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It’s 6 a.m., and time to start packing up their sleeping gear in front of a government building. The office will start it’s business day soon and the homeless have to skidaddle.
This is one example of what people who don’t have a place to go home to have to do.
As far as personal hygiene, in the cold weather they find restrooms or other places where they can discreetly brush their teeth and generally clean up. The public library in Levittown PA put signs up “no brushing teeth, no shaving…” in the rest rooms.
Homeless people who regularly get caught napping sometimes get kicked out of the Levittown public library. One homeless man, who occasionally has gotten caught napping, was banned from the library for a week!
The homeless have a haven at the local YMCA, where they can shower and clean up. The Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) set them up for this. There is limited transportation to get there. Many of the homeless in Levittown walk to the Y. That is, those who can walk.
Another way the homeless in lower Bucks County spend the night is in cars. There are a few places in the area that are homeless friendly. A major retailer even welcomes people to sleep in their cars in their parking lot. The local police not only know about it, but they get to know who the homeless are who spend the night in their cars and look after them, especially the homeless females.
Not every business is homeless friendly. McDonalds regularly kicks the homeless out of their restaurant, even when it isn’t crowded and when they are obeying the rules and ordering food. A local Subway also kicks out the homeless. I talked with the manager of this Subway who said that people have complained about certain people hanging around (although they weren’t panhandling or pestering anyone in any way) and that his establishment doesn’t want the homeless to find a temporary refuge there.
Dennys is a place that is not uptight and judgmental about the homeless. People, who happen to be homeless, spend hours reading a book, after they have a meal there. The staff and the homeless know each other by first names.
The toughest time for the homeless is inclement weather. When the weather is agreeable, there are places the homeless can hang out outside without being rousted.
There’s one homeless woman in Levittown who has COPD, and can’t walk far, especially in cold weather. Fortunately, she’s been able to catch rides sometimes with people who have cars.
Another way the homeless spend the night is in tents in the woods. Tent cities have been established down the road from Levittown around Bristol, PA. On two occasions, they have been raided by the authorities, the day after the Warm Hearts brought their Trojan Horse. Just a coincidence?
And the homeless who were evicted from the tent cities were escorted to areas that tended to be very wet, not as favorable as the area they left.
In and around Levittown, rather than tent cities, the homeless pitch their tents in scattered areas throughout the woods. They have to carry supplies in, dodging the authorities and sometimes walking long distances through rough terrain.
Tents are not leak proof, which some of the homeless have found. When this happens they have to dry out their blankets and clothes. Sometimes things have to be replaced, even their tents!
The “Library People” and homeless in the Bristol and other areas get together regularly at the community meals for the homeless and needy. Different churches host meals each month. Most days each month are covered. The bus from the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) pick up and transport homeless people to the meals. To cover gaps, an advocate from AHTN brings food as well as other items to the homeless.
You now have the 411 on the homeless and how they live. We at Gimmee Shelter for the Homeless, a nascent non-profit started by a guy with a business background who was homeless for a time, who recruited me to do the publicity for this organization, have a mission to help keep people off the street.
I’d love to turn you on to this noble cause.
If you’d like to help the homeless in Bucks County, PA, please go to this link. The ads that come up help raise funds for our cause. You can skip the ad after a few seconds. Every click on an ad helps.
Please go to the Gimmee Shelter for the Homeless hypertext above.