Friday, February 4, 2011

Homelessness can be fiXed......

Homelessness is the condition and social category of people without a regular house or dwelling because they cannot afford, or are otherwise unable to maintain regular, safe, and adequate housing, or lack "fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.

The term homelessness may also include people whose primary night-time residence is in a homeless shelter, in an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized, or in a public or private place not designed for use as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

In CA, there is 159,732 homeless people across the state. (based on 2007 census).  
In  TN, there is 8,700 to 11,000 homeless people across the state.(based on 2009 census).

82,000 people are homeless on any given night in Los Angeles.

At my work "PATH"'s goal is to end the homelessness. 

PATH Mission: “To break the cycle of homelessness by empowering people with the tools for self-sufficiency” 

PATH Approach:  To help homeless individuals and families find work, save money, secure housing, and empower their lives.

PATH’s strategic approaches to ending homelessness are resulting in successful outcomes and the creation of model programs that have been replicated in many other communities. PATH proven track record of getting individuals off of the streets is one of the many reasons why one former PATH client referred to PATH as “the prime-rib of supportive services.” By providing homeless and low-income individuals with the full range of resources they need to achieve self-sufficiency, PATH is working toward the ultimate goal of eliminating homelessness throughout Los Angeles and America.

Each year PATH serve approximately 4,000 homeless individuals and families, providing them with access to the housing and supportive services they need to break the cycle of homelessness and achieve self-sufficiency.  In the past year, the PATH Mall has achieved the following successes:


- Provided 13,047 case management and referral services to 3,111 unduplicated clients through the PATH Mall Access Center, linking homeless individuals to the supportive services they need to overcome their barriers to self-sufficiency

- Provided 23,843 basic services, including showers, lunches, and clothing

- Through the PATH Finders Job Center in the PATH Mall, PATH provided academic support, job training, and employment assistance services to 410 individuals, 101 of whom secured full-time, living wage employment. 

- Improved the housing stability of the homeless, as measured by providing referrals to emergency, transitional, and permanent housing to 958 individuals

- Improved the health of the homeless as measured by providing 3,099 service visits to 1,260 homeless adults and children through the JWCH Institute Medical Clinic in the PATH Mall

- Helped the homeless cope with mental illness, as measured by 1,400 individuals who received mental health care services through Gateways Hospital in the PATH Mall

Pretty amazing.......   


When I first arrived at the army shelter in Glendale with Mark, Christina, and Alayna there was a line from the end of the street to the doors of the shelter. We walked around and talked to folks in line. A man who work for the shelter yelled and said " I am sorry but we have no blankets for tonight. We have pillows and sheets. No blankets. Again I am sorry. If you come tomorrow night, there will be blankets."  Some of the people seem to be disappointed by the news but others just shook the chip off their shoulder knowing they going to be in shelter tonight. A young man from Michigan walked up to me, asking me about my cohear implants.  I answered his questions and we ended up having a discussion on how technology helping people then I asked "What brought you here?" He said" I wanted to get away from Michigan and start new life here."  Did you have a job when you first came here? I asked.   He said I was looking for one but couldn't find the job. I ran out of money. So here I am but I am still looking for jobs.  He asked for a sweatshirt to me and Mark.  Later that night, brand new sweatshirt showed up for the Michigan boy and tons of blankets. Where did those come from?? Mark had connections. He called few places and delivered to help these people.   Mark is the founder of Invisible People. He experienced being homeless and turned his life around and now he is a top representative role model to speak on homeliness to people. He have been across the US to spread the word on homeliness.  Check out his blog 

Later on that night, I was sitting on a army bed cot listening to a man who was in his mid 60s. He worked for construction for 37 years. He lost his home after he got laid off.  Not enough money to retire. He stayed at friend's apartment for few months but he knew it was time to go.  No job. No money.  "Its hard to get accepted for a job at his age and a type of work he does" He said.  I have no computer skills, if I had that, I will be ok finding a job. Then he just smile and then said "I stay here tonight and be hopeful for tomorrow."

A man came and sat in front of me as he ate his dinner food. We both did our quick hi and names.  Then he said "I am here now and can get some rest tonight." I replied "Yes sir."  He just kept on eating as he stare at me like he is waiting on me to ask him something. "How was your day today" I asked.   "Well its the first day." he said.   I was puzzle of what he meant by that. Then he said "I am drug addict"  I stopped the last time that I did it.  I said good. Then he said "I don't know how long that will last. I have been unsuccessful of staying away from it. All the homeless shelters I try to get into, have been hard on drug addicts. They don't allowed me to stay the night, I have to stay clean to come in the shelter. I had different type jobs in the past but the choices got me here now. So its the first day. 

That night after listening to their stories. I gave them encouragement, suggestions and information on Path's Glendale Achieve shelter in Glendale. Glendale Achieve shelter help you find jobs, teach free classes from computer skills to art, a place to help you start off better after you finished Glendale's program. Most of the homeless I talked to, said they will check into it, some just ignore it.  There is nothing I can do but just let them know the choices are available.  

About  a week ago we just did a homeless count in certain part of LA. This homeless count program asked for volunteers to do the count for 3 nights from 8pm to 1am. The staff split up the volunteers in teams and go to certain area that they were asked to go to, to count. There was police and Path outreach staff involved in this program and offer assistance to the volunteers.  They haven't gathered the total count yet. The only places volunteers didn't count was in Glendale and Long Beach.

Hebrews 13:2 (King James Version)

 2Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

What this mean is do not forget to show hospitality to strangers and some people have shown hospitality to others without knowing it.  Jesus wants us to treat others like our own brother or sisters. Its hard for me to leave the shelter after I listened to their stories and want to do more. But I can't  The best thing we can do is listen and lift their spirit up.  Let them know that you are noticing them.  Help them feel not invisible as they have been walked by so many people ignoring them. We are all the same in Christ. 

People (YOU) need to know that the homeliness people out in the street that could be dirty, sick, or whatever come to your mind when you first see them. I don't see that. I see the people in the street  that can get chances to start over.  God give us chances to ask forgiveness..... Why don't we start offering and noticing the people out in the street. We need to let them know there is places to help them out. Short or long term housing. Nobody deserves to stay out in the streets, alleys, abandon cars, or trees.   PATH is here to not only help the homeliness but to spread the word of this problem and solve the problem by ending the homeliness.   Nobody chose to be homeless... Its just happened to people.  Its stinks. But it can be fix.  God got a plan and he had and will guide me as I continue to reach out to our brothers and sisters.   

Please pray for my housemates and I as we started a new schedule at community house with kids.  Pray for the kids to become understanding of the new schedule.  Pray that the new volunteers and neighbors to keep connecting with us and the community house as we develop stronger friendships with neighbors and kids.  Please pray for the people and the government in Egypt that violence or ignoring the suggestions is not the answer to end their problem. Pray for my family, Matt's family, and my housemates's families.   

God bless!

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