A Change is Gonna Come

Although a private charity organized and got funds for the project, most of the funds to convert the Santa Rosa Motel to homeless housing came from federal and state housing money and from the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is a noble project, but taxpayer funds eventually run dry.

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/5221888-181/first-tenants-of-santa-rosa

In my research about the causes of homelessness, I found that some sources say it is the lack of public funding. This is not the root of the problem.

People are homeless for various reasons, such as substance abuse and other issues that take them out of the job market. Another problem is the economy.

The economy seemed to be the biggest contributor to homelessness when it became rampant in the late 20’s, when Herbert Hoover was president, and during President FDR’s New Raw Deal. Because of progressive policies, where we were about as close to socialism (which we were progressing to) as our country ever was, a lot of people were out of work. Those who did work, had trouble making ends meet with the government confiscating much of their paychecks and because the government interfered with the marketplace, making things more expensive.

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/how-fdrs-new-deal-harmed-millions-poor-people

A free market solution to energy is the sine qua non to a robust economy. Plentiful, low cost energy reduces energy costs and takes less money out of people’s pockets. The Marcellus gas pipeline, for example, will accomplish this.  http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/proposed-marcellus-gas-pipeline-would-run-through-lancaster/article_5ea6ca90-9b47-11e3-b0b1-0017a43b2370.html

There are a lot of homeless in Bucks County, PA.  Although the Bimbo of Bucks County, aka PA State Representative Tina Davis touted how much she has helped the homeless, and said she’ll continue to do so, she praised PA Governor Big Bad Wolf for signing an executive order to ban drilling on state lands. The bimbo admitted that, as former governor Tom Corbett argued, this drilling would help the economy and would raise $75 million to balance the budget. Yet, she cavalierly said that “protecting the environment” trumps this. http://www.wgal.com/article/gov-wolf-signs-executive-order-to-stop-drilling-under-state-lands-1/6235430

This kind of wonton behavior by out of touch elites fosters homelessness. By kowtowing to the pseudo environmentalist special interests, these progressives show callous disregard for the citizenry. When they campaign, Wolf and Davis may as well go door to door and hand out pink slips and eviction notices, as the Big Bad Wolf is in the business of blowing houses down.

As Ray Charles sang, “a change is gonna come.” Changes to this country are in the works. The former Witch of the West Wing won’t continue her war on coal and other viable energy sources in favor of the so-called alternate, unworkable energy initiatives. The Witch, the Bimbo and the Wolf are all sh**birds of a feather. Like FDR’s New Raw Deal, they harm the average person.

Substance abuse and other personal problems also contribute to the homeless problem. For these problems there is also a free market solution.

Between 1920 and 1933, the government established prohibition, banning booze for everyone. Then, instead of forcing abstinence on everyone because ten percent of the population had a drinking problem, a voluntary, free market, Christian solution to help drunks overcome their problem was used. The Oxford Group, modeled after 1st century Christianity, was established in 1921. Later, Alcoholics Anonymous.

Today there are programs on the market to help people overcome substance abuse and other human failings, such as Celebrate Recovery, which applies Biblical principles to the 12 Steps Program.

The economy, the environment, and our morals all work together. A healthy economy, driven by good stewardship of the environment, and a country’s good morals work together for good. Dysfunctional people, such as substance abusers, can’t be responsible on a job or run a business responsibly.  AA co-founder Bill Wilson ruined a promising career on Wall Street because of his chronic drunkenness. In the 50’s, when my grand uncle ran a wholesale toy company, there were ethics, honor. When you made a business deal, a man’s handshake was his bond. No need for lawyers and long, expensive litigation or even negotiations.

Finding shelter for Bucks County’s homeless is stifled by hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless. Because of some problem people, which you’ll find today in any population, even private efforts to create shelter for the homeless is stonewalled by the judgmental establishment. Like the progressives in the early part of the 20th century, Bucks County won’t facilitate shelter for the homeless. Even the so-called emergency shelter in Levittown has a waiting list, thanks to the revolving door of druggies from nearby recovery houses and drunks and druggies who are return customers to the flop house.

Now that we’re throwing the bums out of public office, which is a positive reflection of our culture, we can start winning the war on poverty, substance abuse and other dysfunctions, and find a solution for homelessness.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

-2nd Chronicles 7:14

Where Do We Go From Here?

With all the homeless in lower Bucks County scrambling for a place to stay, it’s pathetic that the Sunbury Farms property, which lay vacant for many years, couldn’t be turned into a shelter for the homeless. What’s more pathetic is that the property was sold for $140, 000 less than the appraised value.

To quote Shakespeare, “something is rotten in Denmark.”

Except for a few broken windows, the Georgian-style building is in good shape. Buildings were well built in the early 1700s, when it’s believed the recently sold building was created.

Rather than skelter for shelter, the homeless could do something constructive and touch up and maintain the building. The property, by the way, is on land zoned for residential use. The builder has no plans for the property.

Why not use this 18th century work of art to house the homeless? Hummmmm…?

Why not? A good part of the problem is hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless. The most recent episode of the homeless being run out of town by the man happened at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the complex that includes the Levittown public library, the municipal and the district court of Judge Bob Wagner. These people, whom the Delaware Valley Vietnam Veterans now realize, stayed there because they have nowhere else to go, have been victims of a search and destroy mission as though they were the enemy.

Places for the homeless to rest their heads has been continually shrinking in lower Bucks County, PA.

What is the matter with a country that can not only overlook illegals immigrants breaking into our country but aid and abet them and allow refugees to wantonly (but legally) trespass on our land? The danger to our citizens in these instances is real, while the threat to public safety from the average homeless person is imaginary.

A problem is that the dope addicts from the recovery houses in the area – somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 just in Levittown, PA – mix in with the homeless. Some create havoc during the day and some at night, in the community, such as the Levittown public library and at the Veterans Memorial and vicinity. Innocent people who just need a place to lay their heads are considered criminals. A lion or bear that escapes from the zoo is treated with more kindness and consideration than the homeless, many of whose only crime is camping out on public land.

One size does not fit all. The pow-wow at the Veterans Memorial between the Delaware Valley Vietnam Veterans, the homeless, and Morris, et al, from No More Pain Inc., where the vets, who had a jaundiced view of the homeless started understanding the plight of the homeless after talking with them was a step in the right direction. They felt empathy for the homeless and expressed an interest in helping them find places to stay. A vet mentioned using abandoned property for this purpose. The formerly abandoned Sunbury Farms property is an example of what could be done, if people in Bucks County had the heart and willingness to accomplish this noble goal.

There’s a great slogan that sums up what the public needs to do in order to understand the homeless, and with understanding, actually help the homeless: “Don’t talk about us; talk with us.”

Industry Not Pest Control

Instead of writing the homeless off as useless bums, encourage them and help them to better themselves.

Unfortunately, some members of the homeless community make a bad name for the homeless, and the public puts a one size fits all label on them.

For sure, there are problem people among the homeless – the druggies, the drunks, people with mental problems.  Recently, I experienced an example of people who have the gimmees. This reflects an attitude in this country, as particularly exemplified in Bernie Sanders, et al, that people are entitled to what others have.

I picked up a formerly homeless friend at a bus stop and a woman who had just become homeless who was talking to him, waiting for the bus. I dropped the man off at Walmart and took her to the Oxford Valley Mall. She wanted to stop at the nearby Salvation Clothing Store, so I waited for her at the mall while I ate lunch. She also wanted to stop at a church and gave me the impression she was going there for help with her homeless problem. Instead, it was a quixotic quest. At one point, she got on the phone and told a friend that I would drive her to his place, which was on the other side of town.

I refused (she hadn’t even asked me).

I told the woman that she could get clothes free at some of the community dinners. “I don’t like what they have,” she quipped. When she got her change when she checked out at the Salvation Army, she asked the clerk what date was on a penny. I preempted the woman as the clerk went for her reading glasses, telling her we have to get going in order to take her to the bus that will take her to a free meal.

She begged me to drive her to the meal because “I want to be there when the doors open.” I firmly told her that I would take her to the free bus. I did. When we got there I pointed out where people pick up the bus, as we drove by waiting people. She said she wanted to go into the nearby library.

I reminded her about the bus stop.

I met the guy I dropped off at Walmart at the library and took him to the meal. I left the woman on the ash heap of history.

Other homeless people, however, don’t think they are entitled to the services of others, including the guy I dropped off at Walmart. When it snowed this winter, some homeless people found work shoveling snow.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, a city worker has been offering homeless people work cleaning up the city and offered food, shelter, and other services for their efforts.

This is the kind of thing we need in Bucks County, PA.

Given the opportunity, homeless people will work. I overheard a conversation at a community meal between two homeless people about working. They both were working sporadically. One of them said he wants to get into a routine.

Some homeless people have done volunteer work and go to the library to further their education. I’ve seen homeless people reading books outside of the library. On a few occasions, they were discussing Shakespeare.

Since I started hanging around the homeless two years ago, some of them have found work and have moved on. Recently, a homeless friend got a job in another state.

There are other ways the homeless can help themselves. The public library in Levittown, PA offers a chair yoga class. After having lived in my car a few months, I started stiffening up. My feet swelled. The yoga class helped me get the knots out, helped me relax, and even helped keep internal organs healthy. Kava tea also helped relax my muscles.

In Bucks County, finding shelter is the biggest problem. The “emergency” shelter has a months long waiting list, and it takes a year or two to get county assisted housing.

By offering homeless people work, they can save up for housing. Still, some people have a hard time getting the money for housing and they could use some help.

Housing first is a good idea. Yesterday I read a piece on Facebook where an advocate championed housing first. The only part of the advocate’s plan I question is the idea of putting people with addictions and other mental health problems in housing first. The advocate’s plan is to provide housing for all homeless people and link them with the services they require.

Some problems don’t require institutionalization. It’s a matter of degree. The druggies from the recovery houses in Levittown, however,  should be sequestered in a place as is the case of insane asylums. The 12 Steps program talks about addictions as “insanity.” The druggies are unleashed on the community during the day where they create problems. A security guard was added to the library as a result.

Refugees from the recovery houses join the ranks of the homeless in lower Bucks County and end up in the woods and the emergency shelter. Between them and the drunks who go through the revolving door at the shelter, there is overcrowding.

Some homeless, even those who need extra help should get into housing first and get the services they need. Besides getting regular work, they can get into programs to help them. As the guy I picked up at the bus stop says “we all have baggage.”

Churches and church related have stepped up to the plate. The hosts at the community meals have been developing relationship with their guest and mentor them. The 12 Steps Journey program is offered at two different churches in Bucks County, one on Tuesday nights and one on Thursday nights.

http://www.12stepjourney.com/ 

In many areas, such as Bucks County, the homeless are unwanted and are harassed. They are humans made in the image of God, yet people treat them like pestilence. As I illustrated in previous blogs, they are discriminated against in places such as the public library in Levittown. One several occasions, the Bucks County guard from the municipal building has tried to shoo homeless people from the Veteran’s Memorial, although they were following the rules.

On one occasion, the guard said that some people who wanted to visit the memorial “feel uncomfortable” going to the memorial with the homeless people there. A standard ploy he has used is that the county commissioners are coming and they need to skedaddle. Really?

Another guy and I came up with the idea of having the homeless fix up and manage vacant property in Bucks County, in the spirit of the Homestead Act of 1862.  http://www.timespub.com/2015/04/30/working-for-a-place-to-stay/ 

A homeless friend who expressed interest in this project suggested that we filter people who need shelter. We would direct people with addictions and other major problems to the proper place, and direct other people to a place that simply provides shelter. I like the idea.

This is a compromise between the view of the advocate who doesn’t want any filtering for housing and the view of an official who is with the Bucks County Health Department. This official flatly said that housing first is a bad idea. He thinks that every homeless person should go to a place to get straight before getting housing. This presupposes that all homeless people have such serious issues that they are not fit for a residence.

The official offered me housing in exchange for me allowing myself to be labeled incurable, that I was so messed up mentally, disabled, that I was unable to work the rest of my life. I turned him down and told him that this would be fraud.

The advocate ignores the fact that there are some homeless people who need to be institutionalized before getting housing. No housing first for them.

One size doesn’t fit all. We need to give the homeless an opportunity to help themselves.

 

 

 

Doggone!

“The advantages of whiskey over dogs are legion. Whiskey does not need to be periodically wormed, it does not need to be fed, it never requires a special kennel, it has no toenails to be clipped or coat to be stripped. Whiskey sits quietly in its special nook until you want it. True, whiskey has a nasty habit of running out, but then so does a dog.”

–W.C. Fields

Some people just don’t like dogs. I don’t know why. They are great companions who cheer you up when you are down, are a loyal friend, give you motivation to take a walk, rescue people, help handicapped people get around.

Speaking of service dogs, recently, a man entered the public library in Levittown, PA and Pat, the head librarian, told him his dog wasn’t welcomed there. Like the homeless, who also aren’t welcomed in this library, he stood his ground. He whipped out some papers that showed the law, and the librarian backed down. When he offered to do a program with his dog about service dogs, the librarian was just as indifferent to dogs as was W.C. Fields.

The problem wasn’t just the dog; the idea of someone being imperfect and needing a service dog does not match the librarian’s, and the new age, liberal types to which she kowtows utopian world view.

Maybe Pat was afraid the dog would sense what kind of person she is. Many years ago, I went out with a woman who said I passed the first test. Her dog liked me. She, like most dog lovers believed that dogs are a good judge of character.

It doesn’t surprise me that Bucks County, PA favors homeless (feral) cats over dogs and homeless people. The cats were given a gated community in Queen Anne’s Park across from the overflowing human, “emergency” shelter, which has a month’s long wait. The county land there is designated as for passive recreation, which basically means it’s for things such as hiking and birdwatching.

As usual, Bucks County arbitrarily enforces the rules – the same way when certain special privileged characters, such as the so-called adults allow kids they bring into the library to incessantly scream as if they were at a playground or a Chucky Cheese they get a free pass while if a homeless person speaks briefly above a whisper they are Augustly ordered to shut up.

Dogs are part  of the American tradition. They are realistic and down to earth, unlike cats. They can be funny and entertaining but they don’t think, like cats, that they could pick up and pluck and bass fiddle like Tom on the Tom and Jerry cartoon and sing “Is you is, or is you ain’t my baby…”

Dogs are an institution in America. Even Slick Willy Clinton got a dog to fake people out, the same way he carried a Bible before, but not after elections. Slick Willy doesn’t fool me. Nor does Donald Trump or Slick Willy’s worse half (actually two sides of a bad penny).

Speaking of Shrillery, aka Killery Clinton, the Levittown librarian conspicuously displays her book on the shelf at the library, glaring out at people when they approach the shelf it’s on. The psycho’s face is enough to scare people away from the library. What would be more appropriate is to have the book displayed at the entrance where the library shows movies. They could place a sign “movie at 1 p.m. — Psycho B-itch, starring Hillary Clinton.”

Not being one for cliches, I won’t say that Bucks County has gone to the dogs. Just the opposite. Dogs are good; don’t insult them!

Many places don’t have “no dogs allowed” signs, but they aren’t allowed. As is the case with the homeless, the signs are usually invisible.

The county likes the cats and wants the dogs gone and the homeless gone, long gone.

Not in my book! I wouldn’t be doggone, I want the liberals in this country long gone.

Through the Looking Glass

“If I did drugs, I could find a place. If I was an alcoholic, I could find a place. If you’re just on hard times, there’s nowhere to go.” said a homeless man about to be evicted from an encampment.

http://articles.philly.com/2012-05-02/news/31519830_1_homeless-tent-city-homeless-count-homeless-enclave 

It’s like we’re with Alice in lower Bucks County, PA, going through the looking glass into a bizarre, backwards world, where the Queen makes up rules as she goes along.

Druggies from all over the country have headed to Levittown, PA and vicinity, their mecca, where they find recovery houses, services, and drugs. Except for a rare  few, the druggies are not being cured and are bringing crime to the community, lowering property values, and clogging up housing which could be used for people who didn’t make the decision to engage in this destructive behavior.

Yesterday I got into a conversation with someone who had been in the emergency shelter and struggled to find a place for her and her family. She said that the recovery houses keep the homes in Levittown from being vacant – that they are being used. How about the innocent homeless? People with limited funds who are homeless mainly because they are out of work.

A deal could be worked out with these people, who are like normal residents, where they could use their time to fix up and maintain the houses, in the tradition of the Homestead Act of 1862. Unlike the druggies, the only difference between these homeless and the rest of the community is that they are low on funds and are struggling to find a place to live.

Why is it that the druggies are mollycoddled while the other homeless who didn’t engage in drug or alcohol abuse have to run Helter-Skelter for shelter?  Hummmmm…?

Because of the druggies – and drunks – there is a months long waiting list to even get into the emergency shelter in Levittown. As is often the case with the recovery houses, druggies and drunks have been using the shelter for a flophouse. I just learned that a drunk who was out of the community, living somewhere, is back in the shelter. I think this is at least the second or third time within about two years.

Holy revolving door, Batman!

August, 2014, I emailed Bucks County Commissioner Diane M Ellis-Marseglia and offered some ideas about how to resolve the homeless problem, which has plagued the county  since the late 80s. One idea is to set aside county land that is trucked away and use it for official homeless camping areas, the same way you would open land for tent and cabin camping.

The commissioner’s response: “That will not happen because there is too much liability. I also do not think that is helpful to the homeless. It just creates more space for them to avoid going to Housing Link and getting the referral,. they need, to start getting sober/clean, on medication, in therapy, signed up for assistance or some type of work, and a solid roof over their head…”

So the idea is that the homeless will just wait a year or two, which it takes to get county assisted housing, before getting a place to live. What do the homeless do in the meantime? What they’ve been doing, living in cars, sleeping on the pavement with sleeping bags, in the woods…

In an earlier email, Commissioner Marseglia said that people don’t want their taxes increased to help the homeless, but she pushed the idea of more mental health facilities and added to vote for people who will help the homeless. Just like the Queen in Alice in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll may have been watching Bucks County  today when he wrote the story.

Recently, a homeless woman told me that she is offended at the idea that all homeless people have mental or drug problems. This is why various entities circulate data that fudges the facts in order to achieve a desired conclusion, much like the way the lie about human caused global warming and ozone depletion is made. The only thing this is consistent with is the bizarre, backwards world of Wonderland.

Based on the mental health hustlers aggressive canvassing, there seems to be plenty of room in the Inn at the nuthouses.

There is indeed an epidemic of drug abuse and other problems in our country today. Today’s society is getting curiouser and curiouser, to quote Alice. We didn’t have this social epidemic during the Eisenhower 50’s.

When I was in elementary school the Bible was still being read. We didn’t have school shootings back then. Cause and effect? You read my blogs; you’re smart. You can figure it out.

Here’s a link that addresses the Bible’s influence on society:  http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-influence.html  

The Reason for Living

Despite the slings and arrows from modern day Pharisees, God is in control and he takes care of his people. There is a reason for things that happen. We, as humans, don’t always understand why but for those who trust in God there is hope for the future.

I was reminded of this Saturday at the funeral for a dearly beloved woman who was for a time a member of the homeless community in the area of the public library in Levittown, PA.  Although friends and family were saddened by the woman’s death, people of faith accepted it as part of God’s plan.

At the funeral, the pastor comforted those gathered by reading and applying the 23rd Psalm:

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’ sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.”

The pastor pointed out that the Lord is a God who is there for you when you are into the valleys, when you are not on the mountaintop. He, as he did for the psalmist King David, reaches down and rescues sinners when we are in the pit.

Faith is what protects us from the fear of the unknown.

God uses his children to advance his glorious kingdom, and during the woman’s  bout with cancer, she started getting better despite the doctors thinking that there would be a different outcome. It was a miracle that God used to send a message to others. But later it was the Lord’s time to take her home.

God controls the horizontal; God controls the vertical. His ways aren’t our ways. We must live by faith. God is working in the background and we must just trust in him, as he has our best interests at heart.

At the funeral, I was reminded that we can be redeemed by Jesus and transformed into a new creature, becoming more like Jesus.

Before leaving for the funeral, I got riled up after learning the The Advocates for The Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) welched on their promise to take the homeless to see their friend off, crying that it would be too far for them. Contributions for the friend who was a part of the homeless community are being sent in her name to AHTN.

On top of that, after I went on a brief diatribe at the Levittown Public Library about how politicians tout that they help the homeless but don’t really care, and called out a particular politician, Pat, the head librarian, told me to quiet down, although she’s said nothing to people who talked volumes louder and longer that I did.

I also spoke out against the gross injustice that was done to a homeless woman with COPD who got kicked out of the WIC office in Levittown during business hours where she came to warm up on a cold winter’s day. She was told given a lame excuse.

The problem, evidently, was that Pat did not like what I had to say. The emperor didn’t want to be told he needs a new set of clothes. It was a case of “sit down and shut up.”

The tenor of the funeral quelled my anger, righteous as it may have been, and I got a fresh perspective on life and moved on.

The woman recently laid to rest was a homemaker, a stay at home mom but later in life became homeless.

Staying at home and taking care of children is a noble, selfless thing. I once met a woman who said that when she was single, after she worked her nine-to-five, she was on her own time. If she was tired, she could rest — she was in control of her schedule. But when she got married and had a family, she was on call 24/7. In the evening, after working all day, she would sit down to rest, only to have to get up almost as soon as she sat down. “People always want something”, she said.

As a member of the homeless community in lower Bucks County, PA, the woman continued serving others. She looked out for her fellow homeless, making sure that they had what they need to survive.

The pastor said that we have a reason for being on the earth — to influence others and show them love. We pass on the principles we hold dear to others.

For the Christian, death is not the end. It is a final rest after completing our mission on earth.

Although our dear sister will be sorely missed, we have comfort in that it is God’s will and that the Christian reaction is a witness to the world.

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”

— 1st Thessalonians 4:13-14

A funeral is a time for the living to soul search — to think about who they are and how they act  — what they will be remembered for. I for one, would not, as one druggie in the homeless community bragged, want to be remembered as “the King of the Panhandlers.” Or like another druggie who’s known for ripping off sick old ladies.

It was a sobering gathering. It makes me think of what will be my legacy.

We should not waste our time on earth, but should use it to do good. Shakespeare laid this idea on us in one of his sonnets:

That time of year thou mayst in me behold (Sonnet 73) 

“That time of year thou mayst in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see’st the twilight of such day

As after sunset fadeth in the west;

Which by and by black night doth take away,

Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

As the deathbed whereon it must expire,

Consumed with that which it was nourished by.

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,

To love that well which thou must leave ere long.”

Life is precious, people have value. Despite our sister’s circumstances, she showed love towards others. Others did the same for her and passed in on. On one occasion, when she was saddened and was crying in the library,  a Christian woman went right to her to comfort her and help resolve the problem, which she did.

Loving and helping one another is why we are here. As the 60s popular song goes we need to “try to love one another right now.” We cannot do this on our own, but can do so if we tap into God’s Word. Loving one another particularly applies to the homeless community.

I Don’t Get Mad

“I don’t get mad; I get even” is a phrase an old girlfriend hated, even in jest. For the Christian, when someone wrongs you, retaliation is not an option, nor is resentment — pent up anger. Being human, I find it hard not to act this way when someone wrongs me or my friends.

In Bucks County, PA, as in other areas, there is prejudice against the homeless. One homeless friend said that a place he visited treated him much different after he started taking a bag with him when he entered the place. People there evidently judged him for being homeless.

When someone does wrong, it’s OK, even righteous, to call out the offender, just for what he did. Attack principles, not people.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had to deal with a racist society. Yet, in 1957, he delivered the message of loving your enemies. “Begin with yourself,” he preached. “When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it.”

Black Lives Matter and other vengeful people should learn from MLK’s preaching.

So should I.

The principle of loving your enemies comes from the Biblical message in Second Romans 5:10 “While we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son.”

We were once enemies of God, until we were reconciled with Him. Likewise, we should reconcile our differences with those who wrong us. As it says in Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”

This means that when someone wrongs you, the Christian, being a new creature, imitates Christ and forgives the offender and tries to make peace. We should hold people accountable for their actions, but not condemn them.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”

— 2nd Corinthians 5: 20..

Indeed, I for one need to begin with myself. I’ve approached the line where I speak out against an injustice to where I get mad. This is counterproductive.

It’s easy to write off the homeless and others, some of whom can be problematic — even a royal pain in the ass-setts. As a counselor at a treatment center told visitors, never write off your loved ones with addictions, but set rules and create borders. This is righteous advice!

In order for the homeless in places like lower Bucks County, PA to overcome, they need to begin with themselves, and not succumb to anger or defeatism because of what judgmental people think of them. They need to get their act together. Years ago, a veteran’s counselor, whom I told about an unfair public official who tried to screw me over, told me that I will encounter A-holes, but don’t let them keep me down. Good advice!

Some of the homeless I deal with have the gimmees, begging rides, cigarette money, or other things, have threatened me when I called them out for inappropriate behavior in public, continued destructive behavior that hurts not just themselves but others after others and I have continually ministered to them, and some of them have just harassed me and others for sport.

Unlike Curly of The Three Stooges, who claims to be a victim of circumstances, I need to not let circumstances control my thinking. Instead, I need to continue to minister to the homeless community and not get mad, but put on the armor of God and defeat the enemy, starting with myself.

We Shall Overcome

“Judge a man by the content of his character, not by the color of his skin,” preached Dr. Martin Luther King. In places like Bucks County, PA, judging by the content of one’s character doesn’t apply to the homeless.

Awhile back, I posted about Burger King’s discrimination against a homeless friend in Langhorne and Bristol, PA.  The Langhorne Burger King is near the Oxford Valley Mall and the other is at Bristol Pike and Beaver Dam Road.

At the Langhorne Burger King, I had left my homeless friend, who has cancer and is very thin and looks sickly, there while I took handicapped people to the doctor. My friend bought food, and as she was went to get her free coffee refill, the manager demanded she leave before he called the cops. She called me and I told her to stand her ground. But she was intimidated and went to the nearby Boston Market, where she was allowed to wait for me to pick her up, without having to order anything. It was cold and rainy out, and the creep-manager, a foreigner, didn’t care.

At the Bristol Burger King, I had dropped off my homeless friend, where she ordered a meal.  Again, I had to take someone else somewhere. After I was done, I picked her up. The next time we went to this Burger King together, the shift manager relayed a message from the general manager to tell my friend she wasn’t allowed there. I had to press her for the reason. She said that the general manager, Rene, doesn’t want homeless people there because they panhandle.

My friend never panhandled or caused any problems. The floor manager confessed that she never had a problem with either of us.

I just read a comment on Facebook by  toadies of the manager of the Burger King at Beaver Dam and Bristol Pike in Bristol, PA, where posters offer a lame defense of this callous discrimination:

Desirae Hall I’m quite sure that she is not discriminating against your friend. She is only doing her job. Where else can you go to and sit all day and drink a cup of coffee. At that establishment there is a real problem with the homeless people panhandling as you are dining in. Thank you Renee for respecting the paying customers.

Like · Reply · 1 · December 17, 2015 at 4:54pm

Jakeria Martin She defy ain’t she’s sweet n kind hearted

These hobophobic comments are examples of narrow minded, judgmental people. For you hobophobes, here is a definition:  “(n) a person that is afraid of hobos. (adj.)hobophobic – to be afraid of hobos.

John is a really big hobophobe. Anytime he sees a homeless person walking on the street, he freaks out.”

Both at Denny’s and Wendy’s you can hang out “all day” after ordering food. The manager at Denny’s in Langhorne told us we cannot hang out “all day” just on weekends, when it gets crowded, and was apologetic. Unlike the manager at the Langhorne Burger King, who chased my friend out because her looks may offend the yuppie clientele, the staff at Denny’s ask how my friend is doing, and are concerned about her.

At Wendy’s in Levittown, we became a fixture. One night when we left about an hour before closing time, an employee remarked “are you leaving already?”

One guy, Mike, I believe a manager or the manager at Wendy’s, realized our situation. He said that he doesn’t have a problem with us hanging out at this Wendy’s and told us that we clean up after ourselves, are quiet and don’t bother anybody — that my friend does her puzzle books and I’m on my laptop. He also related a story about a Burger King where he used to work: Someone invited a homeless guy out of the cold and bought him a meal. A customer freaked out and exclaimed that a homeless person was in the restaurant and beseeched them to call the police. To this Mike  said “so?”  We’ve had some friendly conversations with Mike.

Not all homeless people are drunken bums. Some are and have caused problems in the community. Of the alcoholics, some had that problem before they became homeless, others use booze as an escape from their problem after becoming homeless. Druggies often end up homeless after they get kicked out of a recovery house, which is often the case in lower Bucks County, PA.

I think it is legitimate to profile druggies. Homeless people, if they are responsible, which many are, have their food and clothing needs met, thanks to gracious people who help them, and to the taxpayers for food stamps. Druggies steal, panhandle and wheedle money out of people so they can support their expensive addiction.

Unlike the average homeless person, druggies are a risk for problems, and if identified as such should be kept out of places.  What’s interesting about the Bristol Burger King is that, on one occasion it looked like someone was dealing drugs with one of the employees.

Rene and her toady argue the potential of homeless people panhandling and disrupting other customers. There were occasions where people disturbed us and other customers:

  • An “adult” brought in a little boy who bounced a basketball inside. He was so wild that I was afraid the ball might crash into my laptop. Yet nothing was said about that.
  • Some teenagers/young “adults” where paying their “music” , talking loud and blocked people’s way as they were dancing all over the place. They also got a pass.

The question is, how do people in charge of these establishments determine who is homeless and that they are a potential problem?  Hummmmmmm…

The Bristol Burger King has changed since I used to frequent it about a decade ago. Especially on weekends, it has taken on a gangsta rap atmosphere. The floor manager, whom a homeless person said was fired because she gave homeless people food in exchange for work, told me that loud altercations would break out and people threatened to damage cars, etc.

Yet a homeless person is banned because she might panhandle!

The Bristol Burger King has become a den for lowlifes. Rene seems to be OK with that, evidently because like her, they are the quintessential Noble Savage. To borrow a phrase from Tom Wolf, they  “like pimps, are a member of a spurious aristocracy,” as is that general manager.

Many homeless people come to the public library in Levittown PA and read books, use the computers to look for jobs and educate themselves. Some of them, as a result of their dogged search, have landed jobs and have moved on up. I’ve heard homeless people discussing Shakespeare and have joined them in other intelligent conversations.

Like Selma Alabama before civil rights, the white cracker establishment ruled tyrannically over blacks. As Anne Coulter pointed out in Mugged, most of the folks running the show during Jim Crow were descendants of the barbarian Celts. Today in places such as the Bristol Burger King, barbarians are running the show. The only difference is the color of the tyrants.

But, as writers and protesters shamed America and brought about positive change, I will do the same for the homeless.

We shall overcome!

Bad Moon Arising

“I see the bad moon arising. I see trouble on the way. I see earthquakes and lightnin’. I see those bad times today.

Don’t go around tonight, Well it’s bound to take your life, There’s a bad moon on the rise.

I hear hurricanes a blowing. I know the end is coming soon. I fear rivers over flowing. I hear the voice of rage and ruin.”

Bad Moon Arising, Credence Clearwater Revival

“We all have baggage,” said a former homeless guy in lower Bucks County, PA. Recognizing you have a problem is the first step in getting your act together. When he was homeless, he learned how to deal with his baggage, and as a result was able to improve conditions for himself and fellow homeless.

If left unchecked, our “baggage”, our addictions, anti-social behavior and other problems, can lead to destruction. I know, I’ve been there. I also know that it isn’t too late. It wasn’t in my case.

And Carol King’s thesis “it’s too late, baby it’s too late…” doesn’t apply to my homeless friend who is getting treatment for alcoholism. He fell down, but he is not out. People who have been there before are helping him help himself.

He was one of the clowns who caused the homeless to be banned for a time from the Levittown Veteran’s Memorial when they were drunk and disorderly. The others involved have continued their destructive behavior.

The homeless don’t have to be that way, just because they are homeless. People have choices.

My friend is starting to fully realize that he can’t make it on his own. I occasionally remind him that there’s no such thing as the Lone Ranger Christian. He is on the right path and has made the right choice. Some of us have been encouraging him, despite his occasional urge to think he’s strong enough to leave the nest, to stay on the right track.

This time of year, with all the crass materialism static from the money grubbers who hijacked Christmas (they are the real Grinch who stole Christmas) to use it as a means to their ends, it’s important to know the real reason for the season.

What’s it’s all about, Alfie, is taking to heart God’s sacrifice for sinners and showing concern, compassion for others, especially the less fortunate. And it’s just not about material things. Some people are down spirited, especially this time of year.

It’s been said that depression is high during the Christmas season. A lot of it has to do with the emptiness of materialism and people feeling like nobody cares. The Christmas hype just doesn’t cut it!

Instead of envy, pettiness and fighting, people need to help and edify one another. At a community meal for the homeless and those in need, someone at my table questioned why the homeless are bickering with one another when they could be working together. I agree.

Greed, which runs rampant this time of year, alienates people and causes problems.

Compare Frank Norris’s McTeaque, about the social problems that resulted from the greed of the Gold Rush era, with John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, the novel about how a homeless family worked with others in their plight. In McTeaque, greed caused contention between individuals, just as does some of today’s homeless people who want all the booze or cigarettes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McTeague

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grapes_of_Wrath

Gluttony is a form of greed that causes problems. After I lost my house, I was invited to live rent free in a house in exchange for taking handicapped people to their doctor’s appointments and shopping and doing various chores around the property. One of them incessantly demanded I pick up monster drinks and other small items for her, in addition to weekly shopping.

A showdown came two days after our weekly shopping, which included picking up a few pounds of lunch meat for two people. The glutton wanted me to take them shopping again because they pigged out and finished the lunch meat in two days! I put my foot down and said “no.” There was other food in the house, but they demanded their lunch meat.

The glutton told me her father-in-law, who owns the house, would pick up the lunch meat. Shortly thereafter, after I schlepped many bags of food into the house after weekly shopping, the old man, a retired Brown Shirt with the United Auto Workers Union, told me I wasn’t shopping for his son and daughter-in-law as agreed and demanded I “get out and take your stuff, before I throw it out!” This guy is Jeff Dunham’s Walter on steroids!

In the Steinbeck novel, people worked together as a team in order to survive their ordeal.

When I first started hanging around the homeless about 1 1/2 years ago, they helped one another — with food and shelter, and schooled them where they could go for assistance and were there for moral support.

One free walk in program I’d recommend, which has helped me get rid of my baggage that weighs me down is the 12 steps journey, held Tuesday evenings in Levittown and Saturday nights in Newtown. http://www.12stepjourney.com/ See schedule on link.

All people matter, including the homeless. When the bad moon rises over the homeless, don’t moon them but encourage them to improve themselves. I’d encourage everyone to dump bad baggage.

Out of The Ashes

During an orientation for a homeless friend who is getting treatment for his addiction, the host admonished the visitors to set borders and make rules for loved ones with an addiction problem, but never to put them down.

The homeless have fled the woods near the public library in Levittown, PA. The aftermath of the wholesale evictions at Queen Anne Park has left a fresh start for some of the former residents. Can the Phoenix arise from the ashes?

During my year and 1/2 relationship with the homeless in lower Bucks County, PA, to borrow a phrase from the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness…” Several months ago, I witnessed a very smart, well educated woman who had an alcohol problem ruin her life.

At one point she had started to come around, recommending books to me and discussing them and engaging in elevated discussions about things such as literature and art, but, like Darth Vader, she returned to the dark side.

She has left the homeless community in my area, and there are rumors that she has a job and has a place to stay. In any case, she is out of my hands.

There were others who went off the deep end, off to the wild dark yonder.

Saddened that I couldn’t help people who went to the dark side, I shared this with a Christian sister. She said that when she first started working with the homeless, she thought she could change the world. She said that God, not us, is ultimately responsible for results and that the best we can do is show people God’s love.

I came to grips with the idea that I am not responsible for results. People have to want to change. You can take people by the hand, but you can’t drag them. I also realize that I, and no other human, is the center of the universe.

We all have a role to play in the world. For more than a year, people have been ministering to my friend, and now he may be on the road to recovery. He has been troublesome, even obnoxious. Sometimes he’d lament that his friends no longer like him. I told him that we don’t like what he’s doing but we still love him and would like to see him straighten out.

I too went through a period where, with all the people God sent into my life, I continued my wayward ways. I didn’t listen to many people close to me, even the pastor of a church I used to attend. After I left the church, while driving for a rug company as I passed the church, I literally thumbed my nose at it.

It was only after I fell into a pit, like the Psalm writer David, that I came around.

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

— Psalm 40:2

“Oh Lord, I called to you for help, and you healed me.”

— Psalm 30:2

It is not for us to judge — we don’t control the horizontal; we don’t control the vertical. God does. We can hold the people causing problems in the homeless community accountable for their actions, but we should not put them down as human beings, who are made in the image of God.

Jonah thought he controlled the horizontal and the vertical and walked the other way when God told him to go to the decadent town of Nineveh. He had given up hope for them and wanted to see them destroyed. It took being swallowed by a whale to get him to obey God and minister to the people in Nineveh.

In a sense, we are all refugees, having lost direction in life. As Bob Dylan sang:

“How does it feel?

How does it feel?

To be on your own

No direction home…”

People can find direction. As David wrote: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

— Psalm 119:105

Like the character Evangelist in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, we can just point people to God. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/bunyan/pilgrim.html

You don’t have to live like a refugee. There is a bridge that leads home.