Archive for the ‘Homelessness’ Category


03 Jul

Combating homelessness requires a two-pronged approach. Often immediate housing is needed and rescue missions like the Findlay City Mission, who I am currently working with, provide overnight housing for those needing shelter. However, overnight housing alone is not adequate. Rescue missions provide case managers to supervise those at the shelter and help them develop plans to get back into stable housing. The missions also provide classes in budgeting, cooking, finding employment, and other helpful classes to help residents develop the skills needed to move from homelessness to stable living. Many homeless come with a sense of hopelessness with no thought of the future they feel they can never attain. Combating homelessness requires a slow process of helping them succeed in small things that instill confidence and give them incentive to tackle greater challenges. Funds for most missions are tight and they rely on large numbers of volunteers to assist staff in ministering to the homeless.



23 Apr

The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued new guidelines for subsidized housing that will prevent illegal immigrants from using subsidized housing. While current rules prevent illegal immigrants from getting housing subsidies, it allows legal immigrants to house illegal immigrants under their subsidy which allows thousands of illegal immigrants to live in subsidized housing. Since housing subsidies increase with the increased size of the housing unit and the unit size is based on the number of occupants, not on the number of legal occupants, a great deal of taxpayer money is going to house illegal immigrants. Subsidized housing currently has a huge backlog of cases because few rental owners will accept rent subsidies. As a result, HUD is only able to take applications a couple days a year which means some families wait years to get on the waiting list. Once they get on the waiting list, it takes a year or more to get housing. This leaves many homeless for years because they can not afford housing on their own. It is not fair to thousands of American citizens to be homeless because housing subsidies are being used to house illegal immigrants who aren’t even supposed to be in the U.S. in the first place. The new rules would force those receiving federal subsidies to restrict residents to those who are here legally or face eviction themselves. It is shameful that the Obama administration not only allowed illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. but to occupy housing intended to house American citizens at taxpayer expense.



10 Aug

Welfare reform limited the number of years women could be on welfare, which cut the cost of welfare but tossed the women out at the end to rely on their own resources. Many had no experience and could get only part-time low-paying jobs, if any. Most of those able to find work are only one step away from homelessness. The slightest illness or job loss quickly adds them to the rolls of the homeless. While subsidized housing has helped some, the units available are way too few. In addition, it added a large number of single men who are divorced or have left a string of girlfriends with illegitimate children to the list of drug addicts and alcoholics. Such men choose to be homeless because their income would be siphoned off for child support if they were to get a stable job or address. The current economic crisis has also added large numbers of stable families to the list of homeless due to loss of employment.



04 Aug

Many people think of the homeless as chronic drunks and bag ladies drifting about but many of the homeless are not chronic homeless. Many find themselves suddenly homeless and need help to recover. There are many people who make barely enough to handle day to day expenses and when the car breaks down, it may drain money needed for rent or a severe illness or loss of job may cause them to be off work for a prolonged time. As a result, they cannot pay the rent and are evicted. Others may find that the landlord has sold their apartment and the new landlord evicts them so he can remodel the apartment. They often have no reserves to handle the sudden expense of car repairs or medical expenses and have no funds to cover the rent and utility deposits needed to move into a new place.  I am reminded of one lady who was referred to me for help. She had lost her apartment and though she found another, it would be a couple weeks before the current occupants moved out and then it had to be cleaned so it would be several weeks before she could move in. She had no relatives who could help so she had to move into a motel. However, the cost of a motel is far more expensive than rent and her money soon ran out, leaving her no choice but to turn to the Findlay City Mission to stay until the apartment became available. Once the apartment was available, they asked me for help finding someone to help her move in. 



26 Jul

Many of those I found on Skid Row were elderly men who could no longer work but got no pension and little Social Security, if any. Some were the familiar “bag ladies”, widows who received little pension from their husbands, if any. One was a former businessman who told us drink had destroyed his job, his family, and eventually his life. Outside Skid Row, slums consisted of Blacks who inhabited run down inner city houses and apartments while poor Whites often lived in areas surrounding former industrial plants in industrial slums, decaying remnants of housing for the plant’s former workers. In rural areas, the working poor, like my family, often lived in small trailers in the trailer camps, hidden away in rural areas or on the edge of town. Fathers were often out searching for jobs and when word came that someone was hiring, those not working would hitch their trailer to their car or truck and head for where the jobs were. Migrant families, consisting of Blacks, poor Whites, and Hispanics who followed the planting of crops north in the Spring and worked their way back South following the harvest in the Fall.



06 Jul

Many think of the homeless the way I found them in the early 1960’s. My church sent several of us teens to Detroit’s Skid Row to see the effect of alcoholism first hand. It was a bright, sunny day, yet as we walked the street, it seemed like a darkness hung over everything. There were only three kinds of buildings, bars, pawn shops, and abandoned buildings, their windows busted out and their floors littered with broken glass and beer bottles indicating that the homeless often sought shelter there from the rain and the cold. Some people wandered aimlessly while others slept, curled up in doorways and alleys. A scattering of patrons wandered in and out of the bars, catching a few drinks with friends before heading elsewhere. As we neared the end of the street, we found a large old building, a bright Salvation Army shield hung over the door. Inside we were met by a small gray haired lady, her bright blue officer’s uniform a welcome sight to those we had seen. She led us to the chapel where she led us in a couple songs including the Army’s favorite which begins, “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, snatch them in pity from sin and the grave”.