Another Brick in The Wall

One of the myths about the homeless is that they are all mentally ill. Another myth is the way people are labeled as “mentally ill.”

Some experts don’t think “mentally ill”  is an accurate term. They don’t think that people with mental problems should be labeled as being ill.  For them, “illness”, such as the flu, is caused by a virus. They ask what is the source that causes mental illness?

At the community meals for the homeless and those in need in Bucks County, PA, there are a few guests who act in a bizarre manner. Some observers have postulated that they have mental problems. Are these people “mentally ill”, and not responsible for their behavior, the way a cold makes you sneeze? Well, we are more than just a connected series of organs, nerve endings, etc., that respond to stimuli. We are a special creation. We can reason and tell the difference between right and wrong.

There are some people who can’t, or won’t distinguish between right and wrong. One character, known as “Birdman”, goes from table to table at community meals, as people are finishing up their meal and asks them if they want various items that were set out for their table, as he reaches for the items. Last night at every table he tried to get ice tea, people turned him down.  A defeated predator, he slinked away and whined  “everyone has to keep it for themselves.”

At one meal, we told him we wanted what was on our table. I added that this is for our table; “go to your own table, leave us alone, you are annoying.”

At a meal after that, as I approached him at the back of the room as I was getting my drink, he asked “Am I annoying you?” I said he wasn’t. He then asked me how he annoys me. I responded “I’ll treat that as a rhetorical question.”

Birdman doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong. Is he “mentally ill?” No. He just has bad manners and doesn’t have borders. He evidently subscribes to the concept of “The Noble Savage”, where one ignores the restraints of civilization and just follows one’s animal instincts. This concept most recently became vogue at Woodstock, where unruly spoiled brats invaded the farm country at all hours with their revelry, disturbing people in the community.

When I was in elementary school years ago, when the Bible was read in the classroom, at recess we had “out of bounds”. This was an area marked off where we were not allowed to go. We weren’t just afraid that a safety or even our peers would catch us. It was just somewhere we did not dare go. Like the ladies room in the Star Trek Enterprise, a place where no man has gone before, it’s a place kids were reluctant to enter.

Birdman is oblivious to the concept of out of bounds.

There’s another nut – I use the term just to identify bizarre behavior – who goes to the community meals who also selfishly thinks she is a special privileged character who, not content with what the hosts graciously prepared for everyone else, demands a custom meal. I call her “Queen Nora.” At one meal the Queen asked “Do you have anything with beef?”

Both Birdman and Queen Nora think that anyone with a car is obligated to be their chauffeur, simply because they have a car and they do not.

While I’m on a roll, he’s another anecdote about another nut who has gone to the community meals. I don’t have a name for her yet. This one doesn’t like anyone to touch her or even walk behind her, especially when she sits at the table. On one occasion, as we were finishing a meal, another busload of guests came. The hosts were rolling a desert tray down the aisle.  Wanting to leave before the other people entered, she chirped “I’m finished my dinner; just give me my cupcake and I’ll go.” Nobody complied. “Does anyone speak English?”, she stammered. She held up her hand and repeatedly demanded “give me my cupcake!”

Even the few examples, whom some people on casual observation may conclude are people with mental problems, are not representative of homeless people.

The homeless are just a microcosm of society. And they are not all alike.

Today, society has become Godless. The Bible was taken out of the public schools. Pink Floyd got it right when they sang:

“We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.”

Indeed, in our society you are just another brick in the wall. This is the case with the mental health industry in Bucks County. It’s representatives canvas the homeless community like Jehovah’s Witnesses and shanghai the homeless. Their bate is housing. One representative told me that he doesn’t believe in “housing first” because the homeless have to get straightened out first. This presupposes that they all have such big drug, alcohol or mental problems that they need “professional” help before getting housing. Wrong!

The Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) also treats the homeless as if they are just another brick in the wall. Unlike others who hold the homeless accountable for their behavior, they’ve been known to give unruly homeless people a free pass, evidently reasoning that it is the way homeless people are supposed to act. This mentality fosters negative stereotypes about the homeless and contributes to hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless, which, incidentally, is not tax deductible.

Hummmmmm…

But not with God. He made us in his image and has taught us right from wrong. There are absolutes!

“Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have taken my instruction to heart: Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults.” – Isaiah 51:7

500 Miles from Home

“If you miss the train I’m on, you will know that I am gone
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles,
A hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles,
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.
Lord I’m one, Lord I’m two, Lord I’m three, Lord I’m four,
Lord I’m 500 miles from my home.
500 miles, 500 miles, 500 miles, 500 miles
Lord I’m five hundred miles from my home.”

-Lyrics from 500 Miles, sung by Peter, Paul & Mary

Every time I see the car ad where a couple drives alongside a freight train and the woman daydreams about hopping the train and going wherever the tracks take them, I shake my head. She pictures herself in a boxcar. Her dog approaches and she pats the dog and soon her husband approaches. The vision jumps to the three of them sitting by the boxcar door.

What a romantic view of the world! As a recovering Romantic, I see this fantasy as silly, asinine!

During the Great Depression, people didn’t ride trains without a destination in mind because of a romantic notion. Like today’s homeless in places such as Bucks County, PA, who scout out a place to sleep, people hopped trains out of necessity.

Dreaming about hopping trains or even just, as I did as a teenager, hopping a train for a short distance, is a far cry from the reality of what the hobos went through during the depression. Just past a nursery that abutted my backyard where I grew up were train tracks. Two were for electric freight trains, and ran fast, and one was an old diesel Reading freight line, that ran slowly. On one occasion when I hopped the Reading, it suddenly started speeding up. I thought it might slow down but it kept picking up speed. I jumped, and I partly braced myself with a hand that landed on a sharp rock. I still have a trace of the scar it left.

I got off a lot easier than some of the hobos who hopped trains during the depression. Sometimes they missed and lost legs and sometimes even died! The railroads, much of which were paid for by taxpayers, hired bulls to go after the hobos, who would arrest them and beat them. This is a little like the way today’s homeless are treated when they camp out on public or private land because they have nowhere to go. During the depression, sometimes the bulls killed hobos.

Hobos would hop trains in search of work wherever they could find it, often hundreds of miles away.

Along the way, benevolent farmers who were still in business fed the hungry hobos.

http://livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/water_07.html

Many of the hobos were farmers whose farms folded, in large part due to President FDR’s New Raw Deal, which as I illustrated in earlier blogs, favored the fat cats and hurt the average Joe. Likewise, today’s progressives, such as President BO and Shrillery-Killery and Slick Willy Clinton, contribute to homelessness. As I said in a blog awhile back, fight homelessness; don’t vote for progressives.

Today, many people don’t understand the homeless and even view them in a Romantic way. Although they may romanticize about them, they want to keep them at bay.

A term used informally today, hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless, is derived from hobos, the forerunners of today’s homeless.

Just as benevolent farmers shared their food with the hobos during the Great Depression, charitable people today feed, clothe, and minister to the homeless. In Bucks County, well intentioned people who want to provide much needed shelter for the homeless are derailed by hobophobic government bureaucrats.

Not all the homeless are gypsies, tramps and thieves… Many are there because of circumstances similar to that of the Great Depression.  http://www.metrolyrics.com/gypsies-tramps-thieves-lyrics-cher.html

Where do we go from here? 

The homeless could develop PMS (poor me syndrome). Or they could make the best of their situation and persevere and move forward. Encouragement, which Christians have been giving them, is something the homeless need a lot of.

I just read on pastor and Christian counselor Jay Adam’s website where he discussed the role of sin in one’s mental well being. Dr. Adams explained that not all problems are a direct result of one’s sin, which was the case with Job. However, the way one deals with a bad deck one is handed is what counts. As in the case of Job, bad things happen for a reason. Job came to realize that, obeyed and glorified God and things turned out all right in the end.

You don’t resolve problems by hugging trees or by dancing with the daffodils! You do so by going to God.

“Who provides for the raven its prey,
when its young ones cry to God for help,
and wander about for lack of food?”

-Job 38:41

The Right Stuff

In 1949, after a group of recovering drunks and Alcoholics Anonymous  members founded Hazelden Farm, a Minneapolis refuge and treatment center, 93 percent of alcohol treatment centers used  AA concepts in their treatments. Also, AA got 31 percent of its membership from treatment centers.

What does that tell us?

It tells us that Alcoholics Anonymous has the right stuff. Or at least it is on the right track.

Today in Bucks County, PA, there are reports of pleas to have the government pass bills to fight the drug abuse epidemic. For example, The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015.  As reported in LevittownNow.com, The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 will:

  • Expand prevention and educational efforts — particularly aimed at teenagers, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations — to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery;
  • Expand the availability of Naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives;
  • Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders promptly by collaborating with criminal justice stakeholders and by providing evidence-based treatment;
  • Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of children and adolescents;
  • Launch an evidence-based opioids and heroin treatment and intervention program to assist in treatment and recovery throughout the country;
  • Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.

Although this act has some good ideas, the key is to get at the root of the problem. Back in the early part of the 20th century, our government’s plan to control alcohol abuse was prohibition – to just keep the booze out of people’s hands. But prohibition ended, and there was a new strategy: Instead of taking away alcohol from everyone because 10 percent of the population had a problem with it, work on changing people from the inside, bringing God into the equation.

Enter Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps Program.

Tonight, at a community meal for the homeless and those in need in Bucks County, I had a conversation with a friend who had had a problem with substance abuse and went through a 12 steps program. It worked for him, and he has put his substance abuse problem on the ash heap of history, or at least keeps the problem at bay.

“Addictions” are a matter of selfishness, the friend said. Humility needs to learned in order to work well with others and to overcome substance abuse, he added. Abusing drugs and alcohol is a case where one seeks self gratification.

The first step to getting clean is to admit that we are powerless over the sin of addiction that has taken hold of us and that only through a higher power, God, can we overcome.

No matter what the problem – alcohol, drugs, anxiety, depression, anger… – there is a root cause common to all.

Drug Overdose Deaths In PA Increase 14-Fold In Last 35 Years, reads the headlines in an article dated March 16, 2016 in LevittownNow.com.   All the Kings Horses and All the Kings Men Still hasn’t put Susie and Johnny Druggie back together again. All the workshops, all the educational drug turn in programs, all the law enforcement…

The inordinate number of recovery houses in lower bucks County is not resolving the drug problem, Instead, it’s creating problems. More crime in the community, overcrowding at the shelter and, as the druggies leave or are thrown out of the houses, they join the ranks of the homeless, in many cases causing more public disdain for other homeless people who became homeless for a different reason.

By 1949, we made great progress on alcohol abuse and had put the evils the progressivism of President Herbert Hoover (and the congress) and President FDR’s New Raw Deal behind us and moved on to a less dysfunctional, more better (to use a Cajun phrase) society. People changed from the inside by attending Bible believing churches, reading the Bible for themselves as well as Christian authors such as C.S. Lewis and taking responsibility for their actions.

By 1969, we regressed, becoming once again a dysfunctional society, where people wallowed in narcissism, selfishness and exhibited other negative character traits. Author Tom Wolfe coined the phrase “Me Decade” to describe the 70’s.

We lost our moral compass at Woodstock, where rich spoiled brats became Noble Savages. The dysfunctionality soon became mainstream. We recently had a reenactment of this at Rio De Janeiro, where members of the swim team vandalized a gas station and lied about being robbed at gunpoint.

But we can get our moral compass back. Today’s drug epidemic is not the cause of our problems but just a symptom.

I’ve noticed churches in Bucks County stepping up to the plate and holding substance abuse programs. And Bible believing churches are spreading the Word. Christian posts and links and commentary are inundating Facebook.

To quote Eric Burdon and the Animals, “We’ve got to get out of this place. If it’s the last thing we ever do. We’ve got to get out of this place” to build a better life for me and you.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  -2nd Chronicles 7:14

Just Say No

One size does not fit all. Two people in a similar situation will not always act the same way. Take the homeless.

Although contributions to homeless stereotypes are not tax deductible, some homeless people, for example, in Bucks County, PA, are great contributors to the stereotype that the homeless are lazy, are nut cases, have no goals, are drunks and druggies, have no borders and just want handouts.

Just yesterday, at the community meal, a guy known as “Birdman” grabbed for all the gusto he could. He went to a beverage container, which was for all the guests, and filled a large container he had, without asking. He asked one of the hosts if there was any more of the beverage as he approached the large container again. The host said “no”, but Birdman checked anyway.

At this meal I didn’t notice him doing his usual rounds to each table to grab bread and other items that were on each table, which for designated for the guests at that table, maybe because other guests had confronted him about this rude behavior.

Birdman is not officially homeless, but in the category of the needy.

After the meal, Birdman and a homeless woman, known as The Queen of England, purposely missed the homeless bus, and counted on bumming rides from people who have cars. They tried to get rides from several people, who turned them down, knowing that they are users. As I walked briskly to my car to try to avoid the two, Birdman suddenly drew close to me and asked for a ride, which I declined.

“Why not?”, he demanded.

“Because I said no,” I answered, and got into my car and drove off.

These two  (sh**)birds of a feather are an excellent example of the entitlement mentality in our country today. I’ve divined that they believe that because they don’t have a car,  those who do are obligated to chauffeur them anywhere they want to go – that their wish is other’s command.

Other homeless people, by contrast, don’t impose on others but apply themselves in order to get out of this place, if it’s the last thing they ever do. One formerly homeless friend told me that he doesn’t want to become too comfortable in his homeless situation so that he has incentive to move forward. He applied himself and got on call work. He had saved some money and bought a truck, but could not afford to keep it running. So he got a bike, and sometimes rode an hour to work!

On a few occasions when I saw him at a community meal when he had no transportation, I learned he had a very long walk to the job, so I gave him a ride.

My former homeless friend had substance abuse problems, and through a twelve step program and by going to God, he put the problem at bay. Unlike the sh**birds, he never demanded a ride, especially when there were other options available and not just for recreation.

This guy, like others I’ve noticed in the homeless community, have moved forward. Instead of developing PMS (poor me syndrome) or an entitlement mentality and giving up, he worked his way out of his situation and is becoming a productive member of society.

By giving into the users, you are not helping them or society. As former first Lady Nancy Reagan said about drugs, “just say no.”

One of the first homeless people I met when I started hanging out with the homeless almost 2 ½ years ago is a professional homeless person, although, I believe through county housing assistance, is staying in government assisted housing. He quit two jobs someone had gotten for him; he just wanted handouts and to stay in the Land of The Lotus Eaters. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus-eaters

I believe he, like his girlfriend, is getting disability. Not the official reason, but the government is taking care of them because they are lazy and not responsible for their actions. Awhile back, the guard at the Levittown library caught them having sex at the homeless bus stop. One member of the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) lobbied for them and got them off the hook, although the county punished the rest of the homeless community by removing the bus shelter. Other homeless people were singled out and individually punished for fighting at the bus stop.

There is hope for the homeless. Given the opportunity, a hand up, some members of this community can move forward and not contribute to homeless stereotypes and flee from the Land of The Lotus Eaters.

“Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.” -Psalm 82:4

 

From Lemons Make Lemonade

Today in Bucks County, PA, the homeless have been suffering the slings and arrows from intolerant, judgmental people. Because there are some individuals in the homeless community who cause problems, the homeless have been stereotyped.

As a result of hobophobia, shelter for the homeless is scarce, despite there being more vacant property than homeless people in Bucks County. Recently, a former homeless guy told me that a businessman tried to acquire property for the homeless, but as soon as the establishment learned it was for the homeless, they stonewalled the project.

What are we to do?

Under these circumstances, one could develop PMS (poor me syndrome). Or we could refuse to be, in the words of Curly of The Three Stooges, a “victim of soy cum stances.”

In the 19th century, Biddy Mason, who was born a slave, rose up and became and nurse and a successful business woman, earning a small fortune. She used her fame and fortune to help the needy. 16 years after having been freed from slavery, Ms. Mason financed the first African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) in Los Angeles. We could all learn a lesson from Biddy Mason.

The AME church is one of the places where the homeless in Bucks County  are graciously fed. When I first went to a meal at an AME church, I thought it may be afro-centric. But then I learned why the AME was formed. Back then, blacks were rarely allowed to preach, worshippers were segregated by race, and blacks were marginalized. So they started their own church.  http://www.stmarkamezionchurch.com/origin/

Recently, a guest preacher remarked in his sermon, tongue in cheek, that he was mistaken in thinking that AME meant “African Methodist Episcopal”. He said it really means “All May Enter”.  And they do.

This is the attitude we need to take. We are all creatures made in the image of God, including the homeless. “All may enter” public places such as the Levittown library should be our motto.

God put Christians on earth to do Christ’s work, sacrificing our own selfish desires and serving others, as Jesus did.

At a recent community meal at the St Mark AME Zion Church in Newtown, people at my table remarked how they appreciate the trouble the church goes to give them a good meal and the hospitality, as the hosts intermingle with their guests and show genuine Christian concern. Unlike the Salvation Army, which doesn’t let the homeless into the meals until the dot of 6 p.m., when the meals start, and can’t wait to get rid of them after doing their duty, guests of St Mark drift in an hour before the meal starts, and chat with the hosts as they are setting up.

We all have trials and tribulations in life. They happen for a reason. Instead of being bitter, we should learn from the experience and be gracious to others. In their circumstances, the homeless should not be bitter and be at enmity towards one another but should encourage and edify one another.

I recently had a trial. A friend with lung cancer and I got booted from two motels in two weeks. The Neshaminy Sin, aka the Neshaminy Inn and The Red Roof Inn reflected not only the judgmentalism and intolerance prevalent in Bucks County, but disingenuousness.

The general manager of the Red Roof Inn told me that when I was out, my friend was wandering around, disoriented and unable to find the room. He said he helped her find her way back, and emphasized that he didn’t mind doing that. But when it came time to renew the rent, he had left a message that we could no longer stay there.

When I questioned the manager, he said that my friend belongs in a nursing home, just as I was told at the Neshaminy Sin. After we left, he emailed me and said that he had told me during our conversation that if my friend wanders alone again we can’t stay there. He never said that!

After I experienced the turmoil of moving in the high heat and humidity, we found a much better place, which costs less than the Neshaminy Sin, without the drama of drunks, druggies, prostitutes and other miscreants.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” -2nd Corinthians 4:8-12

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”  -Jeremiah 29:11

You Reap What You Sow

Years ago I saw a brochure “Invite Birds to Your Home.” It gave tips on what flowers to plant to attract the kinds of birds you want in your yard. In essence, if you build it, they will come.

We create situations in life by the way we think and  by what we do. We reap what we sow. Take the Neshaminy Sin, aka the Neshaminy Inn in Trevose, PA, where over time nomadic homeless people have spent a night or more. Needing a place to stay, I went there. At the office, the Inn conspicuously touts that they offer free Hustler, a no holds barred porn channel in all rooms.

The kind of birds the Neshaminy Inn attracts are sh**birds, to use Navy terminology.

Inconsiderate people who are loud all hours of the night, sometimes quarreling, playing loud jungle music, whistling and shouting back and forth from the far reaches of the hall to a distant room after midnight, flotsam and jetsam roaming the halls and talking loud all hours of the night, young children, unsupervised, running the halls late at night, flock to the Neshaminy Sin. On one occasion, a woman jumped out of a car when the maintenance guy approached and ran off, with more than a half moon showing. On another occasion, a woman ran down the hallway and out of the building, naked, frantically flailing her arms and crying out in panic.

If you don’t believe me, here’s a newspaper account. In the article, the Sinn’s, I mean Inn’s owner says that only two percent of the people who go to the Inn are bad. If you believe that, you must also believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and The Easter Bunny. What’s officially reported is just the tip of the iceberg.

http://articles.philly.com/2014-04-17/news/49188425_1_lincoln-motel-knights-inn-good-people

Today in America, we are reaping what we have sown. As a nation, we have turned away from God and have become an Obama Nation.

What’s the root of the problem?

People have stopped going to church, and some who do go to churches that don’t teach the true word of God. On their own, some churches have done ungodly things as egregious as same sex marriages.

Instead of the true church influencing society, being a light to the world, the world has influenced the church. Individuals, especially those in high places, have failed to bring about good.  People, including churches, have relegated their responsibility to the government, where progressivism has produced nothing but woe where ever it gets the upper hand.

One example of this is President LBJ’s alleged Great Society/War on Poverty. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1483206/posts

Rod Serling showed what happens when you relinquish your life to beings who present themselves as a benevolent dictator in To Serve Man. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Serve_Man_%28The_Twilight_Zone%29

As you see in the Twilight Zone episode, the Kanamits do not have our bests interests at heart and use us, just as today’s progressive politicians use us.

Unlike the Kanamits and today’s politicians, God has our best interests at heart. If we follow him, we can restore ourselves and our nation to the way God planned.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

-2nd Corinthians 10:5

 

 

 

 

From Exile to Homecoming

“Evicting encampments without providing adequate alternatives is essentially lazy policymaking: you may feel like you are doing something about the problem, but you are really just wasting taxpayer money, without results to show for it,” said Eric Tars, Senior Attorney with the Law Center. “Elected officials should follow Indianapolis’ example and take positive steps to end homelessness, rather than using precious community resources on sweeps of encampments that only make things worse.”

The attorney from the law center that advocates for the homeless is talking about a new law in Indiana that requires the homeless be provided housing before they are evicted.

https://www.nlchp.org/press_releases/3.2.2016_Indianapolis

If Indiana, where Mike Pence is governor, can do it, we can in Bucks County, PA. It’s hard, however, to get a good idea, that helps all concerned, past the thick ideological skulls of progressives, who care more about image, rules and regulations and their own self interests than about people, especially the poor and downtrodden. We need to convince the powers that be the way the film, Under The Bridge: The Criminalization of Homelessness did to help create the new Illinois law.

Convincing people to help the homeless with shelter, the biggest need for the homeless in Bucks County, is my mission.

The biggest problem with getting the law on the side of the homeless is to reach the minds and hearts of people by letting them know who the homeless really are and offering viable solutions. Once minds are changed, favorable rules and pro homeless policy will follow.

“Don’t talk about us; talk with us.” –slogan coined by a group of homeless people. In Levittown, PA, people from the municipal building don’t want to go to the nearby Vietnam Veterans Memorial when they believe homeless people are there. They told the municipal building guard that, and he tried to shew the homeless away from the memorial, but they stood their ground. At the time, nobody was causing any problems. Maybe if they’d venture out and get to know the homeless, they’d have a different opinion.

In Portland, Oregon, after having standoffs with police and being forced to move from homeless camps, a group of homeless people were able to create Dignity Village, a self-governed community of tiny houses, with amenities such as water for bathing and cooking, just like other communities, run by the homeless themselves. Other localities are modeling homeless communities after Dignity Village.

As is the case in Bucks County, the bureaucracy was unable to resolve its homeless problem. It was the initiative of homeless people and volunteers who helped make a dent in the homeless problem in Portland.

Rather than just running people off of homeless encampments, Portland has been working with Dignity Village.

Dignity Village, now transitional housing, has plans to create a permanent community.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/-in-a-tiny-house-village-portlands-homeless-find-dignity-20160128

This is how they did it.

The group of homeless people, calling themselves Camp Dignity, through an advocate, challenged the municipality on constitutional grounds over being chased out of public land, as they were considered illegal squatters.

But it was civil disobedience and favorable press for their case that paved the way for the homeless to create and maintain a decent community.   One way of winning in the court of public opinion was the shopping cart parades, which homeless advocate Jack Tafari publicized and got the media to cover. One such parade was held on Martin Luther King Day, 2001. Handicapped people in wheelchairs, a grand marshal and two others led a march of 35 shopping carts along the road as they were herded out from homeless camps by armed policemen. This got a lot of press.

To sway the court of public opinion, the homeless themselves have to maintain their dignity and show exemplary behavior. This is what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr encouraged in his mission for equal rights. This is how you earn R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

“You will earn the trust and respect of others if you work for good; if you work for evil, you are making a mistake.” -Proverbs 14:22