Gimmee Shelter

Oh, a storm is threatening
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away

War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away

-Lyrics from the Rolling Stone’s Gimmee Shelter

Today in places such as Bucks County, PA, people are saying “Gimmee shelter!”

Life for the homeless in Bucks County is stormy. There seems to be a war against the homeless. Despite the county having more vacant property than homeless people, nobody’s been able to put the two together.

Even if you have some money, it’s hard to get housing in lower Bucks County. It’s completely impossible if you have hardly two pennies to rub together.

Unofficial places for the homeless to go is steadily shrinking. In some cases, certain problem individuals have caused their places to be raided. In some cases, the good people could have done more to keep the problem people out. But this can be difficult, as the Bucks establishment subscribes to the one-size-fits all mentality, so in many cases even if problem people are reported, everyone is punished.

The homeless in lower Bucks often end up at the Bucks County Homeless Shelter in Levittown, where they may have to wait for months to get in, thanks largely to the Feds which has imposed an inordinate number of recovery houses on the lower Bucks community – some 100 of them. Instead of moving on up, the druggies continue their bad habits and end up in the so-called emergency shelter. The shelter is also a revolving door for drunks and other miscreants.

Consequently, relatively normal people are put at risk. One problem is theft. Also crazies disturbing them. Just last night some psycho was keeping people up well past midnight. The staff did nothing to stop this, yet a rogue ranger, Tom Booze, who volunteers at the shelter, is on a witch hunt, doing criminal checks, possibly illegally, and harasses the homeless at the shelter. One resident told me that when he walked past the rogue ranger, he noticed he had pulled up a birth certificate on the shelter’s computer screen.

In one case, Booze put his hands on one of the shelter residents for no reason, evidently to provoke him so he could call the police. He also accused a resident of being drunk without using a breathalyzer or a swab test.

This place is not a shelter from the storm. In fact, it is the storm!

The Bucks County Homeless Shelter is becoming a Lord of The Flieshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_of_the_Flies

A formerly homeless guy I met about 2 ½ years ago has become responsible, self sufficient. He has a job and can pay his own bills. He is getting his act together. There were some caring people who have helped him help himself.

We need to give all the homeless an opportunity to help themselves. Some succeed, some don’t. One size does not fit all. The homeless need a hand up, not a hand out.

The key to helping the homeless is caring people in the community, not the government. Unlike people who voluntarily come out to help the homeless with their physical and spiritual needs, the government isn’t very personable. The homeless, at least here in Bucks County, are written off as lost causes and treated as a commodity. For example, Alan Johnson, who works for the county, told me he doesn’t believe in housing first and added that people have to get straight first. He presupposes that they all need mental health services in order to get housing. In fact, he offered housing to me and others if we are willing to be labeled that we are so messed up that we cannot be a productive member of society.

Very few people in the homeless community need to be put away. The county health industry doesn’t really help people. I can think of two people who go to the community meals who need to be tucked away somewhere. Druggies and chronic drunks also need to be sequestered the way people in insane asylums centers are.  Their habits are a form of insanity. The 12 Steps program helps restore sanity.Step Two- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.  http://www.12stepjourney.com/

Contrast the way caring people reach out to the homeless to the government’s modus operandi. First of all, private parties show unconditional love. Yesterday at the afternoon community meal, the guys at my table said they really appreciate the trouble that church goes to prepare good meals, and that they particularly appreciate the way the hosts treat them. Yesterday one of the hosts asked the guests what God did for them. One chirped that he got his job back. The host also talked about forgiveness, to which I noticed some guests were very attentive.

Awhile back, a host ministered, one on one to a guy who was nearly at the end of his rope with his drug problem. The guy ended up in a faith based short term drug treatment program. When I talked with him while visiting someone else at the treatment center, he told me he realizes the gravity of his problem and that he’s determined to take the program seriously.

These caring people are examples of the way we should care for people who need a hand up. Oh, did I say these were church people? The church needs to take back the mission that she relegated to the secular world, especially to a machine like government.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

-Proverbs 31:8