to have it sent to Blameless’ mailing address.  Then once we get it, we will have to go down to the DMV and order an I.D. card/driver’s license which will take a couple more weeks.  You get the idea here.  He is unable to receive his Social Security or any financial help.  He is suffering from a significant skin disease/lesions throughout his body now and needs medical help.

Please, this man is near and dear to me.  If we can find his family, I will do everything in my power to put him on a bus or an airplane to get him to his daughters in Washington, but I need to first find them and have hopes that they have his birth certificate or other documents to expedite travel.

Yes, this is a battle which keeps many homeless beloveds homeless.  I used to sit back and judge and get all pissy because some hotels were allowing the homeless to come into the lobby area and charge their cell phones.  I felt so violated and upset with the generous management of some hotels.  Woe to me for being Princess Tammy judging and thinking heinously because now here I am running a nonprofit organization that is trying to make a difference in the lives of those who have been rejected and are homeless for a sundry of reasons.

Please help me help Gregory Garland whose birthday is Saturday, October 6, in finding his family so his gentle spirit can live long enough to get home and see his family.  I’ve had to hunt him down.  He is not asking for anything, but I AM!  This will also remove one more homeless person off the streets.  One person at a time, one day at a time.  With God, all things are possible!

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

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