This is out of the ordinary email for me, please read it entirely with open eyes.
Friday night, November 17th, I and my husband had the privilege of attending an event sponsored by Refresh and Renew hosted by Carolyn’s Café. This event was very informative meeting scoped along side with a silent auction on raising money for a mobile shower unit and all the necessities to go along with it to help bring dignity and a fresh start to our Redlands homeless population.
Prior to the event my eyes and ears were keen on to what was around me and what people were saying about the homeless.
The homeless… Dirty, disgusting, drug addicts and alcoholics, they choose to live that way, they’re thieves and pedophiles, not in my neighborhood, I mean I have to keep my family safe!
Those are just some of the words that were used by kind, friendly smiling people that live in and around our community.
I want to break it down on how I see things keep in mind I’m no expert on the homeless and I in NO way am saying that you who are reading this are those same people who I heard say these words:
Dirty: of course they’re dirty they haven’t had a shower in only they and God knows how long.
Disgusting: of course they’re disgusting they haven’t had a shower or even brushed their teeth. You try not being able to shower or brush your teeth and you too will be dirty and disgusting.
Drug addicts/alcoholics: it seems that they can go hand-in-hand pretty well. Many of the homeless are indeed addicted both drugs and alcohol. Many of them suffer from mental illness. They don’t have the proper medication or guidance, so wise decisions are not made. Others have had unspeakable things happen to them that they cannot escape, so drugs and alcohol offer that temporary moment of sanity in there insane world. Also alcohol keeps you warm on cold winter nights, hopefully the nights aren’t so cold where hypothermia sets in.
They choose to live that way: I think not. Would you choose to give up all your comfort to sleep on concrete sidewalk because the building shields you from the wind, the cold and rain or where do you go when there is no toilet because businesses tell you to get out because no one wants to see or smell you when they are eating?
Thieves: I’m sure a lot of them have stolen for food and drugs and alcohol. What have you justified taking that didn’t belong to you?
Pedophiles: oh touchy subject! They’re everywhere at work and church, at the local convenience and grocery store. I’m 51, when I was seven I had a man at the grocery store grab me between my legs when I came out of the bathroom, he was the president at the local bank. Truth is most homeless are sexually violated and used in sex trafficking.
Not in my neighborhood I have to keep my children safe: then what neighborhood and are people saying that it’s OK to have other families at risk? Of course you’re not you’re not that kind of a person.
If you don’t want to keep in your neighborhood and you want to keep your family safe then maybe you should get involved.
After attending this ever so humbling event, I came home and wanted to know facts. It didn’t take me very long to find some statistics.
In 2016 according to social solutions.com
564,708 people in United States are homeless of that
83,170 individuals are considered chronically homeless. Chronic homelessness is defined as an individual who has a disability and has experience homelessness for a year or longer or an individual who has a disability and has experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years (a cumulative of 12 months).
47,725 homeless are veterans. Washington DC has the highest rate of return homelessness (145. 8 homeless vets per 10,000 homeless ).
550,000 unaccompanied single youth and young adults.
50% of the homeless population over age 50.
110,000 LGBTG youth in the US are homeless.
According to the Redlands Daily Facts Redlands homeless population is San Bernardino County’s second largest. San Bernardino - 491, Redlands - 164, Victor Ville 157, Upland 127, Ontario 91 and Rialto 91. Those numbers seem awfully low to me! I’m not an expert and I wasn’t out there counting. It just seems to me that we have a hard enough time counting people during the official senses when we have addresses for them, that it might be a little more difficult to count those who aren’t on the radar.
Back to the fundraising event. It was nice to see a variety of people who seemed like they genuinely wanted to help be a solution. There were several members from the local church I attend and surrounding area churches.
I listened to stories of how God plants the seed and how he paves the way for miracles to take place as only he can do. I listened to a volunteer who was receiving some hands on experience in Los Angeles working with another organization who has a mobile shower unit for the homeless in that area. He didn’t realize how much of a blessing it was going to be to him to clean a filthy shower so another person could have a clean body and a warm towel and some clean clothes. It reminded me of John 13:1-17, where Jesus washed the disciples feet. Truly truly I say unto you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
If you are Christian. listen to the Red Letter Man. If you’re not Christian it’s OK to get on board and be human. The golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Depending upon what media you’re reading this there will be links in appropriate places to learn more.