Fox8 goes with me to FM tent city: (Video) “Homeless supplies dwindle as colder weather hits”

Fox8’s Carter Coyle went with me to the Freeman Mill tent city today to talk about the cold weather, the coming winter and how StreetWatch is preparing. She talked to several of my friends who live there and Sean spoke to her on camera. Video below:

From the accompanying article:

Homeless awareness advocates in Greensboro are bracing for a rough winter.

“There’s people living in the woods all over the entire city,” explained Michele Forrest with StreetWatch, a local volunteer organization that collects and distributes supplies for homeless people.

Forrest says just because you can’t always see the homeless population in Greensboro does not mean it isn’t there.

“We know of dozens and dozens of camps, plus there’s two tent cities. But those are just probably a fraction,” said Forest, a fraction of the more than 1,000 homeless people in Guilford County on any given night.

Right now, StreetWatch is dangerously low on supplies.

Forrest says their shelves are usually stocked with food, tents, toiletries and blankets. Right now many of her shelves are empty.

“Having it cold this early in the season does worry me. We’ve had some rule changes in the winter shelters and we just have more people overall. We are expecting to see more people outside this winter,” she added.

The goal of StreetWatch is not only to distribute supplies like tents, tarps and food to homeless people but also build relationships with them.

“Homeless people are just like people who have homes. They want friendship, they want to talk to someone… Sometimes we sit for hours and talk just because someone is having a rough day,” said Forrest.

Forrest and her StreetWatch volunteers also bring people to appointments, court dates and even hospital visits if necessary.

One of Forrest’s friends is Sean Sarver, who lives in one of Greensboro’s tent cities.

“Survival. It’s not living anymore, it’s survival at this point,” said Sarver when asked about the upcoming cold weather.

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Want to help? You can drop off donations for StreetWatch in the collection box in the lobby of the Greensboro Police Department  at 2602 South Elm-Eugene Street. Get more information about StreetWatch, and a list of the items that we need, at this site >>

No shelter for disabled gunshot victim on dialysis

UPDATE, 10/24/12: Great news! Today, my friend is moving to a very nice nursing facility where he will be able to have rehabilitation for the injuries he sustained when he was shot. My understanding is that he can stay there for as long as he needs to. Thank you to all who prayed for him! God answers prayer! :)

After more than a decade of ministering to homeless people, I’m accustomed to difficult situations and heartbreaking stories, but this one stands out. Posted today on our StreetWatch homeless outreach team’s Facebook page [slightly edited for clarity]:

Please pray for a disabled homeless man on dialysis who’s in the hospital — he was a victim of a drive-by shooting — and has nowhere to go upon discharge. He also has multiple other serious health problems. He recently stayed at Greensboro Urban Ministry’s shelter, whose rules do not allow him to return for six months. (We have asked for an exemption because of his circumstances, but it was denied.) He was shot on the street, shortly after his time ended at the shelter.

He needs to be in Greensboro to continue his dialysis. Because of his health problems and safety needs, it would be very dangerous for him to try to sleep outside again. His multiple complicate the situation, and thus far, social workers have not been able to find a place for him to go when he leaves the hospital.

He is eligible for a housing voucher or supportive housing program, but we are unaware of any openings in these programs. He’s had a hard life and he’s in a hard situation. We believe that God makes a way where there’s no way, and I’ve been visiting him and praying that with and for him. Please pray that with us! Thank you, friends.

Homeless friend in critical condition 10 days after being hit by train

My friend Terry was hit by a train on October 12, 2012. Although the news media reported that he had “minor” or “non-life threatening injuries” injuries, that was not the case. Here’s an update I posted yesterday on our StreetWatch homeless outreach team’s Facebook page:

UPDATE ON TERRY: 10 days ago, our friend Terry rushed to help another friend who had stumbled and fallen on railroad tracks while trying to cross them before an approaching train passed by. Terry was able to push her off the tracks, but he couldn’t get out of the way in time to avoid being hit by the train. He sustained substantial injuries. Terry has had two surgeries thus far and remains in an intensive care unit. His condition is critical, but stable at this time.

Please continue to pray with us for Terry’s healing and recovery. (We are trusting Jehovah Rapha — the Lord, Our Healer!) Please also pray for the doctors, nurses and other medical staff who are caring for Terry. (We are grateful for them!) And pray also for the friends whom Terry lives with at the tent city, who are struggling to deal with this very difficult situation. (Another friend from the tent city suffered an aneurysm this summer and was placed in a nursing facility after weeks in an ICU. They were still coping with that grief when Terry was injured. This is a rough time for everyone there.)

A verse for Terry: “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” ~ Zephaniah 3:17