Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Homless Dilemma

Life can be unpredictable in many ways.  This week I have been praying that God would lead me to do the right thing.  I listened carefully all week long, but I did not hear a voice tell me what to do, no shooting star with a message appeared, but my gut kept leading me back to Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

I had found myself in a dilemma, a situation in which a difficult choice had to be made between two or more alternatives.  The dilemma: My son knows a young lady who has no family support, was recently laid off, lost her vehicle, and was evicted with a toddler.  The choice, do nothing, let her find her own way, try to help her maneuver through the homeless system or open our home to her till she can find her way.  

The Big Man and I several years ago opened our home to a young man, who was in a similar situation.  That young man turned out to be an awesome man.  He lived with us for several years and we have grown to call him our son.  So, do we open our home again for this young mother? The answer is yes. 

I can't imagine not having someone, anyone to fall back on when life gets messy.  I can't imagine how scary it must be to not know where you are going to sleep, how you are going to find a job or pay a babysitter. 

Our community has resources to assist when families find themselves in a messy life situation.  I tried several times last week to help this young mother access those resources, let me tell, accessing help is not as easy as it sounds. 

Here are some rules I learned this week:
To access government housing assistance be prepared to wait on a list for housing, it could be 12 to 24 months.

To access rapid housing, a grant program designed to keep people out of homeless shelters you must have a photo ID, an eviction noticed or be homeless (aka meaning you are already living on the street) and meet with the representative on their schedule (not when you have a ride, on your lunch break or after work).
To rent an apartment and some houses you must have references and a decent credit score.
To access food stamps you must have an address and utility bills.
To store what little furniture you have, after selling things to pay the rent and utilities, you must have cash and a vehicle to move your belongings.
I also learned the system sucks!  I have multiple college degrees and I was overwhelmed and frustrated trying to assist this young lady get help.  The system certainly isn't about giving hope, it is much more about taking hope from the homeless.

My family is blessed, the Lord works in mysterious ways, I never dreamed as a single mother of three to some day have a family of five, a man to love me unconditionally, the career of my dreams and the ability to make a difference in my community.

So for now, we have added a sweet young lady and her precious child to our clan. My promise to her is to help her become an independent strong young woman that will someday pay forward the blessings she receives.
I challenge you to look at the homeless in your community, not to judge them, but with open hearts.
Peace Be With You

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