While the public library in Levittown, PA took the day off after the recent storm, even when roads and parking lots were clear, the homeless found work shoveling snow.
About a year ago, “Crazy Dog Lady” arranged to meet a homeless man at the library between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. to do some work for her. Come 11:45, she hadn’t shown up. The guy had some other work lined up, so about noon, he left. Crazy Dog Lady waltzed into the library about 12:30. She didn’t think anything of it; she reasoned that the homeless just stick around the library all day. Wrong!
Not when they have work lined up.
The last time I saw this guy was several months ago. He had started working park time, and said he expected the job to become full time.
Given the chance, the homeless will work. I once overheard a conversation between this man and other homeless guys where they said they just wanted to get into a routine.
At the library, homeless people have used the resources to find work and educate themselves. One woman in particular relentlessly used the library computer, even coming back twice the same day on the same site in case a new job opened. She was able to move out of her car, into the shelter, then into an apartment.
Shelter is the biggest need the homeless face.
The liberal establishment in Bucks County, PA, instead of seriously addressing the homeless problem, which started about 1977, and was officially recognized in the late 80s, following James Brown’s advice, gets up and dances, and they feel better. It is a feel good mentality.
Unlike the ant in Aesop’s fable The Ant and The Grasshopper who puts his back to the plow, the county, like the grasshopper, fiddles around.
I emailed Bucks County Commissioner Diane Marseglia to run my idea by her to set aside Bucks County property and create a place for the homeless to live. The encampment would be official, with rules, and the homeless would build and take care of the developed land. The Commissioner’s response was that doing this would jeopardize the chances for the homeless to take advantage of county housing.
Holy non-sequitur, Batman!
There is a one to two year wait for county housing.
At Queen Anne’s county park, one end of which abuts the library and the shelter, which is designated for passive recreation, shelters were put up for feral cats — a gated community for homeless felines. For sure, the homeless were evicted from that area because of drug use, but there are many areas that could be used for homeless shelters.
Much park land is woods, with many trails running through, and homeless encampments can be set up unobtrusively between the trails.
There was a guy who used to live at the edge of the vacated homeless woods. The neighbors were friendly with him. A guy who used to walk his dog by his site used to stop and talk with us. When I was helping him move from another spot, the dog walker introduced his dog as they approached us, whose name I recalled.
One one occasion, I met with the vice principle of the Bucks County Tech school to ask about giving a homeless woman more time to pack up after security told her to vacate her tent site in the woods by the school. He wanted her out ASAP, and added that he’s responsible to the student’s parents.
Many homeless people are not like the grasshopper, who wants a handout and hustles to make his way. The officials from the mental health industry in Bucks County, however, are one with the grasshopper.
I think disco lights should be brought to Code Blues, with the disco song “The Hustle” playing with the pulsating lights. Then, as mental health representatives step center strange, “give it up for…” would be announced, as they dance.
People complain about and judge the homeless. I’ve heard from more than once source that government workers and places with unions tell their workers not to work too hard so more work can be created. A homeless person told me that during one snow event, she showed up for work but was sent home. She was told that if other people stay home, everybody stays home.
This is an example of the group think that is destroying our country. During the Eisenhower 50s, when individual responsibility and hard work, and innovation were championed we were better off. We didn’t have a homeless problem like we do now.
The guy who was stood up by Crazy Dog Lady said that when you are homeless, you learn to innovate, unlike how Bucks County addresses the homeless problem.
A large reason it’s hard to create shelter for the homeless is hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless. When I asked the Advocates for the Homeless and those in Need (AHTN) for tips and help for our nascent non-profit to find shelter for the homeless, I was told that AHTN looked into it but it can’t be done — that 24-7 security would be needed. I replied that we don’t plan to be a babysitting service.
Why not create a village, appoint a trusted homeless person to manage it, and in the case of county park land, have a ranger oversee the operation. The ranger could get to know the leaders and the people in the village. Active druggies and other problem people would not be invited. Rules would be established and enforced.
The nascent non profit, Gimmee Shelter for which I’m publicist, has a few ideas, as reported in Times Publishing: http://www.timespub.com/2015/04/30/working-for-a-place-to-stay/
I keep finding homeless people who are getting their acts together.
To fight hobophobia, people in the homeless community need to get their acts together.
I’ve been traveling in circles where the homeless help and build each other up.
This is how they do it in the 12 steps journey program, which meets two different nights in two different locations in lower Bucks County, PA. For more information: www.12stepjourney.com