Does Skid Row Equal The Homeless?

In previous blogs, I addressed how people become homeless because of irresponsible, destructive behavior, such as drug and alcohol abuse, gluttony, materialism and sloth. Not everybody becomes homeless for those reasons, and a homeless person should not be labeled a persona non grata just because he or she is homeless.

The name “Skid Row“, unfortunately gives some people an image of the homeless – raggedy looking drunks rummaging through trash cans, lying drunk on the street, etc. In my experience the past 3 ½ years hanging with the homeless in lower Bucks County, PA, I found that this is not the case here. Prior to this, my experience even seeing the homeless was when my daughter and I navigated around people sleeping on steaming grates in Philadelphia as we walked to a school where my daughter was participating in a play.

People outside the homeless community are drunks and druggies and have other character flaws. The folks in a recent police report have homes: There are bad apples in every walk of life.

Who are today’s homeless?

Loss of job because of sickness and because of the economy is a cause of homelessness. Big government programs, big government in general is not the answer, as some homeless advocates think. In the late 20s and 30s, when big government intervention reared its ugly head, millions of people became hobos, hopping trains to look for work and food. Others, smaller farms, as depicted in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath became homeless because of big government intervention, where the government, for example, paid the large farm conglomerates to burn crops, drove across Route 66 – but didn’t get their kicks – to find work in California.

Today, there is more homelessness in blue, progressive/liberal states than in red, conservative states.

Late 2013, The Boston Globe reported:

Record numbers of homeless families are overwhelming the state’s emergency shelter system, filling motel rooms at the cost to taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars a year.

“An average of 2,100 families a night — an all-time high — were temporarily housed in motel rooms in October, just about equaling the number of families staying in emergency shelters across the state, according to state Department of Housing and Economic Development.

The demand for shelter is so great that the state has been temporarily shipping homeless families from Boston to motels in Western Massachusetts…

So much for liberal Massachusetts.  In New York, as New York Magazine reports:

“Here in New York, they found a thirteen-percent increase, for a total of 64,060 people living in shelters and on the street. And in Los Angeles, the homeless population jumped 27 percent, to 53,798.”

The New Yorker brought up The Skinny Socialist’s, aka Barack Obama’s, promise to end chronic and veteran homelessness in America by 2015 and presented a reality check that all the homeless in NYC can’t fit into the seats at Yankee Stadium.

By contrast, Texas, a red state where freedom, low taxes, and restrictions on government intrusion prevail, is the place where people are fleeing from blue states, an exodus like the Israelites fleeing Egypt.

A tale of two homeless people in Bucks County: One homeless guy kept quitting jobs after working long enough to collect unemployment, and at least some of the jobs someone got for him. He ended up getting disability, the unofficial but de facto reason that he’s lazy (a sloth) and irresponsible and on county assisted housing, not earning a penny himself. Another homeless man sought work, working temp jobs and finally getting a good permanent job.

How to fight homelessness?

  • Don’t vote for progressives
  • Work

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.  How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”

-Proverbs 6:6-11

Where Are Your Real Friends?

“When you’re down and troubled and need a helping hand”, as Carole King sang, is when you need a friend. When a friend in the homeless and needy community needed help clearing his possessions out of the house that he sold when he was in the hospital, just four people, all 60-ish, came out to take it out of the house and put it in a safe place. It was a tiring task and these true friends were there for him.

Over the years, the gracious home owner let homeless people crash at his house for a night or two, free of charge. He also hosted a cook out, even providing the food for the folks who showed up. He also had a deadbeat stay over who, not only welched on the rent, but stole from him. One homeless guy who paid, bailed out before they had to be out of the house, not lifting a finger to help clear the house, but just stopping by at the 11th hour, literally at 11 p.m. one night after others were busing their butts to clear out the house, only to pick up his stuff.

There were other “friends” who took advantage of the guy, one particularly egregious one known as “The Animal.” The animal and her malignant mob damaged the house and stole from the host. They resemble the lowlifes in the movie Trading Places who partied with the homeless street hustler (played by Eddie Murphy) who came into money and wrecked the place and split.

As was the case with The Little Red Hen, everybody wants to eat the bread but no one wants to help make it:

The homeless and needy community need to help one another, bearing one another’s burdens. The liberal establishment in Bucks County, PA helps the homeless basically for what they can get out of them. In previous blogs, I related how mercenary and condescending people are towards the homeless, particularly politicians and institutions who say they care for and aim to help the homeless. Talk is cheap!

Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you will not bear it all alone.” -Numbers 11:17

It’s up to us to help each other! On many occasions, this was the case in this community of people who have fallen behind in life, both financially and with personal problems.

People have encouraged others when they were going through a rough time, giving moral support, finding out for them how to do things, and in this case, physically helping out. A true friend of the guy who lost his home has been leading the house clearing, acting as a liaison, and working many days to help.

In Buck’s homeless and needy community, there are people going through struggles, with drug, alcohol and other problems. Besides each other, caring people have reached out to the homeless, bringing them food, clothing, and giving them moral support. Churches that host the community meals have offered physical and spiritual food and acceptance, understanding.

Pick your friends wisely! True friends are those who are committed to being there for you through thick and thin. And a true friend sometimes has to practice tough love, not just enabling bad behavior, even when the person he’s trying to help becomes hostile and making enabling destructive behavior a condition of friendship. There are those out there who do enable destructive, even criminal behavior (not mentioning any names, as I’ve already blogged about them) for expediency, sometimes just to artificially make peace and sometimes just for their own self-aggrandizement.

We need to work together, like the homeless characters in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” -Ecclesiastes 4:12


For Whom The Bell Tolls

Shocking news hit the homeless and needy community this past week in lower Bucks County, PA, as a beloved member passed away on Saturday, June 17. Just the Wednesday before last I talked with Crystal, who passed, at a community meal. She had been suffering from medical problems for some time, but I didn’t see it at that meal. Instead of dwelling on her problems, Crystal asked me how Sandi, whom I am taking care of, who was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer about 2 ½ years ago, was doing.

Crystal was with her husband, Angel at the dinner. They seemed to be always together, and were a committed loving couple.

I got to know Crystal and Angel about three years ago. They were struggling and at first were quiet. A local advocate for the homeless and needy reached out and ministered to them, as she did others. They socialized with others in their situation.  The group formed bonds and helped each other in various ways, like the characters in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

After a year or so, the couple left the “Memorial Mob” neighborhood and I lost contact with them. The past several months I started seeing them at the community meals. The community meals for the homeless and those in need are not just about getting fed, but a place where friends meet and form bonds, edifying one another and where, in the group’s oral tradition, news is passed along.

Friends of Crystal and Angel, some of whom have seen them regularly at the community meals, have come together to lend moral, financial and other support to Angel.

I just shared a Facebook post about selfies – how silly and vain they are.

“Don’t you mean taking a lonely? #NationalSelfieDay

Posted by Sebastian Maniscalco on Wednesday, June 21, 2017

No man is an island.

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were.
Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”  -John Donne
Just as Crystal and Angel were a team, we all in this circle need to love and care for one another, coming together the way God would want us to.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  -Matthew 22:37-40

The Grapes of Wrath

Have you seen the little piggies grabbing all the dessert?

And for all the little piggies

Greed is getting worse

At the homeless meals they take their booty –parody of The Beatles’ song Piggies

As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.” -Ecclesiastes 10:1

They struck again. At Friday night’s community meal for the homeless and those in need in Bucks County, PA, a couple of piggies stuffed several bags, taking a ton of donuts and cupcakes – so many that many people did not get their desert.  One of the piggies also absconded with eight take home boxes stuffed with the meal, in addition to the deserts!

Two pigs, who are not homeless but welcomed nonetheless to the meals cart off food that short changes others. They are in the “in need” category, but judging by how fat Sharon and Dee are, neither of them need all that food. But others do. Especially the homeless.

These greedy people, who resemble Jabba Hutt of Star Wars fame, are giving a character who comes to the meals, known as Birdman, serious competition. Birdman shows up at the meals, sometimes near the end of the meal, with large bags and sometimes pitchers. He swoops down and hits the community drinks – pitchers, jugs – and trays full of things like butter, bread, and crackers.

Recently, when guests at a meal got up to get a drink or to use the restroom, Birdman flew, table to table, looking for grub. A few tables up from where my friends and I had eaten, he swallowed up someone’s desert. I was left as the lone watch at my table. Birdman walked behind our table, and coveted a friend’s desert. I gave him a dirty look and warned “Just keep walking, Birdman,” which he did.

There has been contention between the homeless who attend the community meals and those who have homes but are in need. Some homeless people don’t think people in homes should go to the meals. Well, the actions of these dead flies give the people in the homeless but in need category a bad smell. And they are adding fuel to hidden feud, which occasionally comes out in the open.

It’s sad that a few pigs are creating problems for others who go to the meal. These non homeless people are exhibiting homeless stereotypes – that they act like predators, vultures, becoming the quintessential Noble Savage, throwing off the restraints of civilized society.

Things work better for the poor and the homeless when they consider not just their own needs, but the needs of others in the community. They need to interact with one another like the characters in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath rather than the greedy characters in Frank Norris’ McTeague, which was adapted for film, titled Greed.

In Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, a novel about the plight of the Okies to California during the depression, homeless people worked together to survive. They bonded together and cared for and looked out for one another, the way Bubba and Forrest did in Forrest Gump.

The characters in McTeague were like some individuals in the homeless and those in need community, hustling and grabbing for all the gusto they could get, at others’ expense. The people in the McTeague society were alienated from each other and usually at one another’s throats, thinking only about personal gain, greed. The characters’ greed leads to murder.

Unlike the piggies, there are people with housing who help the homeless in Bucks County, and the homeless have helped each other. In one instance, a homeless guy was having trouble getting his ID renewed, which he needed to get a certain job. Someone in the community helped him with this task, and the man now has two decent jobs.

Awhile back, a homeless woman found herself in cold standing water. She caught pneumonia. Another homeless person got her to the hospital. Once out of the hospital, he helped her get food and shelter.

After this, she ended up in another area where the homeless go. An unofficial homeless leader set her up at Camp Bob, an unofficial homeless camp where she stayed when it was too warm for Code Blue.

At a Code Blue, she got a terrible headache, which she said felt like an axe in her head. Someone took her to ER, where the hospital found  a brain tumor. A doctor there said she got there in the nick of time. Following the ER visit, she got radiation treatment and, although not completely cured, she survived. Her doctor said that people with her condition normally only life a few months. This happened about two years ago. She then started treatment for lung cancer, which is going well. She also has decent shelter.

“Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him. If it is cold, two can sleep together and stay warm, but how can you keep warm by yourself Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone. A rope made of three cords is hard to break.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12″

Hope For The Homeless?

Too much government regulation is feeding the homeless problem, said Janice Gallagher, a political candidate in Delaware, at a recent forum on the homeless, held at the Victory Church in Dover.  The church is the subject of controversy between neighbors, authorities and the pastor, homeless advocates, and the homeless.

“We are being smothered by regulations,” said Ms. Gallagher. “As I have been out talking to everyday people, what is holding so many things back are the regulations.

For the homeless people, and people without jobs, our community would be moving at a much quicker pace if we could get some of these regulations, not only from our state, but from the feds also, off our backs”, she concluded.

The Delaware state candidate understands one of the problems that fosters homelessness better than our state representative, Tina Davis, the Bimbo of Bucks County, PA. Onerous regulations create more unemployment and is an obstacle to getting things done.  The bimbo praised PA Governor Big Bad Wolf for banning new drilling on state lands.  She admitted that the drilling helps the economy but Augustly said that “protecting” the environment trumps the economy.

Unlike Bucks County, which has more vacant property than homeless people, the Kent County Delaware zoning office is willing to work with the Victory Church pastor and a homeless advocate to relocate the homeless, as the homeless encampment at the church violates zoning codes.

Bucks County is smothered by regulations, driven by hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless and by greed. This is holding back housing for the homeless in Bucks County.

Although the homeless camping at Victory Church are creating problems with their incessant noise at all hours, threats of violence, domestic violence, fighting, false fire alarms and zoning violations, Kent County is offering the homeless an alternative at a better site. It’s up to the homeless to accept the zoning office’s offer and to obey rules, just like anyone else.

The feds, as Ms. Gallagher mentioned, is another source that exacerbates homelessness. In lower Bucks County, the feds have fostered an inordinate number (about 100) of recovery houses, not one in Doylestown (county seat), but dumped them in Levittown and vicinity. Those do-gooder libs in Doylestown don’t want the problems of the lower end in their back yard!

Not only has crime increased in lower Bucks since the feds imposed the revolving door druggie flophouses on the community, but as a result, the so-called emergency shelter is overflowing, so much so that people needing emergency shelter have to wait months to get in!

Progressives, liberals, have fed homelessness. As radio talk show host Tom Marr said, “when you have liberal rule, you have more crime and poverty.” These are the ingredients that make homelessness.

Like her state clones, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is a progressive, who wants more government regulation and wants to “tax the rich” in order to redistribute wealth and allegedly help the poor. She also wants to continue President BO’s war on coal, which creates more unemployment, poverty and raises fuel prices for all of us.

As I illustrated in my blogs about FDR’s New Raw Deal, progressivism hurts us all, except for the fat cat cronies of the liberal establishment, the special privileged characters. The New Raw Deal favored fat cats and hurt the little guy, like the Joads, the fictional family in realistic writer John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

Today, there is more homelessness in blue, liberal states, such as New York, than in red, more conservative states such as Texas.

“Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results”, which is quoted in Narcotics Anonymous.

We can restore America if we get our heads out of dark places.

“At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before.” -Daniel 4:36

Michael Row The Boat Ashore

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah…

Jordan’s river is chilly and cold, hallelujah
Chills the body but not the soul, hallelujah…

The river is deep and the river is wide, hallelujah
Milk and honey on the other side, hallelujah…

–lyrics from Michael Row the Boat Ashore

Originally a negro spiritual, the uplifting song was popularized in the early 60’s by groups such as The Highwaymen, Peter Paul & Mary, and Johnny Rivers. Former slaves sung this song on their way to freedom. Over the years, the lyrics changed and were used in different venues, such as the civil rights movement. The River Jordan, where Jesus was baptized, is a metaphor for deliverance and salvation, a trip to the promised land, and the journey to heaven, like John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, the allegory of the soul.

Life is not a dream (sha-boom sha-boom). It’s not always sunshine lollipops and…rainbows every time you are near the one you love. But life has value, and if you are on the right path, you will find meaning and true peace.

Hardships and trials happen for a reason. For the Christian, the journey across the Jordan leads to hope, to a land of milk and honey.

In the book of Peter, the apostle writes to encourage God’s people during a time when Christians are being fed to lions for sport, made human torches, and generally treated horribly. It was about the time when Rome burned while Nero fiddled. Peter passed on God’s message to look at the big picture, the Kingdom of God, and not get caught up in the things of this world.

About two years ago, after having lived in a house for about 20 years, I lost my job and then my house. I barely had one penny to rub against the other. I got in with some homeless people I met at the public library in Levittown, PA. They told me about community meals and a free bus to get there. I didn’t have my car.  I was running low on food, and didn’t have enough food from a local food bank to sustain me. The Lord provided.

In time, I lost my house. The day after I had to be out of the house, I got temporary housing with a family. But soon I was living in my car with a friend.

I now have a roof over my head.

Through this experience, I learned what was really important in life. After awhile, things I took for granted were gone. Having lost my job, my house, my dog and having suffered other problems, I was a wreck!

People and circumstances came that helped me to get better mentally and spiritually. I grew closer to God and continue to grow, although like characters in The Pilgrim’s Progress, I sometimes lose my way.

The Bucks County establishment, which is hung up on personal peace (an artificial peace) and prosperity can learn from such an experience. It’s been said that hobophobia, the irrational fear and disdain of the homeless, can be cured by taking a dose of homelessness, experiencing what homeless people go through. Maybe this way people will learn to do unto others as they would have them do unto them.

The homeless themselves should realize that their brothers and sisters are going through the same thing they are, like the characters in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and should help and encourage one another.

Instead, some of the homeless and needy in lower Bucks County act like the rabid, jealous, greedy characters in Frank Norris’ McTeague.

“What causes fights and quarrels among you?  Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” -James 4: 1-3

Save The Homeless From Progressives

Like FDR’s New Raw Deal, the progressives war on traditional energy sources hurts the little guy, especially the homeless.

Awhile back, in her newsletter, PA State Representative Tina Davis praised the PA governor, Big Bad Tom Wolf for his mandate to stop harvesting resources on state lands. She admitted that by letting businesses to continue business as usual, it would help the economy, but, (drum roll) it is more important to save the environment. This is a bogus claim.

The generals in this war on traditional energy to save the environment do not give us any specifics as to how they are protecting the environment with their initiatives.

We need someone to save us from these charlatans. There have, in fact, been some victories against them.

In Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie, a large movie producer, Engulf & Devour plots to take over a small producer, who has a problem with alcohol by paying a bimbo to play up to him then break his heart so he could go back on the booze and ruin his business. Engulf & Devour writes a check to the bimbo for: “Pretending to be in love with…”.  If politicians like Tina Davis, the Bimbo of Bristol Township and Governor Big Bad Wolf were as honest as Engulf & Devour, they would put a check written by the High Priests of Ozone and Human Caused Global Warming on Facebook that would read “For pretending the sky is falling.”

As Chris Edwards points out in a piece in The Cato Institute, FDR’s New Deal   “favored fat cats over average families.”

The government catered to the large farms by having them even burn crops, while people go hungry, in order to reduce the supply to keep prices high.  This hurt the little guy, such as the Joads, the characters depicted in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

Likewise, social engineering for alternative energy sources by today’s progressives favors fat cats over average families. We have clean air and water in this country already. When my daughter visited England she said the air was not as clean as in Levittown, PA, and she coughed a bit. What the elites’ social engineering does is hurt the economy. This leads to more homelessness.

We need to pay attention to the (wo) man behind the curtain. Oz, like Shrillery, can’t give anything to the Tin Man, that he doesn’t, doesn’t already have. The magical kingdom, a perfect environment, as found in the Land of Oz is fantasy. The real world is back in Kansas, where, as Oz said when he came clean, there are real things people can do to make things better.

“and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  –John 8:32

Passing on Goodness

Our late sister, Martha Dayman, a baby boomer, survived homelessness. She was an excellent example of someone being homeless who still maintained her dignity. I don’t remember her lashing out at anyone; she kept the interests of others in the local homeless population in Levittown, PA at heart and helped make sure they were alright.

Martha cared.

“She was like a grandmother to me”, said a member of her adopted family in the homeless community, when he learned he wasn’t able to get a ride to her burial. Although donations to the family went to the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need, AHTN did not provide transportation for any of  Martha’s  local homeless family to go to the viewing/funeral or to her burial. Some members of “The Memorial Mob”, as many of the friends in her circle were affectionately called, missed paying their respects to their beloved friend.

AHTN doesn’t care about these matters, but only about their own self-aggrandizement. AHTN didn’t even mention Martha’s passing after a bout with cancer on their website or Facebook page, let alone not showing their respects by attending any of the events to honor her. AHTN likes publicity that trumpets how wonderful they are.

All I found on AHTN’s Facebook page shortly after Martha’s passing were  links with psychobabble: “The number (of homeless people) will never get down to zero since people have the right to live outdoors, one advocate said” and “Bucks County’s homeless population continues to climb six years after the federal government declared an end to the recession”.   Liberal spin

I am considering writing and book about the homeless and donating some of the proceeds to help the homeless. I would not donate a penny to AHTN!

There was, however, a former member of AHTN, who ministered to “the library people”  and was always there for Martha. On one occasion, when Martha was in the Levittown library crying about something bad that happened to her, Donna went right over to her to console her. Donna also resolved Martha’s problem.

Donna, who has moved with her family to Arizona, like some other caring people in the community, has ministered to others in the homeless and needy community.

It’s cold outside and the homeless do what they can to survive. When it’s very cold — and Code Blue has been open to shelter the homeless overnight — the homeless at least have a place to stay warm at night. But places to go during the day are limited to the hours they are open. And some public places limit the time the homeless can stay at their establishments.

Staying dry is perhaps a bigger problem than just staying warm. Some homeless people only have sneakers, mainly the new ones. Gracious churches and benevolent organizations such as No More Pain Inc. has helped out with footwear, clothing, and food. After I lost my job and couldn’t find regular work, someone from a local church gave out gift cards at a Christmas party for the homeless. I used the card to get a pair of warm, waterproof boots.

People in the community have pursued using vacant property to house the homeless. I’m a publicist for a nascent organization which has been trying to make this a reality. This idea has been stonewalled by the Bucks County establishment, which only offers lame excuses as to why this can’t happen.

When the homeless get wet, they can’t just go home, remove their wet clothes, shower, and change into something warm. This is something people with homes take for granted.

Martha was an excellent example of the way many homeless people are. Some people in the homeless community continue her tradition of caring for others and bonding together, like the characters in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

Some people and the government of Bucks County are indifferent to the plight of the homeless. They say that they care about the homeless and want to help them, but talk is cheap.

“If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?…” -James 2: 15,16

Except for some friends, all the homeless  have is each other.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

Philippians 2:3 New International Version (NIV)

This is the motto the homeless community needs to take to heart. Martha did.

Bad Moon Arising

“I see the bad moon arising. I see trouble on the way. I see earthquakes and lightnin’. I see those bad times today.

Don’t go around tonight, Well it’s bound to take your life, There’s a bad moon on the rise.

I hear hurricanes a blowing. I know the end is coming soon. I fear rivers over flowing. I hear the voice of rage and ruin.”

Bad Moon Arising, Credence Clearwater Revival

“We all have baggage,” said a former homeless guy in lower Bucks County, PA. Recognizing you have a problem is the first step in getting your act together. When he was homeless, he learned how to deal with his baggage, and as a result was able to improve conditions for himself and fellow homeless.

If left unchecked, our “baggage”, our addictions, anti-social behavior and other problems, can lead to destruction. I know, I’ve been there. I also know that it isn’t too late. It wasn’t in my case.

And Carol King’s thesis “it’s too late, baby it’s too late…” doesn’t apply to my homeless friend who is getting treatment for alcoholism. He fell down, but he is not out. People who have been there before are helping him help himself.

He was one of the clowns who caused the homeless to be banned for a time from the Levittown Veteran’s Memorial when they were drunk and disorderly. The others involved have continued their destructive behavior.

The homeless don’t have to be that way, just because they are homeless. People have choices.

My friend is starting to fully realize that he can’t make it on his own. I occasionally remind him that there’s no such thing as the Lone Ranger Christian. He is on the right path and has made the right choice. Some of us have been encouraging him, despite his occasional urge to think he’s strong enough to leave the nest, to stay on the right track.

This time of year, with all the crass materialism static from the money grubbers who hijacked Christmas (they are the real Grinch who stole Christmas) to use it as a means to their ends, it’s important to know the real reason for the season.

What’s it’s all about, Alfie, is taking to heart God’s sacrifice for sinners and showing concern, compassion for others, especially the less fortunate. And it’s just not about material things. Some people are down spirited, especially this time of year.

It’s been said that depression is high during the Christmas season. A lot of it has to do with the emptiness of materialism and people feeling like nobody cares. The Christmas hype just doesn’t cut it!

Instead of envy, pettiness and fighting, people need to help and edify one another. At a community meal for the homeless and those in need, someone at my table questioned why the homeless are bickering with one another when they could be working together. I agree.

Greed, which runs rampant this time of year, alienates people and causes problems.

Compare Frank Norris’s McTeaque, about the social problems that resulted from the greed of the Gold Rush era, with John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, the novel about how a homeless family worked with others in their plight. In McTeaque, greed caused contention between individuals, just as does some of today’s homeless people who want all the booze or cigarettes.

Gluttony is a form of greed that causes problems. After I lost my house, I was invited to live rent free in a house in exchange for taking handicapped people to their doctor’s appointments and shopping and doing various chores around the property. One of them incessantly demanded I pick up monster drinks and other small items for her, in addition to weekly shopping.

A showdown came two days after our weekly shopping, which included picking up a few pounds of lunch meat for two people. The glutton wanted me to take them shopping again because they pigged out and finished the lunch meat in two days! I put my foot down and said “no.” There was other food in the house, but they demanded their lunch meat.

The glutton told me her father-in-law, who owns the house, would pick up the lunch meat. Shortly thereafter, after I schlepped many bags of food into the house after weekly shopping, the old man, a retired Brown Shirt with the United Auto Workers Union, told me I wasn’t shopping for his son and daughter-in-law as agreed and demanded I “get out and take your stuff, before I throw it out!” This guy is Jeff Dunham’s Walter on steroids!

In the Steinbeck novel, people worked together as a team in order to survive their ordeal.

When I first started hanging around the homeless about 1 1/2 years ago, they helped one another — with food and shelter, and schooled them where they could go for assistance and were there for moral support.

One free walk in program I’d recommend, which has helped me get rid of my baggage that weighs me down is the 12 steps journey, held Tuesday evenings in Levittown and Saturday nights in Newtown. See schedule on link.

All people matter, including the homeless. When the bad moon rises over the homeless, don’t moon them but encourage them to improve themselves. I’d encourage everyone to dump bad baggage.

We Can Work It Out

Pride leads to conflict.

Like the Okies in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, the homeless in places such as lower Bucks County PA are in a challenging situation. They need to work together and look out for one another, like the characters in Steinbeck’s classic novel.

Like Steinbeck’s characters, people in the homeless community, as one former homeless guy used to say “(we) all have baggage.”

Nonetheless, the homeless need to get along on their journey. People have to realize that their are limits to their own understanding and they need to listen to one another and try to resolve problems through the marketplace of ideas in their community. It’s not about who’s right but about truth and absolute principles that are best for a society.

Absolutes come from God.

Some parties, including myself, interested in creating much needed shelter for the homeless have different ideas about how to go about it. It’s not about the ego of who has the best idea but how the ongoing problem of shelter for the homeless is best resolved. The more ideas tossed into the ring and honestly and civilly discussed the better.

I for one realize that I don’t have all the answers, and seek the wisdom, expertise and ideas of others in addressing problems.

The shelter problem in Bucks County is hard enough to deal with, without the static of vile rumors and gossip, driven by pride. This is counterproductive.

Seek the truth and it will set you free.

The gossip running rampant is that someone who has been going to the community meals is causing some homeless people to be evicted from the woods. The truth is that someone had dragged a camper with expired tags into the area, which precipitated complaints from businesses and neighbors in the area. Consequently, the case was brought to court and the outcome was that people have to leave the area.

This same someone is rumored to be a pedophile. I checked on Megan’s Law, which has photos of offenders as well as names, and I did not find this individual on the list.

Finding a place for the homeless to live is the biggest problem in lower Bucks County.

Infighting is making it harder for the homeless to deal with their problems. And altercations, drunk and disorderly conduct and other problems that become public creates a negative public perception of the homeless– that they are lazy no goods, drunks, druggies, violent, irresponsible miscreants whom judgmental people have written off.

Unfortunately, Bucks County is infested with the group think, liberal world view, like President FDR, who rounded up Japanese Americans like they were cattle and corralled them in internment camps, without a shred of evidence that they were aiding and abetting the enemy, the Empire of Japan.

So when one homeless person acts like a jackass, the liberal establishment blames and punishes the whole homeless community. This stems from a subtle Marxist point of view that believes that everyone in the same situation will behave the same way and, as Joseph Stalin believed, that the average person is a miscreant.

The best solution is not always through external means, like putting up “no loitering” and “no overnight parking” signs, or by moving a bus stop, but to change people from the inside and hold people individually accountable for their behavior.

A friend of mine in the homeless community who has struggled with addictions seems to be coming around. He realizes he has a problem and how it’s affecting people he cares for and wants to do something about it. This is an important step. (There are 12 steps in all).

A former advocate and other friends have tirelessly ministered to,  encouraged and stuck by him.

People need to humble themselves and let God be the Captain of their ship, who will change them from the inside.

“Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”

-Proverbs 13:10