In my last blog, I wrote about building in front of the Bucks County Government Center at the edge of New Falls Road in Levittown, PA. One project actually started construction, on the side of the Levittown-Fairless Hills Rescue Squad towards the Bucks County Technical School.
A project to build affordable housing on the opposite side of the rescue squad, between the squad and the district justice building, is in the works, meeting resistance. The rescue squad owns the property.
Yesterday I had good conversations at the Bucks County Mutual Aid event held in the parking lot of the government center. Bucks County Mutual Aid is a grass-roots, volunteer organization where private citizens make donations to give clothing, food and water to needy people. The volunteers have the gatherings once a month.
The event was not just a matter of giving people things, but a place where people can discuss any matters they wish. It was informal; no programming, spontaneous. I discussed the reasons for homelessness, who the homeless are, obstacles, and possible solutions. Included in my talks with people was the affordable homeless project.
One thing I brought out was that in some cases, individual homeless people create obstacles. People outside the community become prejudice based on the actions of some individuals, which is wrongheaded thinking! One thing I agreed on with the Bucks County Mutual Aid leaders is the role of community, neighbor helping neighbor, and getting to know the homeless as individuals. As the slogan, coined by some homeless people, goes: “Don’t talk about us; talk with us.”
I learned about the Bucks Mutual Aid event though a friend, who is one of the real-life characters in my book, which provides a realistic look at the homeless, based on my years of hanging with the homeless in Bucks County: “There Are Homeless in Bucks County; A Journey With The Homeless.” My friend gave copies of my book to people associated with Bucks Mutual Aid. At last month’s event, he told people there that the author may be there. I didn’t make it last time but I was part of the group yesterday.
In my book, I offer constructive criticism and try to speak the truth in love. Both the homeless and the establishment need to change some of their ways. At the gathering, I was reminded of an obstacle to escaping homelessness: Smoking. There were many chain-smoking fiends there, who sometimes smoked in close quarters to non-smokers. One person at the event smoked while getting food at the table!
The homeless should be given an opportunity to work their way out of homelessness. It takes both the community and the individual homeless to have the right attitude and do the right thing.
These are some of the things I address in the book: https://www.amazon.com/There-Are-Homeless-Buck-County/dp/172865209X/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=there%20are%20homeless%20in%20bucks%20county&qid=1555953133&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull&fbclid=IwAR3rVqO3lBAN-7f-EyYXkEWjQhEr_reZi1CHsXICDyQtHGIgxX92Dn4Dp4E
This blog site was originally a result of a failed, nascent non-profit to provide housing for the homeless a friend and I started. We couldn’t get it off the ground. We found that those who had more resources than we had couldn’t create homeless housing either. Proposed projects were stonewalled. Realizing the main problem was prejudice against the homeless, we started the blogs to try to change the hearts and minds of the community, somewhat like Dr. Martin Luther King’s campaign.
We shall overcome!