In both Bucks County, PA and Burlington Township New Jersey, the homeless are collectively a persona non grata. The difference is that the non-profits in Bucks County kowtow to the hatred of the homeless and don’t want to fight for housing for the homeless but a New Jersey non-profit is taking a stance against those who want to keep the homeless from getting shelter like everyone else in their community.
Citizens Serving The Homeless, the New Jersey non-profit is facing members of the community who came out en masse to a meeting to talk candidly about their plans and allay the community’s fears. Instead, people came, figuratively, with torches and pitch forks. Unlike the non-profits in Bucks County, CSH not caving in to these hobophobic ignoramuses. Their stance echoes the refrain in a Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers song: “AND I WON’T BACK DOWN.”
In Bucks County, The Advocates for The Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) doesn’t lift a finger to find long term shelter for the homeless. In fact, when I emailed the AHTN president to ask if AHTN would help the nascent non-profit a friend and I created to provide more shelter for the homeless, she responded that the project was impossible – that, for one thing, they’d have to provide security 24/7.
AHTN is not a true friend of the homeless. Just as liberals use blacks, “the children”, women, the poor, etc., the non-profit uses the homeless. At the video shoot for the so-called public service announcement for the homeless, actors were used. There was an attempt to keep the homeless away from where the video was shot that day. The pizza was purposely kept at another location for the crew, where the homeless could not have any, on a day there was no community meal.
CSH, by contrast, interviewed real homeless people in their community, interviewing all the homeless people they could for their video.
Unlike AHTN, CSH looks at the homeless as individuals and screens the homeless candidates for the homeless community it is building. For them, one size doesn’t fit all! AHTN views the homeless as all being morally bankrupt. They gave a pass to a homeless person who regularly came to a community meal drunk and disorderly, usually just slapping him on the wrist and on one occasion let him completely off the hook. He’s now in the Bucks County jail after knocking down another guest at a community meal, cutting the back of his head. Another guest called the police, but the culprit ran off, and was on the lamb for weeks until someone else called the police when he spotted him at the free laundry day, and the cops picked him up.
AHTN just pretended to help the homeless on one occasion when the head Levittown librarian ordered the security guy to cut the locks of bicycles parked in the bicycle rack because the librarian alleged that bikes were abandoned there. So even people who legally parked their bikes during library hours had their locks cut. The homeless complained to AHTN, who sent Christine to talk to the librarian about it. Christine reported back to the homeless and told them that the librarian said she made an announcement to have those who had their bikes parked legally to come out so their locks would not be cut. A reliable source told me that the librarian never made such an announcement, and he was there the whole time!
But when Christine’s pet and his girlfriend got caught having sex in the homeless bus stop one morning, she got them off the hook, but the rest of the group were punished by having the bus shelter removed and the stop moved to an unsheltered location in the middle of the parking lot.
Christine was the AHTN member I believe was instrumental in getting the homeless drunk off the hook when he loudly cursed out another guest and physically threatened him, where it took three men to pull him away. Christine and Dave (AHTN) went out of hearing range to the other corner of the room at the Redeemer Lutheran Church, Penndel, PA. The victim and I believe she lied about the victim, demonizing him with her false witness. The police came and told the victim the host said he had to leave. AHTN banned the victim, who was not homeless but needy, from the bus but not the homeless aggressor. The victim was banned from the meals but not the homeless perpetrator. The victim filed a law suit against AHTN and Redeemer Lutheran Church, which is going through the system.
The conventional wisdom of about the homeless is a caste system, where the homeless are trapped in their situation. For those of you in Doylestown, “A caste system is a class structure that is determined by birth. Loosely, it means that in some societies, if your parents are poor, you’re going to be poor, too.” -Vocabulary.com
Like the rabid community members who attended the meeting with the Citizens Serving the Homeless in Burlington Township, Bucks County see the homeless as monsters. They expressed their distaste for the homeless moving into their neighborhood. Well, after witnessing their behavior, I would not say to them, in the words of Mr. Rogers, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
The Salvation Army Levittown Community Center also sees the homeless as monsters. On one occasion, when I volunteered there in the food pantry, I guy who had been wandering a day or two on a hot day came into the pantry. We got him some food and drink. I told him I would take him to the library, where he can get the bus to the homeless meal and also have a more dedicated AHTN volunteer help him out when I finished for the day. As he was waiting, tired, frightened and flushed in the lobby, a Salvation Army staffer frantically confronted me and stammered “he can’t stay here!” I explained the situation and I took the homeless guy to the library.
At the Salvation Army Community meals, the hostess, Queen Latifah, treats the homeless like children and criminals.
The Citizens Serving the Homeless don’t see the homeless as being in a caste system, that they are always going to be homeless. They don’t subscribe to the mid Victorian attitude that as wealth grows so does good character, and that people with little money are immoral. They see homelessness as a season, and believe if given the chance, a homeless person will move forward. The goal of CSH is to give the homeless an opportunity by giving them a hand up and they may eventually move into traditional rental housing, like everybody else. The only difference with the homeless with the rest of society is they don’t have a dwelling.
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable. Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself. ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a day and give a tenth of all I get.’
But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said ‘God have mercy on me, a sinner’.
I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
-Luke 18: 9-14
Here are the stories the Citizens Serving the Homeless videotaped: