Monday, December 21, 2009

I won't be blogging until after Christmas.

There is some really important news (evidence) I gathered about homelessness in Dallas that will prove what I have been saying for many years. I'm still waiting on a few more responses to emails to wrap up this story. Hope everyone has a grateful holiday and thanks for all the responses.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The child

Every now and then you come across a person who just has this internal light inside of them and makes you feel better when just standing in the the same room.
The three people came into the office all bundled up in their layer upon layer of clothes. He had a smile on his face as if there wasn't a care in the world. I introduced myself to the three and was drawn to this person to ask why of all people was he homeless. He told me the story of how his father was abusive and how he, his mother and sister escaped the violence with just a bag of clothing and enough gas to make it to Dallas from Oklahoma. They had tried to get into a shelter the night before but Mother did not have enough documentation to prove the children were hers, so they denied them a place to sleep. Instead they stayed in their paint faded 1985 station wagon and huddled together to survive the freezing cold.
They were looking for work to earn $40 so they wouldn't have to stay another night outside.
Little Moses, being only 8 years-old, said he would help and do anything for his sister and mother, even if it meant begging out on the roadways, so his family would have a safe and warm place to sleep for the night.
I don't know if they ever earned enough money that day to get out of the cold but often I will think of Moses when the nights turn frigid and the light he carried inside and surprisingly, I will be warm.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Truth versus compassion

I know there are those out there who would want me to tell the whole truth about homelessness in Dallas. I cannot because I know that there would be such a fallout, the collateral damage would affect to many good people. I worry about the single mom receptionist providing for her 2 children and how she would be affected. Because as we all know, expose the top of the echelon and the bottom suffers as well.
But there are somethings the general public deserve and need to hear. In 2002 while I was in Americorp, I was assigned to do research on the amount of monies being used to address homelessness in Dallas. Paula (another Americorp assigned to help with the formation of MDHA) assisted. We were given access to information not available to the public. Faith base organizations do not have to report any monies to the government or to the public. 2/3rds of the way through the project, we had reached the 60 million dollar mark. I notified then the chair of the MDHA and it was decided to end the project because of the possible backlash from the community due to the fact millions were being wasted. I have no doubt the number is in the 80 million dollar range today.
$80,000,000/homeless population 5,800 equates to over $13,300 PER INDIVIDUAL.
Are we really ending homelessness or building a mammoth industry on the backs of the suffering?
I give this information to the Dallas community because it is your monies and your charity being abused. It is also your choice whether or not to hold people accountable.
Conclusion: since that study 1/2 billion dollars has pured into ending homelessness and we are still (population wise) at the same place.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Why would anyone care?

Question: Why care about people you don't know? Why care about that neighbor you have never met? Why care about that child you don't know getting an inadequate education due to lack of funding for quality teachers and material? Why care about that dirty, grungy man standing on the street corner asking for money? Why care at all about anything that doesn't directly effect your dinner time meal? A even more important question: Why even try to do anything about it?
The DMN News has done a more than adequate job showing that ending homelessness is economically beneficial for our community. If that neighbor up the street loses their job and has to put his house on the market and than another and another, your value in your house goes into the tank. Having a proper education means a stronger economy for all Americans while having a uneducated population burdens any economy.
If helping other Americans in fact not only benefits you personally economically but also enlightens society, than what's the problem?
Never mind the historical inevitable social unrest that comes when societies stop caring about each other and focus completely on self. Never mind the fact that uncaring societies lose their freedom and fall to Fascist/Communistic forms of rule. Never mind that what we do today decides the type of reality our children will have to be burden with tomorrow.
Today we blame everyone we can point our little finger at for the recession except ourselves.
Helping our fellow Americans helps not only America but ourselves.
So why is America so bent on committing suicide?
Long before any economic and national collapse comes, you can finger one harsh truth; We stopped caring about one another.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fellow Americans

I learned a long time ago in advocacy, that putting yourself out there for others vocally means also putting a target on your back and that is o.k. ( it still hurts but that goes with the territory)
While recently there was a "blog" about me, what really matters is that the issue of homelessness was discussed and regardless, that is the most important part. Any discussion is a good discussion whether it is mean spirited or not. Challenging both our society and political norms means you have to be willing to take a few bullets. Questioning, complaining, promoting is American. Letting people vent their personal views shows the challenges ahead. Human life is a hot topic (as evidence by the number of comments). Yes, I could be quiet as many would perfer or I can take what goes with vocal advocacy and make a differance in maybe one persons' life.

I think I'll chose the latter. Homeless people have thick skin or atleast have learned to deal with many different viewpoints and then move back on to survival.
I thank all for their comments and hope the discussion continues as I have a very good target which people can shoot at if needed. lol

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Man cannot live on bread alone unless it's on the dollar menu

Big Texas cheeseburger, two tacos, double cheeseburger, etc... These are a few of the items which keep our homeless from starving. The dollar menu at the fast food chains are a Godsend for the hungry. Never thought I would be saying that, as I never really cared about fast food after having a child and having multiple battle of wills with him every time we past a McDonald's (He normally won and got his Happy Meal), but under current circumstances I'm the happy person whenever I can walk into one of these chains and order something from the dollar menu for my daily meal. My Big Texas Cheeseburger was as satisfying today as the $100 dinner (Steak & Lobster) at the Palm Restaurant was decade ago when I could afford it.
It's hard and very humbling to look back and see what I took for granted and not really understanding what I should have been thankful for.
As my veteran friend Eric says; he has a box full of medals he earned during his 20 years of service and what good are they doing him today while living in a parking lot. He would better off auctioning them on EBay for the necessities of survival.
That is what being homeless does. It brings you down to the basics of reality. Reality that survival for another day is the best blessing of all and of course the Dollar Menu.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Poverty saves lives

Today was plasma day. Go to any plasma center in Dallas or across our country and you will see the lines of unemployed, under-employed, homeless and poor waiting hours to sell their plasma and receive $25 just to survive another day. But isn't that really the dirty little secret in our nation. The poor have always been victimized in many different ways to benefit the economically advantaged. Homelessness is a 8 billion dollar business. That equates to $4,000 per homeless individual (2 million homeless) for the economy. One would think that $4,000 per person would be used to end homelessness but then what would we do with those who would be unemployed because we ended this National travesty.
Now we say we care but the numbers just don't add up. Over the last ten years according to FBI statistics, homeless Americans are attacked due to their economic situation 10 times more than all the other populations combined who are protected under Hate Crime legislature. (Over 200 homeless attacked or killed) We care, but won't even protect our most vulnerable population with equal justice. No wonder the line of acceptable behavior in America has virtually disappeared. If we turn our backs on saving human life (which ending homelessness achieves) than what does righteousness, moral action and compassion really mean anymore.
It just isn't political advantageous to truly put country first. Nice tag line for a pipe dream, but reality is that kind of political courageous leadership ended after L.B.J. signed the civil rights bill and the democratic party paid dearly for doing what was the right thing to do.
Saving human life looks good on a resume but doesn't pay the mortagage or garnish votes.

Monday, December 7, 2009


The tip of my nose was so cold, it actually hurt. My hands tingled with pain as I poured hot water over them trying to thaw out the frozen veins. Holidays... I don't think so. Depression, cold, clouds and the heartache of happier times. Cheer... you have to be kidding. Survival doesn't lend itself to seasonal celebrations. The best gift during these times is just good ole' warmth when it's freezing outside and the knowledge that there will be some food available tomarrow.
A shower would be nice but that is way down the list of necessities. If your cold, the nose is so clogged, you can't smell yourself anyway. Tis the season to be jolly... not for those Americans without homes. Not for the 2 million children, veterans, domestic violence victims, disabled, etc.
Certainly, I can find things to be grateful and happy for, but they fade away quickly when I can't feel my toes anymore and my stomach is empty.
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." ~ Proverbs 31:8-9 ~
Happy Holidays to all that can afford one.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cold tips

This time of the year is the most dangerous for our citizens without homes. Having survived two winters, (this being my 3rd) I thought it best to give some tips on survival.
A) Protect yourself from the wind and any precipitation. If you built your own shelter or are sleeping outside without a tarp or tent, find a place that blocks the north and southern winds. If you have a tarp/tent- face the sides pointing north and south with the main opening facing eastward and the backside facing west. This will give you the most protection against the wind.
B) Place your shelter on pallets or something else to keep it off the ground. A wet ground will not only ruin your belongings faster but also can be a detriment to keeping your shelter insulated.
C) Try to get some baby powder and multiple pairs of socks. Use the baby powder in your shoes to help keep your feet dry and extra socks to keep your feet warm. Don't wear your shoes when you go to sleep. Better to use layers of socks.
D) Have a large container or cup inside your shelter for bathroom use #1. Nothing worse than getting out of the covers when it's 20 degrees to use the bathroom and letting all the warmth escape from your bedding.
E) Candles can provide warmth in a small shelter and are available in many dumpsters for the taking. (Mostly behind dollar stores) Place these away from any materials which are combustible.
F) If you have a nice winter coat, use it to wrap your feet at night. Your extremities will get colder than most of your other body parts. Protect these parts first and foremost.
G)It takes a minimum of 4 blankets to ward off the cold during a 20 degree night plus your clothing.
H) Insulate your shelter with cardboard (Bottom and sides) and other materials easily found in trash and dumpsters.
I) If you get too cold and have a Post Office near you, go inside to warm up. Most Post Offices are opened 24hrs - 7 days a week so people can get to their mailboxes. Find other 24 hour facilities in your area.
J) Drinking alcohol does not provide warmth to the body but instead intoxication is the number 1 reason most homeless die during the winter time from hypothermia or accidents. Don't leave your shelter if your drinking!
K) Lastly, wear many layers of clothes. Even a t-shirt can help insulate your body against the cold.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Homeless not really new

Recently the media has been talking about the "New homeless". This geographical and economic group aren't new at all. It's just due to the economy, more former middle class citizens are finding the bottom as have many before them. The homeless encompass every type of individual from every type of defined class we have in America. The only thing in common that every homeless person has with another is the plight of suffering and the fight to survive. That's it.
So when we here the term "homeless" in any media report, the wise and the just know there isn't such a person who can fit into the box which has been created by those who live in fear or ignorance.
The irony is, even our dead have a home and are far more respected and given dignity than our living.
New media gotcha phrase...yes.


I'm thankful to have my Van to live in.
I'm thankful for my other homeless friends.
I'm thankful for the nice weather.
I'm thankful for two meals per day.
I'm thankful to live with dignity.
I'm thankful to suffer with grace.
I'm thankful for my Father.
I'm thankful for having hope for the future.
I'm thankful I survived another day.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hope Defined

I walked into an store the other day to look at furniture prices. Not because I could afford anything today, but I knew with my disability on the way, I could have my own home, my own life, my own dignity within the next 60 days. It was a exhilarating feeling like something I really haven't felt in a long time.
I mentioned this only because one of my friends stated that he had been staying homeless in his truck for so long, it doesn't bother him any longer. He had completely accepted the situation and his statement really made me cringe. The reason is simple.
Hope is the greatest aphrodisiac there is for life. On the other side of the coin, hopelessness destroys every aspect life. Health, mental state, nutrition, relationships. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Hopelessness cost the economy, community and self respect. Needless human despair questions the very foundations of religion, governments and humanity.
I traveled that road of hopelessness for a long time.
The human spirit is not capable to suffer without a cause and have any kind of hope for the future. It just isn't possible to do. Every person I have spoken to, I've asked, "Would you rather be sitting on your own couch watching T.V. in your own home right now or rather be homeless?" I can assure you not a single person out of thousands have ever told me that they would rather be homeless and suffering needlessly. I can tell you that a overwhelming majority though have no hope of that happening in their lifetime. In fact, never in life did I ever think I would see people so filled with hopelessness that I would watch individuals wait for their death with the same anticipation as a child waiting for Christmas morning.
To know "hope" defined, one really needs to know hopelessness defined and I wish I had never found out.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Only if I knew

If I knew I was going to get 25% more income being disabled than what I was toiling for in the workplace, I would've had a pacemaker put in 10 years ago.
If I knew life would give me a bowl of cherries with over-sized pits, I would've taken better care of my teeth.
If I knew every vote really counted in Florida but not the other 49 states, I would be living homeless in the Key's right now.
If I knew government bailout monies are given only to corporate people who do a lousy job, I would've finished college to be an A.I.G. Executive.
If I knew homeless people in Dallas don't have the right to have a home (NIMBYism), I would've started a cardboard box business.
If I knew it would be illegal to show compassion by giving food to another human being who was homeless, I would've spent more time doing outreach in Dallas City Hall than out in the streets.
Only if I knew.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I tossed and turned last night. I had forgotten some of the negative impacts on ones health when living without a home. The cramps first started in my feet and than went up to my calf's. I could not find a comfortable position where the pain would go away.
The body loses much of the vitamins and particularly "potassium". Cramps become almost a nightly ritual.
I always thought that one of the best things a person can give to anyone on the streets would be a can of Ensure or some other vitamin fortified beverage. Certainly socks, shoes and other small needs are just as important for their health, but without proper nurishment, the suffering is compounded.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I walked up the stairs with my world in hands. Others were falling into line, stopping at a desk where a man sat searching through peoples belongings. The metal detector was placed next to the desk for all "guest" to walk through before proceeding to the next line. At the next stage we were asked to show proof of I.D. and anything which was confiscated from our belongings, we were given a ticket to get those items when we were asked to leave at 6 AM the next day.
After getting assigned a bed or given a mat to sleep on, all "guest" were required to gather in a large room where we were given a quick lesson as to what the "Cardinal Rules" were.
Don't do this, don't do that, you can only do this at this time and that at this other time. You must do this and you must do that. Follow the "Cardinal Rules" or you will be asked to leave and forfeit your monies paid.
It is my own personal belief shelters are noble and compassionate. They show a humane side of humanity. We should always look out for our vulnerable stray animals.
As far as warehousing Americas' economic refugees, well I have a different opinion based on my experience. One misnomer is that some shelters are free. Free as defined in the dictionary means "without obligation." There isn't a human shelter in America which is free. All require a cost. In the beginning shelters functioned as a temporary place. Today sadly, some individuals have stayed in some of these places so long, they have litterally become institutionalized and could not live any other way. No longer shelters as much as human warehouses.
That is not to say some of those working or running these places are not compassionate or don't have a big heart. It's just saying that due to circumstances beyond their control, shelters have had to adjust and morph into something which today violates many basic human rights.
Freedom is Americas mantra. Freedom is the chourus which every American sings out proudly to the rest of the world. Freedom does not exsist in these human warehouses. No Constitution, no Bill of Rights, no All men are created equal.
While many will say that they don't stay in shelters because of the rules, I have found many are just reluctant to give up their American birthright.
People have asked me why I don't go and stay in a shelter until my benefits start. The answer is that I'm not willing to give up one drop of freedom based strictly on one fact. I don't have a home. Being homeless is not a crime!
I lost my housing, I lost my health and I lost my income. I even lost most of my hair and many of my teeth. But I did not lose my dignity, humanity and my desire to live free. The cost of a shelter is just to high for me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Looking Forward

I've had some really good news lately. First, my S.S.D.I. has been approved and I only need to live on the streets for another 60 - 70 days till my first benefit check arrives. People have been contacting me and making some great offers until that time, but I'm certain I will be living outside of Dallas due to the cost of living.
Friends of mine from the past and organizations have contacted me and we hope something will come from meetings being held in the future that can directly benefit our homeless.
I still believe that not only should advocates have a voice concerning homelessness, but that we (the general public) should be able to hear from our citizens without homes, free from any outside influence or threat of retaliation.
I'm really looking forward to be able to advocate for our people without any strings attached. It's been 3 long years since I've been hog tied. I look forward to attending the City Council meetings and Commissioners meetings again. I look forward to working with other advocates and officially putting together a "Bill of Rights" for individuals without homes.
In the meantime, patience and survive. Much can happen in 60 -70 days.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Straight out of a story

Sometimes I feel like Anne Frank, other times like Huck Finn. Than there are days "One flew over the cuckoos nest", and the next "Catcher in the Rye."
Homelessness was never taught at Gooch Elementary or at T.C. Marsh Junior High. Nor did I learn anything at W.T. White High School about such current day physical, mental and economic devastation. Yes, there was "The grapes of wrath" but wasn't that eons ago. Didn't we put policies into place so something of that nature would never happen again? Families and individuals living in their vehicles, makeshift tents and shelters made of scraps. Isn't this something that happened in America almost 80 years ago? Science has advanced. Medicine has advanced. Economics has advanced. But what about humanity itself?
I wonder if the dark chapter of homelessness in America will ever be something we just read about in a book as oppose to seeing human suffering everyday on our streets?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My dread.

I tossed and turned most of the night. The once beloved holiday season is on the doorsteps and now today all I can feel is dread. Why? I know soon I will start to hear or read one of the most quoted statements when concerning our poor and homeless. "You will always have the poor among you." While this place isn't the proper forum to discuss my theology as to why Jesus recounted what God had stated in the Old Testament, I have to ask, "How many lives must suffer to justify or quantify this statement?" Would one person suffering not be enough? And to what level must one be in? Does a person have to be living under some bridge and getting their daily nourishment out of a dumpster or is it just enough for an elderly person not having enough income to afford both medications and paying their heating bill this winter? Do we need two people in this situation to fulfill the statement? How about 1 million or 1 billion? Is 2.5 billion lives enough as we have today in our world?
When will we reach enough needless human suffering to be enough; so we will no longer use our faith as a justification but instead a reason to change our community and even the world?
I look forward to the day I no longer dread this time of the year.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is there any help? Is there human rights for the less fortunate?

Affordable? U.N. Puts a Questioning Eye on New York’s Housing
By Mike Reicher
Michael Premo
Raquel Rolnik, United Nations special rapporteur, meets New Yorkers at a town hall meeting on Thursday.Everybody knows New York City is an expensive place to live. But the United Nations wants to know if affordable housing is so tough to come by that it actually violates human rights. The United Nations has assigned an official, “a special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing,” to check the city’s affordable housing. The rapporteur, Raquel Rolnik, is to tour the city for the next three days with housing advocates and city officials to “hear the voices of those who are suffering on the ground,” she said.The United Nations Human Rights Council appoints a rapporteur, or independent experts, to investigate human rights conditions around the world. In the case of Ms. Rolnik, a professor of urban planning at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, her “mission” is to tour New York City and six other places in the United States and to report back to the United Nations General Assembly about housing rights violations and advances. After that, “We send off letters to governments to ask, ‘Is this true? What’s going on?’ and to please intervene,” she said.Housing advocates will be taking Ms. Rolnik to the Atlantic Yards site in Brooklyn to see the results of the government’s use of eminent domain to seize property; to the New York City Housing Authority’s Grant Houses in Harlem to see how public housing residents live; and to the Bronx to meet residents whose landlords are in foreclosure.At a town hall meeting last night in Morningside Heights, residents wept and shouted at Ms. Rolnik. They complained about deteriorating public housing, the lack of housing subsidies for AIDS patients, landlord harassment and many other issues, large and small.She told them: “I am representing the right of adequate housing as a human right.”One advocate and resident of public housing, Agnes Rivera, wept after telling Ms. Rolnik that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg “doesn’t care about the poor.” Rob Robinson from Picture the Homeless, a local advocacy group, embraced Ms. Rivera and gazed toward the special rapporteur. Later, Ms. Rolnik hugged a resident herself.“Affordable housing here is not that affordable,” said Ms. Rolnik, who studied urban history as a New York University doctoral student in the 1980s. Her eyes lit up when talking about inclusionary zoning and other city housing policies. New York is unusual, she pointed out, because it has a city-level obligation to ensure that homeless people have shelter. Now it should make affordable housing a priority, she said.Ms. Rolnik was appointed as special rapporteur by the United Nations Human Rights Council in May 2008. This is her first official mission.After her tour of New York City, she will survey the housing situations in Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Washington, a South Dakota Indian reservation, and Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Her report to the General Assembly is planned for March.Across the United States, residents may tell her the same stories as those of New Yorkers — of mortgage scams, too many luxury condos and the stigma associated with public housing.“We have no one to help us,” said Delores Earley, 73, who said her landlord has been trying to push her out of her Harlem rent-stabilized apartment for 20 years. “Somebody has got to know.”

Rain, Rain, Go away.

The moisture creeps into everything. Clothing, shoes, sleeping gear and even into your bones. There is nothing more damaging to us homeless than a cold continuous rain. It saps your hope as you sit minute by minute watching, waiting for the moment it is safe to travel out. Can't watch T.V., surf the Internet, doodle around the house and one can only sleep so much. Rain gives life but takes so much away when your homeless. Cold rain brings a whole new meaning to "cabin fever". Nothing much to do but sit in your desperation and think about how you got to this point. Wonder why and what great sin against humanity did you commit to be convicted and sentenced to a life of despair. To a life in which you are no longer branded as a person, but instead you are now defined as "homeless", which according to perception, unworthy to be treated with dignity. Unworthy to be a neighbor. Unworthy to sit in any pew. Unworthy to be seen.
Go away rain. You take away as much as you give when your homeless.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Time to move once again

The sharp banging on the windshield happened at 2:30 AM this morning. I knew in the back of my mind what was to come as I crawled out of my warm sleeping bag. Throwing on some extra clothes to ward off the chill, I peered through the window and sure enough it was the police.
Opening the door, a manager from the Flying J Truck Stop notified me that; "Homesteading was not allowed. We must ask you to leave now."
I am thankful for the short time there. Truck stops offer conveniences such as showers. This is the 3rd move so far. A game of cat and mouse. With the holiday seasons around the corner, typically the hunt for us immorally flawed human beings begin. It is the season of the "police sweeps". You may wonder why the Grinch always comes to visit the least fortunate at this time every year, but it's easy to understand when homelessness around the country gets most of its' media attention during the holiday seasons. Hide the homeless, drive them out, lock them up, whatever it takes to make the City look good before the publics' eye. That is a City Manager mandate!
I don't blame the officers, although a few enjoy bullying the homeless around. Most though are truly remarkable people following unremarkable orders.
Out on the streets, moving and moving again is the norm. For me its easier this time around. Start the van and go. I'll find a new place as always, hopefully away from the eyes which seek to track and hunt me down for the sake of a City's reputation.
As for my friends, I must warn them of what is coming. The Grinch has come back to Dallas.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good day to see the silver lining

Today is the start of a new beginning.
Press release:
Yesterday the United Nations released a media advisory about the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing’s First Mission to the U.S. The Special Rapporteur, Ms. Raquel Rolnik, arrives in the U.S. tomorrow.
“I will collect first-hand information on the status of realization of the right to adequate housing in the US, with particular emphasis on social housing, the foreclosure crisis and homelessness,” said Ms Rolnik. “The United States has been implementing a variety of programs and policies towards providing adequate housing for everyone. I want to look at their functioning and impact from a human rights perspective.”
You can visit and blog at
It is the first time that I know of, that an outside entity will get a birds-eye view of what is happening with housing and homelessness in the U.S.
Not that I have faith that much will be made of this moment, except that maybe there will be a ground-roots effect across the nation. It is only this way I believe that social change will come and address the anguish of poverty.
One thing I can say about living in my van; while it might not be adequate housing, it does allow me to keep my self dignity and liberty. It allows me to act human as oppose to being treated as something less.
Today is a good day regardless, because there is a chance of a silver lining.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The clock moves at a snails pace when your homeless. The one thing to look forward too, is the time to sleep away the reality of this life.
I have been homeless on and off since 1992. Always fighting the battle of Major Depressive disorder and crohn's disease. I like food but hate to eat. Ironic but very common with those who live with crohns. I don't know what's worse, the chronic diarrhea, bleeding, abdominal pains or vomiting. I did my best to hide all these effects from my employers with great success, but eventually the wear and tear overcomes you. In June of last year I had 18" of intestine removed due to blockage. Quality of life certainly did not improve.
It's hell being homeless and healthy. There are no words to describe being homeless and sick.
I can certainly understand why people self-medicate and try to wash away the physical and mental pains. I'm blessed that I would rather deal with it than to seek short term repreive.
Nights are becoming harder and the situation is settleing in. The battle of hope is on the horizon.
Today is the 3 month anniversary of my Disability appilcation. Only 19 more months to go.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Not just another Sunday

All day long I had one thing going through my mind. It was some years back when a gentleman came up to me at a holiday party and asked me if I thought he had done enough to go to heaven.
The man, a friend of my father, was given the bad news of cancer. His time was limited. He had gone to church faithfully, made a lot of money and took care of his family, but the fear of the future weighed heavily on him. It was the same fear I had seen from one of my homeless friends. Roy Percer was a Vietnam Veteran and somewhere along the road became a fixture in the homeless population in N.E. Dallas. The first time I saw Roy, he was sitting down in the medium at Lovers and Greenville Ave. Wrapped in a blanket and barefooted, he chumped down on a hotdog someone had purchased for him. Later in the day it would be chased down with some cheap Cisco wine.
About 2 months before he passed, Roy was given a Bible. There were many nights we sat up and discussed all that it contained. He excepted Jesus before he died. He also had the exact same fear of the future as the other man. The exact same look on his face.
On the brink of the holidays, before the "feel good stories" are ran in the media, I am reminded what Jesus told his disciples when they were whinning about who would be first in heaven and what their position would be. The first would be last and the last would be first. To me personally, this moment is in my top three.
When Jesus was crucified, He fulfilled this statement. Not a disciple, not a family member, best friend, rich man, religious person or even king but a convicted thief was the first to spend a day in paradise with Jesus. A person condenmed by society. The last person anyone would've chosen.
While mainstream society might criminalize and disdain the homeless, it is most likely many of them will stand in front of the line when the time comes. Don't be surprised.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Cycle

Michael showed up at our site yesterday. We call him the "hillbilly Santa Claus" because he hardly ever wears shoes and looks alot like a mall Santa. He and his brother had been staying in a trailer the last 3 months but are back on the streets again. I spoke with Eric (20 year vet) and he'll be back to our site on Monday after a short visit to his family.
This is the cycle of homelessness that is only broken when income/support is greater than the cost of living. According to all reports, personal income has fallen for the first time in 18 years. Also, Seniors Citizens will not get a cost of living raise from the S.S.A. for the first time in 35 years. Meanwhile, the Fair Market Value for renters ($600 for a 1 bedroom apartment) has virtually remained the same.
Having any chance to end homelessness, Government must close the front door to homelessness while agencies can open the backdoor helping individuals out of homelessness. If our President calls us to National Volunteer Service, which I strongly believe in and have served in Americorp myself, than Government should to be held accountable to live up to its responsibilities. If the sanctity of human life does not guide government policy and process, than democracy and freedom is in jeopardy for all.
The death rate for our homeless stands at .008% yearly. Dallas County, this amounts to an average of 46 dead every year. In the U.S., reguardless of government claims, the amount is 20,000 deaths yearly, while homeless.
Death toll for this year stands at: 15,890

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cloudy with some sunshine ahead

First I wish to thank everyone for their overwhelming and generous response.
I was up in Boston some years ago for a conferance on homelessness. A homeless gentleman from New York came up to me and said something which struck a chord with me. He stated that he wasn't very intelligent, but that he did have a PHD in streetology.
Today, I believe I can make the same statement and certainly with experience can survive the inhumanity of homelessness better than most. That being said, I only ask for your prayers that I am given the courage to live homeless in the manner as my blog title suggest. That I'm given the courage to face status qou and challenge the inhumanity of homelessness. That suffering will not be in vain and that our Government will recognize that just because a person becomes disabled in America, that this is not a cause for social injustice and to be thrown out into streets, but instead an opportunity to excercise a moral commitment to assist and even protect the less fortunate and vulnerable.
Today over 722,000 people are either homeless or are facing homelessness for one reason and one reason only. These people became disabled.
Today was a cloudy day. Normally I would have been paid $32 to sit and drive cars for 2 hours but unfortunately it seems the Day Labor company is having some financial programs. Hopefully the $32 will be available tomarrow. For the last month I have learn to budget and survive on $64 per week. This takes care of my food, gas for my Van, cell phone and so on.
Homelessness always seems to have far more cloudy days than those filled with sunshine. It wears on a person hope and faith. Still, it is a profound realization for most that survival while homeless is far more dependent on God, than self. No door to lock, alarm to set, no refrig to get that midnight snack, no dreams. Just survive for the moment and hope maybe you will be able to get to the next moment. That is homeless daily grind.
I have been able to get into a social network with some other homeless. Eric is a 20 year veteran and served in both Gulf wars and in Afganistan. Then there is Steve, a former truck driver and today is trying to survive on his unemployment. More about them and others in my next blog.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To live with dignity and suffer with grace

It's been a while since I was homeless and after having a pace-maker implanted on July 2 along with the mirad of other medical issues (over $300,000 in med bills since 6/08) well, here I am again but this time going through a battle to get my Social Security Disability benefits.
You see, according to the Social Security Administration, over 722,000 individuals are in the appeal process after having been denied during the application process. The application process takes upwards to 6 months and than the appeal process again according to the Social Security Administration takes an average of 491 days thereafter. In otherwords, individuals who are unfortunate to suffer a disability have a 85% chance of being denied the first time around and after hiring a lawyer for the appeal process must wait a total of 22 months to receive benefits.
I don't know of many people with 22 months of savings to keep their housing and since the S.S.A. warns you not to work during the process, I now understand why there are over 300,000 disabled (chronic homeless) Americans without homes and are inhumanely degraded down to live on the streets of America.
After years of research and advocating, it never dawned on me that the root cause of "chronic homelessness" can be directly tied to the greatest socialistic program in our nation. A program designed to help both retirees and the least fortunate among us.
I am blessed this time around as I have a vehicle to live in. I am also able to get food and have not used any of my fellow Americans tax-dollars getting services while I wait. I am certain as my health continues to decline that the latter will change. I haven't completely lost my sense of security as I did the first time but a profound lost stirs everyday in my spirit. That is the opportunity to live with dignity and to suffer with grace. Homelessness does not afford either.