"No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help." ~ Isaiah 58:6-7
Via email from Hayes Holderness of Greensboro Burrito Bikers:
Another great morning [Saturday, 12/18/2010]. We served around 60+ people, but had plenty of food due to a number of new volunteers today. So great to see the spirit spread to others. I even had a couple of new guys bike with me (Larry and Andrew).
Don and Shawn and Sarah are very close to getting out of the woods and into housing as of January 1. Many people have helped donate to gifts for Shawn/Sarah’s boys. Lee showed up just for fellowship – didn’t want to take food because he’s inside and has a job, that he’s very proud of. Shorty said he got a settlement on his car lawsuit and plans to put the money to use to help other homeless. Other guys from Winter Emergency shelters showed up to have coffee but didn’t want to take burritos – the homeless look out for each other in this way. Most are very caring and are so appreciative of any caring extended their way…
We also had Christmas music this morning. I took an old boombox and made up some CD’s, both with traditional hymnals as well as popular cheery Christmas songs. People really liked it. A few were singing amonst themselves.
Finally, for those of you who don’t often visit our wiki page, and might think of joining us this Saturday morning, which is Christmas: We will NOT be at our regular spot. There are some churches getting together to sponsor a seated Christmas breakfast at the Methodist Church (302 W Market St) at 9:00 am Christmas morning. So we will take our burritos there and help serve and enjoy the Christmas spirit. Anyone is welcome, and you don’t need to bring anything. Come for as long or as short as you can stay – they expect the whole service, including breakfast, singing, and some gift giving will take a couple of hours.
We’ll be back at [the sidewalk outside Center City] park on New Year’s Day, at 8:00[am].
Merry Christmas to all.
Note: I deleted a paragraph about a gift a homeless man made as a surprise for someone. I hope to write about that one later, when I know it’s been delivered.
Greensboro’s day center for the homeless is doing good work! Read “September by the Numbers,” from Liz Seymour, Executive Director of Greensboro’s Interactive Resource Center, providing “hope and help for those experiencing homelessness.”
During the month of September the IRC saw 102 new clients, which brings the total number of people served by the IRC since the January 2009 opening to 1,920.
Over the course of the month the IRC had 543 guest sign-ins. While they were there, IRC guests:
saw the nurse 70 times
talked with a case manager 97 times
did 98 loads of laundry
took 52 showers
ate 705 lunches
received 167 referrals for food and clothing
prepared 61 resumes
applied for 396 jobs
By the end of the month:
4 of the people who applied for work had found temporary jobs
4 of the people who applied for work had found part-time jobs
8 of the people who applied for work had found full-time permanent jobs
Total jobs found: 16
28 people received housing counseling. Of those 28 people:
6 found immediate emergency shelter
4 moved into transitional housing
2 went into residential treatment facilities
3 single adults moved into permanent housing
2 families, including 6 children moved into permanent housing
In addition 1,369 volunteer hours were given by individuals to the IRC — 1,034 by community volunteers and 335 by guest volunteers — and lunches were donated on 12 days by churches, organizations and individuals.
I read a lot of stories about homeless people who are “down on their luck” because of losing jobs, especially in this economy. But I do a little checking (learned while doing case management) and often find criminal history that indicates bigger issues (which may well have contributed to the loss of employment.) Homelessness is a complex problem. To really end it, you have to address the root issues.