Tag Archives: #homelessness

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!

Buday Strong, Russell B.

Blameless Buday Strong

The Voice of Russell B.

Buday Strong

Working Homeless

Please let me introduce you to Buday Strong!  Russell is Blameless and Forever Free’s latest nominee for the board of directors.  With his unprecedented devotion in being Blameless’ chef and server, along with always being willing to help wherever he can, (only missing one week in nine months, solely due to the founder’s insistence that he heal from his shoulder surgery), he’s not missed one day serving.  One of many reasons why he is being nominated as Blameless’ homeless advocate.

Russell is a working homeless beloved himself.  And the following is raw, intimate and vulnerable, words spoken from his heart that he wants us to understand.

In Russell’s words…

The reason his homelessness started was over petty money issues between siblings and his need to provide for his children in the Philippines; “money is the root of all evil.”  His American family insinuated that his Philippine family was using him.  Russell tried to explain without compromise.

Russell has constantly put his daughters, 8 and 10, at the front burner.  His daughter says her daddy is “Buday Strong.”

Russell’s last name is Buday and it ironically means “strong, strength.”

Russell has struggled with homelessness before, but he has now become isolated and withdrawn because he is tired of being labeled as “the scourged of the community.” 

This shame keeps homeless beloveds bound without hope believing, “We’re the low life of the community in their eyes; that we don’t deserve any kind of help.” 

He tearfully continues, “If you treat us like animals, we will be animals towards you.  I want to be treated like a human being.  I have feelings like you, believe it or not.  Your looks hurt!  You don’t have to say one word, but just look, and I know what you’re thinking.” 

That is why we oftentimes say the homeless live behind their veils of shame because of what society has projected at them,

“especially when you’re pushing a cart.”

By the way, Russell is the ONE throughout this year who has loyally served the homeless community through dedication and dependability.

A lady once brought tender tears to Russell’s heart because of her statement, “Some of the nicest people with the biggest hearts are those that live on the streets.”

Russell knows what it’s like to live as a homeless individual and what is needed.  He was homeless 22 years ago in Florida for a couple of years, and now he’s currently homeless and has been for the past eight, nine months, while being employed.

What the homeless need RIGHT NOW is love, dinner and shelter every night.  Not only does safety and nourishment for the heart, soul, body and mind aid in their sleeping which is disturbed already by being out in the elements along with the crime that runs rampant in the streets, but it calms and restores their soul in making better decisions.

Homelessness has broken Russell down.  Stripped down naked feeling exposed.  “You feel worthless and no matter what you do, you try to grasp onto something and you keep slipping.  You can’t get a good handle on or a foothold on to something and you just give up due to exhaustion.  We feel broken.” 

It’s Russell’s kids and faith in God that are making sure that Russell stays Buday Strong.  Because without him, his children will not survive because they depend on the resources he provides.

With tears rolling down his cheeks, Russell shares, “You don’t know how hard this is for me, doing this.  Whenever you’re alone for so long, you bottle everything up and you don’t want to open up.”  This is one step forward towards his healing.  He just wants peace in sharing his life; advocating for the homeless. 

Russell is someone whom the founder has noticed that will give the shirt off of his back, while being homeless and cold himself, and he shutters when he thinks about how his family won’t help.  Our division and strife in families is growing increasingly divided and somehow or another we’ve lost the love.

God’s Great Love Changes Everything!

And truth be told about Russell’s love for his own family, being faced with the possibility of having his toes amputated because of chronic health issues not being addressed, which is very heavy on his heart, fear is a bipolar rivalry between his worth and value, crushing his spirit, and paralyzing him in moving forward in taking care of himself.  Self vs. family equates homelessness while he continues to work.

In conclusion, Russell’s final plea is, “All I want is for people to know me and not turn a blind eye” just because he’s homeless and pushing a cart.  If you really want to know, don’t assume, ask him why he’s homeless.

Until next time…