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 

Working Your Way

While the public library in Levittown, PA took the day off after the recent storm, even when roads and parking lots were clear, the homeless found work shoveling snow.

About a year ago, “Crazy Dog Lady” arranged to meet a homeless man at the library between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. to do some work for her. Come 11:45, she hadn’t shown up. The guy had some other work lined up, so about noon, he left. Crazy Dog Lady waltzed into the library about 12:30. She didn’t think anything of it; she reasoned that the homeless just stick around the library all day. Wrong!

Not when they have work lined up.

The last time I saw this guy was several months ago. He had started working park time, and said he expected the job to become full time.

Given the chance, the homeless will work. I once overheard a conversation between this man and other homeless guys where they said they just wanted to get into a routine.

At the library, homeless people have used the resources to find work and educate themselves. One woman in particular relentlessly used the library computer, even coming back twice the same day on the same site in case a new job opened. She was able to move out of her car, into the shelter, then into an apartment.

Shelter is the biggest need the homeless face.

The liberal establishment in Bucks County, PA, instead of seriously addressing the homeless problem, which started about 1977, and was officially recognized in the late 80s, following James Brown’s advice, gets up and dances, and they feel better. It is a feel good mentality.

Unlike the ant in Aesop’s fable The Ant and The Grasshopper who puts his back to the plow, the county, like the grasshopper, fiddles around.

I emailed Bucks County Commissioner Diane Marseglia to run my idea by her to set aside Bucks County property and create a place for the homeless to live. The encampment would be official, with rules, and the homeless would build and take care of the developed land. The Commissioner’s response was that doing this would jeopardize the chances for the homeless to take advantage of county housing.

Holy non-sequitur, Batman!

There is a one to two year wait for county housing.

At Queen Anne’s county park, one end of which abuts the library and the shelter, which is designated for passive recreation, shelters were put up for feral cats — a gated community for homeless felines. For sure, the homeless were evicted from that area because of drug use, but there are many areas that could be used for homeless shelters.

Much park land is woods, with many trails running through, and homeless encampments can be set up unobtrusively between the trails.

There was a guy who used to live at the edge of the vacated homeless woods. The neighbors were friendly with him. A guy who used to walk his dog by his site used to stop and talk with us. When I was helping him move from another spot, the dog walker introduced his dog as they approached us, whose name I recalled.

One one occasion, I met with the vice principle of the Bucks County Tech school to ask about giving a homeless woman more time to pack up after security told her to vacate her tent site in the woods by the school. He wanted her out ASAP, and added that he’s responsible to the student’s parents.

Many homeless people are not like the grasshopper, who wants a handout and hustles to make his way. The officials from the mental health industry in Bucks County, however, are one with the grasshopper.

I think disco lights should be brought to Code Blues, with the disco song “The Hustle” playing with the pulsating lights. Then, as mental health representatives step center strange, “give it up for…” would be announced, as they dance.

People complain about and judge the homeless. I’ve heard from more than once source that government workers and places with unions tell their workers not to work too hard so more work can be created. A homeless person told me that during one snow event, she showed up for work but was sent home. She was told that if other people stay home, everybody stays home.

This is an example of the group think that is destroying our country. During the Eisenhower 50s, when individual responsibility and hard work, and innovation were championed we were better off. We didn’t have a homeless problem like we do now.

The guy who was stood up by Crazy Dog Lady said that when you are homeless, you learn to innovate, unlike how Bucks County addresses the homeless problem.

A large reason it’s hard to create shelter for the homeless is hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless. When I asked the Advocates for the Homeless and those in Need (AHTN) for tips and help for our nascent non-profit to find shelter for the homeless, I was told that AHTN looked into it but it can’t be done — that 24-7 security would be needed. I replied that we don’t plan to be a babysitting service.

Why not create a village, appoint a trusted homeless person to manage it, and in the case of county park land, have a ranger oversee the operation. The ranger could get to know the leaders and the people in the village. Active druggies and other problem people would not be invited. Rules would be established and enforced.

The nascent non profit, Gimmee Shelter for which I’m publicist, has a few ideas, as reported in Times Publishing: http://www.timespub.com/2015/04/30/working-for-a-place-to-stay/

I keep finding homeless people who are getting their acts together.

To fight hobophobia, people in the homeless community need to get their acts together.

I’ve been traveling in circles where the homeless help and build each other up.

This is how they do it in the 12 steps journey program, which meets two different nights in two different locations in lower Bucks County, PA. For more information: www.12stepjourney.com

 

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor

Officials in Bucks County, Pennsylvania recognized in the late 80’s that the homeless problem was not restricted to Philadelphia but has fanned out to Bucks County.  Today, especially in Lower Bucks County, the homeless problem has mushroomed. So much so that the only shelter, in Levittown, PA, has months long wait to get in.  This shelter is temporary, and there’s a one to two year wait to get permanent county housing in Bucks.

Consequently, many people end up sleeping on sidewalks, their cars, and in tents.

In Bucks County there is more vacant property than there is more vacant property than homeless people. Caring people have tried to put these two together. For some reason, when people explored the idea of matching vacant property with the county’s homeless, they were stonewalled. One excuse or the other.  Liability…

To help the homeless, Austin Texas created a 27 acre village.

How does it help? Father Nathan Monk explains:

“Actually, 44% of the homeless are employed. There are many others of the 56% who bring in some income due to retirement, disability, etc. The particular units were designed to deal with the single chronic population, meaning individuals who have been homeless for a year or more. It doesn’t mean they can’t afford anything, it just means they can’t afford to pay the average rent. Yes, there is Section 8 Housing and that does meet a certain need, these tiny homes meet another need. I don’t know all the ins and outs of this particular program, but I’m certain that there are also ways to accommodate those who can’t afford this particular rent. I think the overall point of this meme is to show how cheap tiny house living can be and that it is a uniquely viable option for addressing chronic homelessness.”

The homeless village fills in the gaps for people who can’t afford a home. Here human ingenuity is able to meet a humanitarian need. People whose only problem is that they can’t afford housing can have a place to call home.

Similarily, Bill Levitt met the need for housing in the New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey tri state area back in the 1950’s. People who normally couldn’t afford a house could buy homes. Veterans returning from the Korean war needed a place to stay, as did others. Many people from the city moved out of apartments into Levittown homes.

Despite Bucks County historically stonewalling efforts to create more shelter for the homeless, there are people out there who are brainstorming ideas. There are some businessmen and others with the skills and heart to address the homeless problem in Bucks. We need to come together to find a solution to the homeless problems the way they did in other areas.

As is the case in Austin, Texas, there are many people in Bucks County, PA who can’t afford the market price for housing, and need a place they can afford to move into. Levittown targeted a lower middle class market. The economy is not as sound as it was in the 50’s. There is more unemployment and underemployment as our country has become an Obama Nation.

To meet this challenge, a friend and I have formulated a plan to meet housing needs in Bucks County.  We have to overcome obstacles. One of them is hobophobia, which, for those of you in Doylestown, according to the Urban Dictionary is “The extreme and utter fear of hobos, or the homeless.”

For sure, there are thieves, druggies and panhandlers (mostly the druggies), drunks, nutcases, violent people and general troublemakers among the homeless population. But many homeless people are that way because of income. They may have lost their job suffered from a house fire or other tragedy and just can’t afford housing.

Here’s a report on the organization we’re starting, Gimmee Shelter for the Homeless:

http://www.timespub.com/2015/04/30/working-for-a-place-to-stay/ 

We hope to work with others in the community to improve the lot of the homeless in Bucks County, PA.