Helping St. Louis

A Blog About Helping Each Other

Posts Tagged ‘Homelessness’

What’s up with mocking the homeless?

Posted by Schevus on March 25, 2009

I normally do not like to draw attention to bad posts, but this post pushed me over the edge on this topic. I realize this post is intentionally overblown and inflammatory, but I have seen several serious posts along this line recently. When did it become popular to publicly disparage and spout hatred against the homeless?

The big issue lately concerns homeless people having cell phones. Apparently some people view this as the most egregious offense a homeless person can commit. Let us evaluate some realities:

  • Homeless people do not have a home! Therefore, they cannot have a land-line phone. If they have a job, it is often important for them to have a way to be reached and since they cannot have a land-line, a cell phone is the other alternative. If they are seeking a job, it is also critical for potential employers to be able to contact them. This can be done through shelters and other social service agencies, but often employers are wise to this and may be prejudiced not to select a homeless person for a position.
  • Being homeless is dangerous! Violent crime rates are extremely high amongst the homeless population. In addition to this, the health of homeless people is generally poorer than normal. Thus it is important to be able to summon help in the case of a medical or other emergency. Having a cell phone also enables homeless people to stay in touch with social services, making their transition off of the streets easier.
  • Some families will provide a cell phone to a homeless family member in order to be able to stay in contact with them.

As you can see there are very real, practical reasons for a homeless person to have a phone.

I also find the derogatory and stereotypical attacks on homeless people in that post to be absolutely disgusting. This is one of the most vulnerable groups of the population, and includes a large (and growing) number of families and children, not just “hobos, winos and bums.” The homeless need and deserve our help, not disdain, stereotypes, and insults.

Posted in Homeless | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

BBQ and Desert

Posted by Schevus on March 23, 2009

Yesterday I and other members of the Shalom Outreach Society served a dinner for the women at Shalom House. We served lasagna, salad, and garlic bread and everything turned out great. I sat with a couple of the ladies while they were eating and one of the women spoke with me about the normal course of meals they get at the shelter.

Apparently they get plenty of cheap frozen pizza, hot dogs, and, yes, frozen lasagna. If we had known this we would certainly have picked a different meal! The one exception to this poor variety of food seems to be Thursdays when a church group comes in and makes a better meal. The woman expressed to me that what the ladies would really like is some BBQ food – and desert.

I was struck by such a simple request, and I think a BBQ is something I really want to make happen before summer is over. I know that many of the ladies are diabetic, so that is probably why they do not get much by way of desert.

She also shared with me her difficulty in finding employment. She does not have a high school diploma or GED and she told me how at job fairs everyone is talking about resumes. Somehow I do not think that a resume is all that practical for someone who has not graduated high school and whose last job was working at Burger King. Perhaps someone should organize a job fair for lower wage practical jobs? Have any of you heard of such a thing?

Despite serving a meal the women get regularly they were very appreciative and thankful for us being there. It was a great experience to work personally with the clients!

Posted in Shalom Outreach Society | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Housekeeping

Posted by Schevus on March 18, 2009

My apologies for the delayed posting. Life has been hectic as of late – my wife and I just bought a house! I hope to be back to normal posting soon. Here are some miscellaneous tidbits:

– Time is running out to support education with a comment. I must say, I have been pretty disappointed to have zero participants thus far. Take a moment a leave a comment for a good cause!

– I have volunteered to create a website for Tri-BALL-Athon 2009. If anyone is good with graphic design and would be interested in helping out please let me know! It seems like we are always in need of graphic design help and our current resources are overtaxed and unreliable. Anyone with working knowledge of PHP is also welcome to assist.

– We will be serving a lasagna dinner at Shalom House this Saturday as part of our service commitment for the Shalom Outreach Society. If anyone is interested in seeing the shelter or helping out with dinner, leave a comment and I can get you more information.

– I know it is late notice (sorry I just found out today), but there is a job fair currently underway that runs until 2:00 PM today at the St. Ann Community Center. You can find more detailed information here.

I hope all is well with everyone!

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Third Friday Event Pictures

Posted by Schevus on March 1, 2009

The Third Friday event for the Shalom Outreach Society went great! There were dozens of people in attendance watching live glassblowing demonstrations and browsing the glass and art displays. We had the opportunity to share information about Shalom House and the Outreach Society with many people.

Third Friday

The great folks at Third Degree did a live auction for a glass piece as it was being made with the proceeds benefiting Shalom House. The winning bid was $140. I would have had this post up sooner, but I was waiting for the pictures of the finished product. Here is a photo timeline of the piece as it was being made (sorry the quality is not the best):

Auction Piece

Auction Piece
Auction Piece

Auction Piece

Auction Piece

Auction Piece
Finished Product

The Third Friday event was a lot of fun and I recommend it if you are looking at something different to do with a Friday night. There is talk that we may be present at future events as well, so look for us!

Posted in Shalom Outreach Society | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Stories From The Homeless

Posted by Schevus on January 7, 2009

I have found a unique series of video interviews with more than a dozen homeless people. The series is called Invisible People. Watching and listening to the stories of these individuals gives you an inside look at homeless life and all of the problems and issues they face. At the end of many interviews, the interviewer asks the homeless person if they had three wishes what they would wish for. Many of the answers will surprise you!

I have a couple of other tidbits to pass along on this topic. I have also recently found the blog of a 16 year old girl who is chronicling the story of her and her mother being evicted from their apartment and struggling with sudden homelessness. Her blog is Anywhere But Here. Because of her blog, their plight has achieved national news coverage and many people across the country have committed to helping her and her mother. This is a heartening story of the good the online community can do.

Lastly, a fellow wordpress blogger has been sharing the contents of a journal written by another homeless teen found in an abandoned house in Canada. Her blog is Bittersweet Dish. She has a couple of posts stuck to the top of her blog, so you will need to scroll down past those to get to the journal posts.  Some of the contents of the journal are graphic and very emotionally taxing, so fair warning.

Check out these resources for an eye-opening look at homeless life. If you are not moved to aid this cause after doing so, I would be very surprised.

Posted in Homeless | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »