Dear and kind-hearted readers, what is the solution to chronic homelessness in America? Wow, Mother Goose, that’s pretty huge for this early in the morning. Can you tone it down a bit?
Our friend, Lawrence Little, returned to our home on Monday which is the day after Sunday which is the day that we brought Lawrence to church with us. He sat at our kitchen table and drank a large mug of hot chocolate with Husband Goose. (Mother Goose was not present for this meeting as she occasionally works at a part-time job…) Recounting the previous day with our church pastor, Chuck Colegrove, Lawrence said that indeed the pastor did take him into the city to The Safe Haven Foundation, but there is a two-week waiting list to be allowed into their program.
Mother Goose is indeed grateful for all of the help that our church has shown Lawrence in the past eighteen months. Here is an excerpt from my pastor’s email describing just some of the care they have provided to our friend:
We have helped Lawrence on several occasions since first meeting him back in the Fall of 2012. We paid for 1 month of housing while he was seeking a job, paid for bus passes on 4-5 occasions that he secured a job or was about to secure a job….you’re right, helping with money isn’t necessarily the best option….when we’re able to, we help.
I’m hoping that Safe Haven will get him on the right path. He’s had several opportunities in the last year with jobs but can’t seem to hold it down.
Chuck has also offered to write a referral for Lawrence if he needs something like that to speed up the housing process at Safe Haven. Thank you, Chuck, for all you do to bring joy and love to a dark and fearful world.
I may have mentioned that Lawrence does his “rounds” through the city — knocking on the doors of kindly people who have helped him in the past. Husband Goose described him as having a “rolodex of helpers” in his head, and I believe that is an accurate picture of how he survives. One day at a time, one handout at a time, one bit of help from his friends is enough to get him to the next day.
Obviously many people have shown him love and kindness. Many people have directed him to job opportunities and housing opportunities. I am sure that somewhere in this large city he has at least one case manager who has filled out the proper intake forms and has done everything to get him into the system of public care. He has had money in the past — according to his story, he used to have a LOT OF MONEY in the days when he was a street performer doing break dancing on a cardboard mat on Michigan Avenue…
He’s an artist as well.
Lawrence has been prayed for and preyed upon. The mean streets of Chicago can be rough — a stark contrast to the kindness of the people who God puts in his life to care for him in manifold ways every single day.
Is there an answer to homelessness in America?
I don’t know if there is anything else that can be done except for this one thing:
We must not lump all of God’s homeless people into one big category and call it The Homeless Dilemma.
Each and every one of those people at the busy intersections and sitting along the avenues with their cups and their cardboard signs is a real person with a history of good times and hard times. Each and every individual who wanders the streets looking for a way to get somewhere else has a story to tell.
They have souls that require as much nourishment as their physical bodies.
They need a hug and an ear to listen to them — they say they need money, but what they might need more is a short-term connection to someone who might give them hope for another day.
Hope is a survival tool for those who have little else to carry with them.
My friends, do what you can. One person at a time is enough. Give them the time of day, give them a hug, give them a mug of hot chocolate, but whatever you do, give them hope.
Mother Goose thanks you.