Please Sir, I Want Some More!

“Please, sir, I want some more”, begged Oliver Twist for more gruel in Charles Dickens novel of his namesake.  This was a legitimate request from an underfed child in a baby farm.  Today, however, there are people in Bucks County, PA who beg for funding they really don’t deserve. 

Saint Mary Medical Center decided that the (alleged) Advocates for the Homeless And Those in Need will have no more funding. Saint Mary is – I know from personal experience-  very gracious. They stopped funding AHTN for a good reason.   

Now they are on an official beg drive: Two of our volunteers have given us the challenge to raise $5000, we need your help! 

As you may know, AHTN lost funding from one of our major supporters and because of this, we now have a $100K shortfall. Our AHTN Board members and staff have been working hard to find alternate ways to raise this money back, but it won’t come quickly. 

One way in which you can help is to donate any amount to AHTN and we will receive a matching gift from two generous volunteers. They will match up to $5,000, please help us raise $10,000 with this Volunteer Matching Gift Challenge!   

http://www.ahtn.org/ 

Saint Mary donated $100,000 of AHTN’s $220,000 budget.  

What does AHTN do with all that money? Occasionally they put homeless people up in a motel, pay their first month’s rent, occasionally transport people to doctors and such, support a rejuvenation station, and take the homeless and those in need to community meals and code blues (winter). Is there a lot of overhead?  I think so. Quite possibly their own pockets! 

Awhile back, I asked for AHTN’s help with a non-profit a friend and I wanted to start to make more housing available for the homeless in lower Bucks County. I thought we could team up with AHTN. When I emailed AHTN’s president to ask for help to create more housing, she responded that it was impossible and that 24/7 security would be needed.  

My partner in the proposed non-profit “Gimme Shelter for the Homeless” has a business/marketing background and I have a background in writing.  I was going to be the grant writer. A grant writer writes a pitch to potential donors, tells them how the money us going to be used in order to convince them to donate. I read a book about grant writing. When I emailed someone associated with AHTN who is a professional grant writer for tips, she didn’t even answer me!  

Except for churches in the area, the establishment doesn’t genuinely care about the homeless and doesn’t want to put themselves in their shoes or even want to understand them. Awhile back, AHTN made a video about the homeless, using actors! 

Even the local Salvation Army contributes to the negative attitude towards the homeless. When I volunteered there, the public relations gal, The Countess of Carlisle, got into a conversation I was having with another volunteer where I complained about how the homeless were discriminated against in the Levittown public library. The Countess Augustly said that people who visit the library don’t like the homeless being there.  

Unfortunately, these opinion leaders have influenced policy towards the homeless in Bucks County, people who should be held to a higher standard.  

Little help from the establishment for the homeless, but people who have lost kids to drug abuse, some of them government big shots, have been sucking up our taxpayer money! We fork out funds for dopes (why do you think they call it dope), a choice they made as a result of a character flaw. And the state sponsored initiatives generally fail and are just a waste of our money. http://levittownnow.com/2017/09/20/pennsbury-steps-efforts-to-fight-drug-abuse-mental-health-issues-into-high-gear/ 

The churches can do a much better job of helping broken people become whole. Biblical counsel is sufficient for any human problem that is not physical/medical. And they are not in it for the money. 

I am a free market conservative, against big government because the government tends to pick to distribute funds on who yells the most and has political power/pull.  In a free market, people are free to help those whom they choose to help. The government tends to base its decisions on a mob mentality. And special interests. Often money and attention doesn’t go to those who deserve it the most. 

XYZ Affair   –   France wants a bribe
 

  • France says, “Pay us money and we won’t attack you.” 

“Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.”
— Representative Robert Goodloe Harper 

 

Applied to Bucks County: 

  • Jeff says, “Give us help to shelter the homeless” 

 

“Pay us money to fight the drug epidemic and protect snowflakes 

Millions for the government drug and mental health hustler programs but not one cent for the homeless.”                       –Bucks County Establishment 

Wossamotta U Versus Church

In the last blog I praised the churches in lower Bucks County, PA for countering judgmentalism and apathy towards the homeless taught at Wossamotta U. and showing respect and empathy for them.

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

“Don’t talk about us; talk with us” the slogan some homeless people created is a reality in lower Bucks County.  A large part of hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless, is a result of just not knowing them.  So people talk about them without knowing who they really are.

Intermittently, the homeless have been harassed at the Veteran’s Memorial in Levittown, but now, except for a rare rogue, their rights have been respected and the harassment has eased off.

Initially, the new guard at the nearby municipal building, fed by misinformation, tried to shoo the homeless from the Veteran’s Memorial. But once he got to know them he lightened up. Just today one of the homeless guys who was at the memorial said the guard has been “cool”.  When I first met the new guard I told him “we have to break you in.” Taken aback he spouted “I don’t need to be broken in” — and informed me that he was a trained law enforcement officer…  After he mentioned enforcing rules, we realized we were on the same page, but that my concern was that the rules be enforced even handedly.

The harassment at the memorial was driven by false witness by those who hate the homeless, including the WIC office in the municipal building, which faces towards the memorial. A woman with COPD who went into the WIC office to get warm one winter during business hours was booted just because she was homeless.

Harassment against the homeless has been the case at the Levittown public library for the past two years. Lately, it got so out of hand that I filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The problem is Pat, the head librarian and her sidekick. The other librarians, however, have been not been only respectful of the homeless but have gotten friendly with them. They even gave me a card to bring with me when I visited a homeless person in the hospital.

In an attempt to shoo the homeless from the library, they have been hassled various ways, in some cases thrown out for the day or longer for minor problems. In one case, the homeless woman who was  thrown out of WIC was reading when the librarian told her she needed to do something to stay in the library. The latest case was when the head librarian, Pat, out of the blue, told a homeless man he had been talking loud all week and threw him out, although other people, especially bratty kids, consistently talk much louder.

Many of the churches and individual Christians have reached out to the homeless in lower Bucks County, showing them respect, understanding and empathy.

There are some, however, who must have taken night classes at Wossamatta U.

“The Countess of Carlisle”,  the community relations and development director at the Salvation Army Levittown Community Center told me that people don’t like the homeless in the library when they visit because they are dirty, spread food out all over the tables, etc. I asked her if she witnessed that (she didn’t)  and told her that I do go there and found this isn’t the case. I added that if someone breaks a rule about eating in the library, simply tell them to stop. This Salvation Army official didn’t want to know the truth, and just kowtows to the worldly, judgmental views of the community.

“Queen Latifah”, another elitist at the Salvation Army, treats the homeless like criminals and children when she hosts the community meals.

In the homeless community itself, false witness has created problems. Rumors were spread about someone I didn’t know in this community, but once I got to know him, I found that I was told lies.

Lies were also told about a guy who visits the community meals, but was not homeless, but in need. This fostered fights, which sometimes started to get physical. There was an incident at the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Penndel, PA where someone came to the meal drunk and screamed at the victim of false witness, physically threatened him, and had to be restrained.

Yet the perpetrator was let off the hook. One of the advocates from the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) twisted what happened  and the victim, who did a rope-a-dope, was blamed. The next time  the victim went to Redeemer Lutheran for the meal, he was told he was banned, because, a church representative said, he was saying negative things about the homeless.

I respect the homeless, and don’t take the stance that, because they are homeless, they are not responsible for their behavior. The victim and I pushed the issue and got the perpetrator temporarily banned from the bus. After this time out, he didn’t cause any more problems.

Recently, another homeless man, on more than one occasion, caused a ruckus at a community meal. Since the last ruckus, he hasn’t been at the meals. We must have set a precedent.

A  non-homeless person who visits the meals said she was told to use caution when going to the meals. She was afraid someone might come at her with a weapon and that someone told her not even to look at the homeless people there. I allayed her fears and explained that my experience is that the worst thing that happens is occasional quarrels, usually alcohol driven. Normally the meals are a pleasant experience, where there is great fellowship.

Most churches have been gracious towards the homeless. They not only feed them, but sit at their tables at community meals and have developed relationships with them and mentored them.

This is the way it should be.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

–2 Corinthians 5:20

Churches Open Doors to Homeless

Family Promise is stepping up to the plate in lower Bucks County, PA to provide housing, meals, and services to help homeless families get back on their feet. Churches will open their doors to provide overnight shelter and meals for the families, with opening ceremonies starting April 2. Similar to Code Blue, which houses the homeless during the winter, churches participating in this program will welcome people year round.

Each morning, families are transported to a day center, where they can take care of hygiene, wash clothes, look for jobs and training, and get kids off to school. The center also offers job interview training, helps people arrange day care and helps families link up to other services, such as healthcare. Here job applicants can have a mailing address.

Although Family Promise of Lower Bucks is just housing families, including single moms, this should help others by freeing  up space in the Bucks County Emergency Shelter in Levittown, which is overflowing, with families, which get priority, taking up much of the space.

The goal of Family Promise is to help families become self sufficient, with an 80 percent success rate nationally.

To ensure the safety of the all the guests, participants are screened for substance abuse, criminal background, and mental health issues, as are strict rules.

A good part of the Family Promise program is mentoring people and making the guest feel at home. The volunteers are encouraged to mingle with the guests, while giving them their space, their privacy.

This is the atmosphere I’ve found at the community meals for the homeless and needy in lower Bucks County. As Paul Revere & The Raiders sang, it’s a good thing. http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/p/paul_revere_the_raiders/good_thing.html 

I was greatly encouraged to learn of this private organization that helps fill the great need for shelter for the homeless in lower Bucks County. In the tradition of President Grover Cleveland, who vetoed a government bailout for Texas farmers and relied on Americans to help their neighbors, the private sector is coming to the aid of it’s homeless neighbors. In the case of the Texas farmers, Americans donated more funds to help fellow Americans than was proposed in the government bailout.

The local churches are doing God’s work by reaching out to needy people. I’m honored to have signed up as an advocate and for public relations with Family Promise of Lower Bucks.

“For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.”

–Deuteronomy 15:11

For more information: http://www.fplb.org/ 

Or, for those in the homeless community in lower Bucks County, see me, Jeff. They know me from the Navy Yard to the Boulevard. Actually, I can be found in the Levittown branch of the Bucks County Free Library and at the community meals for the homeless and needy.