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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God’s Great Love Changes Everything!

Blameless Martin

God’s Great Love Changes Everything!

Love Offers Hope.  Hope Develops Confidence.  Confidence Leads To Action.  Action Results In Change!

Albert Einstein was onto something when he stated, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing!”

When we encounter homeless beloveds, our natural reaction generally triggers dismay along with blinders because it exposes the depth of our hearts.

Shallowness!

Ouch!  If you’re anything like I used to be, you become appalled when you encounter the homeless.  Do you discount them as losers?  Even refer to them as junkies and beggars with mental illness?  Or do you judge and group them together as lost souls who are polluting our rivers and streams and becoming public safety toxins?

Sadly, Einstein’s analogy is exactly how we, as a society, have been operating and dealing with the homeless.  We need to facilitate an emergent change because this homeless epidemic is out of control and it’s birthing hate, division and war instead. 

Casting and shifting blame onto our overwhelmed governmental programs, lack of law enforcement implementation and nonprofit organizations scrambling to find needed finances to create shelters, carrying the full weight of society’s expectations in finding a remedy obviously has failed.  We need education and awareness of this process while becoming part of the front lines that are no match to this Goliath.

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries continues to become equally frustrated at the increasing numbers.  This nonprofit has found that incorporating God’s Great Love and treating the homeless as our own family with the addition of their “A Beautiful You” homeless events where outreach is geared towards providing nourishment spiritually, physically and emotionally is conquering this battlefield one life at a time, one day at a time.

Should we give up because society dictates a numbers game so responsibility is relinquished? 

Every life matters so one life saved is victory!

The founder of Blameless and Forever Free Ministries has spent the last year doing life with the homeless, getting to know the need underlying the needs, and is going to try as humbly as possible to share her raw, true feelings comparing the pain and shock from the loss of her own first husband succumbing to the death delivered from alcohol addiction, depression along with homelessness, to spending a Friday evening eating dinner and listening to the story of a working homeless man, to starting a charitable organization catered to the many facets of homelessness.

Homelessness hurts and effects everyone.  Whether you’re a family member, an ex-spouse, a child/parent, taxpayer, you name it, we’re all being effected one way or another.  We can no longer relinquish responsibility.

I pray that I can somehow share openly my past judgments with candor while offering awareness to just how long it takes to cut through the bureaucratic red tape to find governmental help along with the stigma that mental illness carries to a world who is just now being introduced to the painful consequences that has been swept underneath the rug for generations. 

I am going to start showcasing one homeless beloved a month so you might understand their story; how they get to where they are and why they still remain abandoned and rejected.  Shame is a hard outer shell to crack through, much less rehabilitate.

The man above is Martin.  Martin thought he was going to die homeless with his Stage 4 colon cancer.  Outreach offered me the ability to befriend Martin, engage in fellowship with him, along with introducing him to Christ. 

Martin’s lens had been clouded and tainted by life, pain delivered through tragedy and rejection, but once we got him reading glasses, a Bible, and a whole lot of love emulating our Beautiful Jesus, Martin soon realized his life mattered.  He didn’t need as much alcohol that once dictated every decision he made (liquid courage, NOT!!!).  He realized he belonged and is now living comfortably in Sacramento with his sister and family. 

Martin, I love you and miss you dearly.  Thank you for teaching me the simplicity in sharing that I’m not the only one who becomes giddy watching the twilight of the moon dance through the trees while howling like a wolf when the moon becomes full. 

Blameless Homeless Rite-Aid

My mission with Blameless and Forever Free Ministries is not to encounter the appalling picture above anymore encamped alongside of our grocery stores.  Not all homeless want help, including Martin’s friend passed out in the photo above, but roughly 40% of our homeless do. 

And with our amazing God and all the precious beloveds dedicated to being His hands and feet, contributing to the welfare and outpouring of God’s Great Love, rehabilitation is awakened, proving with God, all things are possible! 

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

 

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