There You Go Again

As Ronald Reagan used to say: “There you go again.”  AHTN, the alleged advocates for the homeless and those in need, are at it again with their hype, their snake oil sales, their fractured fairy tales, just as the video they did about the homeless using actors, while real homeless people stood near, whom they ignored.

St. Mary Medical cut AHTN’s funding, which was a good chunk of the funding. But AHTN has been doing lots of fund raisers. St. Mary Medical, I’m sure, cut the funding for a good reason.

Anyway, this wild science fiction-like story in the Courier Times depicts homeless people struggling to get enough food at a community meal. The truth is, the hosts at the shared meals give the guests plenty to eat, and some even give them stuff to take home. Some hosts at the meals give the homeless and needy guests clothes, plenty of it.

Between food stamps, which most homeless and needy people have, the shared meals, and the clothing given out, there should be no great hunger in lower Bucks County. The problem with some is that they sell their food stamps to get booze and cigarettes, etc.

What’s most laughable is the fawning towards AHTN.  “Another man told me after the shared meal he didn’t know where he and his wife would be without the help of AHTN. His wife added, ‘I’m not sure we would be.’”  By the way, it’s the churches who provide the meals, not AHTN.  AHTN provides transportation to the meals. Sometimes.

The biggest problem in Bucks County for the homeless is housing. A friend and I tried to start a non-profit to create housing for the homeless. When I approached AHTN to join forces, the AHTN president said that creating more housing would be impossible because there would have to be 24/7 security. In places such as Oregon, a homeless community of tiny homes has 24/7 security. It’s not impossible.  Any kind of place at least has a manager on duty. What’s impossible is the thinking, the spin of AHTN! If you believe AHTN’s line, I’ll tell you there’s a Tooth Fairy, the Easter bunny, and Santa Claus!

Here’s the bull, I mean the 411:

Advocates for the Homeless & Those in Need, of Lower Bucks, helps the less fortunate in our community. Now, due to severe budget cuts, they need your help.

The unshaven man in his 50s hurries through his meal as if he were running late for a bus waiting to deliver him to a better life. A weathered, frail man seated beside him has just finished his meal. He turns to his left and, in a whisper, asks if he’s going to eat his dinner roll.

“You still hungry?” the man responds quietly, respectfully, so no one else can hear.

The first man nods, almost embarrassingly.

The second man breaks his roll in two and hands half to his neighbor. The second man smiles, pats his friend on the shoulder and uses the bread to sop up what gravy remains on his plate.

What I witnessed at that shared meal for 74 homeless and needy folks in the basement of the Emmaus Road Lutheran Church in Middletown on a cold, rainy evening three years ago struck me like a gut punch. The lesson, one I knew but that was reinforced, has stayed with me: Sometimes, your neighbor just needs a little help.

One neighbor that needs our help now is Advocates for the Homeless & Those in Need, an interfaith nonprofit in Fairless Hills providing temporary, yearlong access to emergency shelter, food and other life-sustaining services, with dignity and compassion.

But AHTN is in a financial bind. Nearly half its annual operating budget has been discontinued. Without replacement funding, its ability to continue the aforementioned vital programs, including its Code Blue program, is in serious doubt. The funding gap was $100,000, and only half has been raised.

How to help

Donate to Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need online at or send a check to Advocates for Homeless and Those in Need, P.O. Box 184, Fairless Hills, PA 19030

Cold winter nights are coming, and hunger isn’t seasonal. Need rarely, if ever, takes a day off, much like AHTN staffers themselves. This is my pitch to ask you to help. So, pitch in whatever you can. Please.

I got to witness first hand the good work of AHTN a few years ago when I wrote a series of stories about the organization during our company’s “Buck Up, Bucks County!” campaign. Over a two-year period, the fundraiser, through donations big and small, realized more than $500,000 to renovate the aging Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter and purchase AHTN a new 12-seat bus with a hydraulic lift for wheelchairs to provide round-trip transportation for folks to attend shared meals and Code Blue nights at area churches, as well as to be transported to rejuvenation stations once a month for showers, haircuts, etc. Call it the little bus that could.

Everything we take for granted, AHTN clients take with a blessing: food, shelter, clothing, improved hygiene. On that cold, rainy night, when those two men broke bread and my heart, I spoke with several of the guests at the shared meal. Some of them were homeless and living in their vehicles. One husband and wife told me the car in which they were living was recently repossessed, leaving them no choice but to live in a tent in the woods in Lower Bucks.

“How do you survive in the cold at night in a tent?” I asked.

“We hold onto each other,” the husband said, reaching for his wife’s hand.

Another man told me after the shared meal he didn’t know where he and his wife would be without the help of AHTN. His wife added, “I’m not sure we would be.”

Sometimes, it takes more than holding hands. Sometimes, helping neighbors weather the storm takes reaching your hand into your own pocket.

To help deliver them a better life.