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All post and stories are the sole property of Velvet Over Steel aka Coreen Trost. I write and create post in order to help others, so share as you want. I just ask that you link back or give VOS credit. Some of the stories are going into a book in progress. Thank You ALL.. for your support and help!!
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." ~ John Quincy Adams

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I saw homelessness up close today

Over the years I've seen many homeless people and traveling souls at a popular intersection near the Interstate. They usually have signs explaining that they're traveling, homeless with no money and hungry. Mostly hungry!

It is always very sad to see and I have tried to help many times by getting bags of fast food from a nearby McDonalds. I want to do more, but I know I have to be very careful.

That is why I think few people direct the homeless to the help they need, let alone even look at them directly. Avoiding eye contact at all cost as they drive by.

No one chooses to be homeless. We have no idea what they have been through to become that way. Not everyone has family who can or is willing to help them. Many of the homeless have suffered horrific abuse and many suffer from some form of mental illness.

Many individuals with mental illness have been forced out on the streets when their 'homes' have closed. This is a continuing problem as more and more mental health facilities close due to lack of funding and budget cuts, adding to homelessness.

Earlier last week I saw a couple asking for food at that popular intersection, with a sign saying that were traveling, trying to get to family. They had 2 dogs with them and someone had already given them bags of McDonald's food. They were smiling inspite of have nothing but a couple of back packs and the layers of clothes they wore. It has been extremely cold here this winter and continues to be, especially at night.

Today I saw just the lady this time and only one of the dogs outside the near where I saw them 9 days ago. Sitting on the concrete outside a Walmart, leaning on the brick wall. She looked least I hoped so when I saw her. My heart sank when I saw her dog licking her and she didn't respond. She was filthy dirty, with her pants now shredded from the knees down and covered in mud. Not how I remembered her clothes looking a week earlier. I would have noticed that.

It was incredibly heartbreaking as I drove by after getting gas. As I sat at the stop sign, I could see lots of people walking by her and no one kept their eyes on her for more than a second and no one checked to see if she was alright. No one! I felt so sick inside!

I didn't know what to do and couldn't understand why no one was helping her; especially since there is a Police Satellite station at that same Walmart. Where was her husband or boyfriend? What happened to her in those 9 days when their sign had said they were traveling?  Why was she homeless in the first place.

I wanted to go back but I knew she needed more help than just a bag of McDonald's food. So I made some phone calls to some organizations and churches that I knew helped the homeless. I found someone who was going to try and get her to a shelter. I was relieved, but just a little. I cried all the way back to work this afternoon and have been praying for her, for them, ever since.

I saw homelessness up close today and I can't get that picture out of my head. Maybe that's because I need to do something. But what? I have my own special needs son and myself to take care of. Still, I feel very lucky tonight and even a little guilty for the simple life we have. I want to do something to help. In the mean time, please pray for this couple and all the homeless souls out there tonight.

For more information on homelessness and ways to help, visit Pictures the  Thank you!
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  1. This seems to be a topic on a lot of blogs right now. Running with Letters just had a wonderful post on how to help the homeless. How very kind of you to take the time to help.

  2. Thanks, Holly! I will check out hers out right now.

  3. Your heart is big. I feel this way when I see homeless people too. They are usually at an exit ramp off the freeway which is a hard place to help them. I will keep extra water bottles in my car to hand as I go by. I don't do money because I've seen the result of that.
    I think making the call was a great step in the right direction. I agree with you, any one of us could be them at any given time depending on the circumstances. When I was attending a small church we had a homeless man show up several times. I've sat next to him and our church accepted him in. Eventually he was willing to take help and he is now working and also married a few years ago to a homeless woman he meet. It is wonderful to hear his story today. You helped more than most.

  4. That is such a great story about the homeless man and woman!! My church back home used to leave the kitchen unlocked for those traveling (it was in a rural area) and even had a number they could call if they needed anything. The belief by most was that it wasn't 'our' house, it was 'God's' house. So true!! I don't think now a days they can still leave the church unlocked... which is so unfortunate!

  5. Wow, that was a very thought-provoking post and even though it oozed sadness, I thoroughly enjoyed it. You are a true saint.

    I also have a special need child, Amy. She's 10 years old and was diagnosed with autism when she was 3. I'm glad to have found you.

    CJ xx

  6. Very good post. My son isn't autistic but he is special needs. It's good to find other moms out there for support. I hope you have a Happy Friday Hope you will follow me back at

    Have a great weekend.

  7. Following you back! Thanks so much for stopping by

    Have a great weekend! :)

  8. Visiting from FF!!
    I am now following!
    Hope you're having a great Friday!:)

  9. This is so very sad. So many people are just one pay check from being homeless and it is getting worse. Three of six people have lost their jobs in my family :o(

  10. Following you from Follow Friday!


  11. SO sad...and so hard to see. *hugz* for that lady.

    Stopping by from FF....a new follower! Would be great to have a visit from you!

  12. Hi there!

    I found you through "Friday Follow" and am now following your blog through Google Friend Connect! :)

    I am looking forward to reading more of your posts. Come on over and visit us when you get a free moment. <3

  13. It IS so hard to know how to help homeless people when you meet them. Where we used to live for a short time we got to help hand out clothes on Sundays and at least half of the people I met seemed to have some sort of mental illness. The others either lost their homes due to medical/financial crisis and a large majority of the remaining seemed to be fighting some sort of addiction or high when they would come for the Sunday service. It was heartbreaking.

    I remember getting to meet a lady and she and I spending lots of time to find the right sized clothes for her. She seemed to have some sort of mental illness; at the end of the service, she had disappeared back into downtown and the bag of clothes were abandoned. It was so hard to see happen and realize here is a woman that needs help mentally but has no one and no home. ugh. Prayer is definitely something I rely on especially in situations like this where I know I'm always helpless but this situation reminds me all the more that God is in control and can help these men and women so much better than I ever could have thought of.

  14. I can see/read that you use your blog to explore meaningful issues. Good on you. I found you on Friday Follow. Come visit me too.

    I hate the feeling of helplessness when it seems impossible to fix things we run into like this. Our town is small, but homelessness is real here too.

    Several of the churches here co-operate in a programme called "Out of the Cold". People on the street tell each other about it and it is packed out, especially when the weather is bad.

    There are lots of ways for individuals to help: cooking, visiting (just sitting with someone and talking), serving meals, washing bedding, washing dishes, playing cards. People can help out once in a while or regularly as they wish.

    Is there a programme like that where you live?


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