How to Stop Homelessness
In Your American City
by Douglas Stambler
I was a rich, “white” kid growing up in Connecticut, when I realized that I would not ever walk the paths of people who came before me. I mean, what was the point of learning other people’s lessons, anyway? I was in the talented and gifted program in junior high, but you know what? I found out that smart people get told what to do and how to behave, too. So, ever since junior high school, I secretly decided to follow the way that was the most successful for me. In the process, I left Judaism to become a born-again Christian. And I left my elite, college education behind me to spend about 2 ½ years on the road, living with homeless people.
Rest assured that I was never actually homeless: I could have called friends or relatives to bail me out of this journey that I was taking with America’s downtrodden. But I never did ask for a bailout. Instead, I stuck with living in homeless shelters, just so that I could write this book that you’re about to read. What I learned is that homelessness is a national disgrace – for the homeless and for us on the other side, who volunteer at shelters and soup kitchens in America. What I have concluded, is that homelessness must become a thing of the past if America has any chance of proceeding into the future with any clear, moral direction. Americans are scared of speaking out against homelessness. I think that they want the problem to just go away, but they are not willing to roll up their sleeves and find out why homelessness even exists in America. I hope that you will find this book to be trend- setting: Let’s finally talk about homelessness in America; let’s talk about poverty from an entrepreneur’s perspective; and, let’s get rid of homelessness without getting rid of the people who are homeless.
Welcome to a journey that I started back in May 2000. Welcome to the world of homelessness: Where social workers hoodwink the public into thinking that homelessness can be solved by tolerating it and throwing taxpayer money at it. Welcome to the world of really lazy, homeless people, who are just leeching off of the goodwill of others. But most of all, welcome to the world that Jesus Christ asked me to explore, so that I might shed light on the corruption and profiteering that goes hand in hand with homelessness in America.
Table of Contents
Part 1 – Why Homelessness Is Dragging Down America’s Local Economies
Part 2 – The History of Homelessness in America
Part 3 – Why Christians Help the Homeless Population
Part 4 – Cities That Succeed In Stopping Homelessness
Part 5 – Cities That Encourage Homelessness
Part 6 – A Six Step Plan to End Homelessness in Your Town/City
Part 7 – Why Wall Street and Homelessness Are Related
Part 8 – Why All Americans Deserve a Home and Food
Why Homelessness Is Dragging Down America’s Local Economies
Let’s admit it: No one likes to see a fellow American sitting out in front of the local mall, begging for change so that they can “get something to eat.” But the odds are that when people beg on the streets in America, they are simply using that money to buy alcohol or drugs. Face it – homelessness is a dead-end way of life, and no one gets anywhere by living in perpetual homelessness. So, why do we put up with homelessness in America?
We tolerate public begging and vagrancy in America, because we don’t connect this delinquent behavior to the stability of our local economies. We don’t understand that large retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco prohibit the homeless from begging on their property, and that’s one reason why American consumers choose to shop there – so that they don’t have to be hassled for change or sympathy like when they visit local businesses, who often tolerate loitering and begging for change right in front of their stores. For their part, local businesses are afraid to clear out the homeless from their storefronts, because they don’t want to be perceived as callous and cruel to the poor.
Nevertheless, America’s homelessness problem is dragging down our local economies, and it has to stop. In college business classes, students are taught that a consumer has choices in the marketplace. Well, why don’t we as Americans choose to be without homelessness in our own country? Why do we tolerate homelessness, when all these people are really doing is refusing to re-integrate into American society while demanding that the taxpayers feed and house them? I say that it’s time to make the connection between homelessness and the faltering health of America’s local economies.
Case in point: Have you ever been to a city that was a great place to visit, but you’ve told yourself that you would never live there because of the crime and the “street people”? Los Angeles is the first city that comes to mind when I think of such a place – one visit to Skid Row is an eye-opener, because the homeless are allowed to sleep in the streets, loiter all day and are given free food and shelter all the time. Another example of a city that promotes homelessness is New York City. A homeless person can get food and lodging every day in the Big Apple, guaranteed. How would you like to have that, without having to work for it? Wouldn’t it be great if you could do nothing all day, except walk around and socialize with your friends, and then at the end of the day, someone would be there to take care of your food and lodging? Well, that’s what is happening all over America today – cities and towns are willingly providing free food and lodging for homeless people who neither appreciate what they get for free, nor want to give back in some to American communities. Of course, in places like San Luis Obispo - where homelessness is not tolerated - loafers and vagrants are urged to move along unless they want to improve their lives by working at it and contributing to the city in some way like volunteering. And I’m glad that I live in San Luis Obispo – the attitude and intolerance of homelessness here is refreshing.
Anyway, I think that homelessness in America needs to stop. Perhaps this short book will give you some ideas about how to deal compassionately with a social problem that has lingered in America for too long. The time is now to stop homelessness, and the time is right to raise the standard in America for what is allowed by people who refuse to participate in American society in return for the freebies that we give them. Make sure that you understand that I am not opposed to homeless people, but rather I am against tolerating homelessness in America – it is a demeaning, social problem that we can no longer allow.
I think about homelessness as a business opportunity that helps others while I make money solving it; I think about homelessness as a way to instruct government on how to streamline their social service programs; and I think of homelessness as an opportunity to prevent the American public from being swindled by professional, non-profit agencies that take large donations for the poor, but use that money instead for their overpaid, salaried professionals, who are simply not getting the job done. And what is my purpose for writing this book? I think that whoever solves homelessness in America, will profit immensely in wealth and in the spiritual realm. I think that it is time to take our streets back from those who insist that they have the right to upset the general public with their overtly delinquent lifestyles. And we must do this quickly – think of how many lives might have been saved during the January 2004 cold spell on the East Coast if we as Americans had already found and implemented a permanent solution to homelessness.
God wants us to clean up vagrancy in America, and there is no time to waste. Homelessness can be stopped – but we must stop tolerating it first. Only then can we solve homelessness altogether. Finally, this book is dedicated to everyone who literally sleeps on the streets in America; to everyone who lives in America without knowing where they’ll sleep tonight; and to all the good people in America who still care that there are still fellow Americans who are mercilessly neglected in our country today.
The History of Homelessness in America
We all have misconceptions about homelessness. It’s important to isolate where homelessness comes from in America, so that you can understand what I see coming when I observe a homeless person in the street. You see, homelessness goes way back to the days when America was still being settled by pioneers and new states. As Americans moved to the West to explore new land and exploit more natural resource opportunities, the original inhabitants of America – the Native Americans – were displaced from their homes. That was the first, real incidence of true homelessness in America. And I’m sure that you are also aware of all the hardships that Native Americans have faced trying to reclaim their ancestral lands, mostly without success. Once America was settled and cities continued to grow, homelessness became a problem that mostly African-Americans encountered, because many from this ethnic group were displaced after the Civil War from plantations in the South. As former slaves migrated to the North, especially in the late 1880s, they experienced a shortage in affordable housing and soon, social service agencies like the Salvation Army recognized a need, and stepped in to help those Americans who could not find a place in the American economy.
In the early 1900s, hoboes became popularized in American fiction, and their numbers swelled, as many vagrants found that they could live on the rails by jumping freight cars to get around. Of course freight car jumping still goes on today, but it is far more dangerous now than it was then, and of course, it is also illegal. The big turning point for homelessness in America came when the Depression hit in the 1930s: Millions of workers were thrown out of work – many came to places like Los Angeles and Detroit, and hoped that the big cities had work for them. Unfortunately, the cities were often worse for the unemployed than the smaller, jobless towns, because too many people had come to the urban areas looking for work – and that’s when the modern idea of the homeless shelter or mission really took root in America.
Since the Depression, America has gone through many economic downturns and wars that have continually added to the nation’s homeless population. After the Vietnam War, depressed and distraught military veterans made their homes on the streets, because they were unable to deal with the reality that they were sent to fight a war that could not be won, and the Veterans Administration was slow to help these broken soldiers re-integrate into American society. In the 1970s, drug addicts, alcoholics and the mentally ill have all increased in number, along with homeless veterans, creating a crisis in every major urban area in America. Although the GI Bill triggered the establishment of a series of other social service agencies in the 1950s, nothing has worked (today’s homeless population can walk into any county in America, and apply for food stamps and Section 8 housing). The poor, who don’t take advantage of government welfare services, tend to wind up homeless and a nuisance to the citizenry of every town, city and state in our great country. Make no mistake about it: Homelessness is for dropouts, plain and simple. And Americans should consider 2004 the best year in American history to either stop homelessness once and for all, or to just let the problem grow and grow and grow and grow and grow. Why? Because for the first time, America has a book like mine, that will help lead our country away from homelessness and poverty-related social problems, once and for all.
Why Christians Help the Homeless Population
No single religious group does more for the poor in America than Christians. There is the Salvation Army, with agencies in every state of the union; Catholic Charities has been helping those in need for years; there are Christian missions and homeless shelters all over the United States; and local churches sponsor soup kitchens everywhere. Any place that you go to in America, you will find Christians helping the poor. Of course, Christians are far from perfect: They tend to preach to the poor and blame them for being poor in the first place. Nonetheless, Christians give the most to the poor in America. And the answer to why they do this might surprise you – the fact is, Christians value life more than other religious groups. Perhaps that’s just a way of saying that Christians just can’t stand to see another human being suffer, and without hesitation - they will try to help the poor with donations, moral support and especially with prayer.
When I was traveling from homeless shelter to homeless shelter, I found out that Christian agencies were doing far better in helping the homeless than their secular, social service counterparts. Here is an article that got published on a Christian website in 2003 (worthfinding.com), about my experiences in Minneapolis:
“Jesus Christ: The Only Solution to Poverty”
It is two days after July 4th. I am sitting in a neighborhood park in Minneapolis, where The Gospel Light Baptist Church is having its annual picnic. It is a very small church, maybe forty-five people in all. And the pastors have the courage of Christ to open their doors to all who will enter. Saturday is another day in the lives of Minneapolis’ homeless: They wander the city looking for handouts and drug dealers. Come Sunday –which is today- they grab sandwiches from the back of a truck parked on Currie Street, down near the bus station. The owner of the vehicle is a good samaritan, who does more than his share to feed the poor. Too many homeless men have fallen through the cracks, and yet, there is always the hope that Jesus Christ will one day shine in their eyes, too.
Christ is the only solution to poverty. Minnesota is a great example of why anything else ultimately fails. For years, this bustling, midwestern metropolis defined itself as a place for blue-collar opportunity. It gave away low-rent apartments to laborers from the South, who paid attention to where the jobs were in the 1960s and early 70s. In fact, Minneapolis avoided the cyclical downturns of more popular cities like New York and Chicago, only because of its insistence that everyone who could work should be asked to work. And so it went, the Twin Cities became a place where everything seemed to go right, and it maintained that image right through the economic downturn in 2001. And still, it took about two more years for the reality of the current recession to hit home, because Minnesota earmarked billions of dollars for working families, and provided a safety net for the unemployed.
But if three words could sum up what Minneapolis –the apple of Minnesota’s eye- is encountering now, it would have to be said that “Only Christ Succeeds.” State social service programs are failing; single mothers and their children are suddenly winding up homeless; and, able-bodied men are giving up hope for something better than chronic life on the streets. And yet, as the secular solutions to poverty continue to fail, there are rays of hope still shining brightly in the Twin Cities. Three in particular, are worth mentioning here: They are 1) The Union Gospel Mission in St. Paul; 2) Mary Jo’s Place in Minneapolis; 3) and, the outreach ministry to the poor at The Gospel Light Baptist Church, also in Minneapolis.
All of these serve the poor in a Christ-centered manner. In St. Paul, the mission there offers two catered meals a day, excellent living arrangements and ample opportunities for men to come to know Jesus Christ. This professionally-run facility seems to double as a community center, with volunteers singing the mission’s praises for a high-level of respect given to each and every man who stays there. Mary Jo’s Place in Minneapolis is a miracle where it’s needed most. The day center feeds over 350 people daily, offers them clothing and gives them a sense of welcome, unlike any large facility for the poor in all of Minneapolis. Mary Jo, who works daily at this multi-million dollar instrument of God, is a legend in her own right, and is currently raising money for a new orphanage nearby. Finally, for men who want a roof over their heads and a church community, there is The Gospel Light Baptist Church. Small in size, but extra-large in heart, The Gospel Light Baptist Church recruits men from the streets to live in one of their transitional homes, and learn Christian living principles. The three rays of hope all are Christ-centered in their approach to poverty.
I’m still in Minneapolis, now at the bus station waiting to go back West towards Idaho. Often, I think about the millions of Christians who trust all the different charities with their generous donations. And now that I’ve been to Minneapolis/St. Paul to experience what men in poverty go through on a daily basis, I’d have to say that 80-85% of the money donated to Twin Cities charities never directly benefits the neediest homeless men, who are living on the streets. And so I offer this article as a sort of letter of introduction for myself and as a reference for three charities that are getting the job done for poor people, every day. I encourage you to consider directing your donations to the UGM St. Paul, Mary Jo’s Place or The Gospel Light Baptist Church or directly to homeless people themselves in the form of long-term housing.
Jesus Christ is the only solution to poverty, and what better way to help the poor than to help them in the way Christ would have? In the spirit, in basic needs, in love and compassion.
May God bless you and your family.
Let’s move on to the next chapter, and explore some of the cities that I stopped at to research homelessness in America. In chapter five, I will highlight the worst places for homelessness in America.
Cities That Succeed In Stopping Homelessness
Thus far, I have explored why homelessness should be stopped in America. But there are cities in America that are already successfully putting and end to homelessness. And I’d like this chapter to serve as an introduction to people in America who understand what it takes to end vagrancy, while doing it with great compassion. I recommend that you call or contact these shelters if you have more questions about their programs.
1) Missoula, MT – Missoula presents the most workable solution to homelessness in the United States: Missoula puts the homeless up in the local shelter for thirty days, and tries to re-integrate them back into society very rapidly. The staff at the shelter there is friendly, the director is knowledgeable and compassionate, and most importantly, the shelter encourages people to look after themselves, by requiring the homeless to participate in the shelter’s upkeep if they want to stay at all. You can contact The Poverello Center at (406) 728-1809. The director’s name is Joe Bischof, and he can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Boise, Idaho – The Boise Rescue Mission has a professional chef on staff, and that really gives a morale boost to the men who stay there. And since it is a Christian rescue mission, the BRM has a program for drug and alcohol rehabilitation and Christian living principles that I have found to be the most effective program in the United States. All people who walk through the doors of the Boise Rescue Mission are treated with compassion and dignity, and the business office is grounded in its mission to help the poor. You can reach the Boise Rescue Mission at (208) 343-2389. The current executive director is Bill Roscoe.
3) Tyler, TX – The Salvation Army facility in Tyler, Texas is a wonderful place. There are people of all ages staying there, and the staff at the shelter really make it possible for the homeless to go back to work – attention is paid to detail by the social workers, who can quickly get any homeless person their birth certificate or a proof of citizenship and a Social Security Card – that way, the homeless can get out and work. There is also a university in Tyler that is so homeless-friendly, that a former resident of the shelter came back to the Salvation Army one night, and told the residents that she was once homeless, but that the Salvation Army in Tyler helped her go to school, and now she was back on her feet with her own place to live. The Salvation Army in Tyler, Texas can be reached at (903) 592-4361.
4) St. Paul, MN – The Union Gospel Mission in St. Paul is a great place, with catered food available every day (lunch is for paying residents only) and the homeless can rent beds for about $5 per night, which is a bargain considering that the facility is new and the staff at the UGM is casual about when residents come and go from the building – but only if they are paying residents. Beds for the homeless who are without jobs are free and time-limited, but the accommodations are very good and the whole facility is immaculately clean. The UGM can be reached at (651) 292-1721.
5) Harrisburg, PA – The Bethesda Mission is located in Pennsylvania’s capitol, and the mission functions both as a homeless shelter and a place where Alcoholics Anonymous holds its meetings. Very connected to local churches and the secular community in Harrisburg, too, The Bethesda Mission provides good food, comfortable accommodations, storage lockers – and also requires that all residents participate in the maintenance of the facility by doing chores. This particular place helps a lot of people each year, and they can be reached at (717) 257-4440.
6) Durango, CO – In Durango, there is a homeless shelter that is run by the Volunteers of America. Although the staff here is not very kind to the homeless people who stay there, I think highly of the way the VOA has set up the shelter. A homeless person can stay at the shelter two weeks for free, and then a weekly rate is charged in order for them to stay on. But there is so much work in tourist-driven Durango that it is literally difficult not to find a job there that pays a good wage and is fun to do. When I was in Durango, I worked in food service at the local college and also at a local hotel as banquet staff – I had work within a week. It was a remarkable and unusual experience to pass through Durango, and I think that the VOA there has one particularly good idea: Put a homeless shelter in a place where the homeless can get jobs easily. The shelter can be reached at (970) 259-1255.
7) Boulder, CO – The Boulder shelter is very controversial in this city, because no one really wants the homeless around at all. I stayed there in early 2002, and the shelter ran like a youth hostel – the food was “feel-good” and the accommodations were suitable even for student travelers. Of course, the facility was only open to the homeless, though. There was a lot of attention paid to retraining the homeless residents there, and everyone was required to do a chore. The Boulder shelter is a good place, and it deserves national recognition. You can contact the shelter at (720) 565-3004.
8) Charlottesville, VA – The Salvation Army shelter is right next to the Greyhound bus station, making it easy to find for the homeless. The city of Charlottesville is also very committed to helping people get back on their feet. The shelter can be reached at (434) 293-8509.
9) Chehalis, WA – In southwestern Washington, there is a good shelter that is a little off the beaten track, but it serves the homeless in an actual house. The shelter can be reached by contacting the Salvation Army in Centralia, WA at (360) 736-4339.
In sum, the nine facilities that I have described here in this chapter should provide enough research models for social service professionals to simply end homelessness in America: But social service agencies throughout our country don’t want to share information about what works – instead, they typically hire more consultants, more social workers and more psychologists to figure out what is wrong with the homeless people who are out on the streets every day. Instead of analyzing the homeless population, though, I think that Americans who are interested in solving homelessness here should look for the best models that help people out of homelessness, and then just get behind those models, instead of getting behind the agencies that receive hundreds of millions of dollars to apply those models. In other words, we in America need to be involved with homelessness, by requiring that our tax dollars are spent on effective models to end homelessness, rather than being used to pay the salaries of social service administrators, who are not effectively helping the homeless get out of homelessness.
Cities That Encourage Homelessness
These are the top 10 cities, where taxpayer money is going to waste every day, because the approach to homelessness is inept and a total failure. You’re welcome to go and see these places for yourself, but I warn you – you will be shocked and upset by what you might see.
1) Los Angeles – Skid Row is a place in Los Angeles, where anyone can use drugs, drink and sleep on the sidewalks. There are two big missions on Skid Row, and the people who run these missions make a lot of money from government grants – but the result is that it is the closest place that I have ever seen that reminds me of what Hell would be like – no one cares about the place, and that’s really why I say that Los Angeles is totally failing to help the homeless or the citizens of that city by letting Skid Row exist like it does. It reminds me of how I hear from time to time that all homeless people should be sent to an island and left to die – that’s exactly what Skid Row feels like.
2) New York City – New York City encourages the homeless to live in abject poverty. And for that reason, I rank it second on this list. There is even a shelter in midtown Manhattan that shows movies all day and gives out free food to people who permanently sleep in chairs there. A typical homeless person in NYC wanders the streets all day from soup kitchen to soup kitchen, and they can eat all day doing that! The reality is that most of the homeless in NYC are professional homeless people, collecting social security checks to use for their drug and alcohol habits, while living off the city and the State of New York. It is reprehensible.
3) Columbia, SC – Definitely up there on this list of places that perpetuate homelessness is this unfriendly, Southern town. The Salvation Army there is a flophouse; the local social workers are cruel to their “clients”; most of the homeless are victims of racial prejudice; and, the police couldn’t care less about who lives or dies from slumming it outdoors. In fact, I almost had to tell someone in Columbia that I was Jewish, just to get some food. But I told them that I was a Christian, and so they turned me away. Go figure.
4) Nashville, TN – Nashville hates its homeless population, but keeps it around so that it looks good on paper for the tourists, who expect a good, compassionate Christian Nashville. But the city is so corrupt when it comes to serving the homeless, that the local Salvation Army charges $50 per week just for someone to stay in a room filled with other homeless people. Homelessness is big business in Nashville, and it’s no wonder that native Tennessean Al Gore didn’t want to be involved with the homeless there: It is against Tennessee law to earn money from social service programs that are run by the state, if you are an elected official there.
5) Minneapolis, MN – What a mess! When a homeless person arrives in this city, they are given a twenty plus page booklet about all the agencies in Minneapolis that serve the homeless. The only problem is that when a homeless person tries to access these agencies’ services, somehow these agencies are “unavailable” to the homeless, unless the state or federal government is providing social security benefits to take care of that homeless person. Homeless services are a big scam in Minneapolis. (Please see my article on Minneapolis in Chapter 3).
6) Dallas, TX – The best way to get out of homelessness in Dallas is to join a cult! Several such agencies boast “Christian living” programs, but all of them are fraudulent. Case in point: Texas pays private quasi-religious organizations to take care of the homeless in cities like Dallas, but the money is used for the agency directors and executives who run these places. (It is important to note here that President George Bush’s initiative to turn social service responsibilities over to local religious organizations is cruel to the homeless and terribly misguided – churches typically require the homeless to attend church services just to get food and lodging – this is immoral, and the federal government should definitely not be promoting religion.)
7) Corpus Christi, TX – The homeless in Corpus Christi have two options: 1) They can sleep on the streets; 2) or, they can go to the local homelessness organization for help, and then they can sleep on the streets! Either way, Corpus Christi has an enormous homeless problem, and the city refuses to address that problem with any realism or compassion.
8) Santa Barbara, CA – The mission in Santa Barbara houses the homeless, but somehow it has lost its priorities along the way – I mean, since when do illegal immigrants from Mexico come before American citizens when it comes to food and lodging? In addition, Americans are typically ridiculed by their Mexican counterparts at the mission, and the Mexicans wind up getting the day labor before the Americans do, too! So, life is doubly rough for the homeless in Santa Barbara. There is a day shelter for the homeless in Santa Barbara, but it is run by Catholic Charities, and the homeless need to do everything but swear allegiance to Jesus just to get some help from the staff there. It’s a disgrace. And I’m a Christian saying this.
9) Indianapolis, IN – This city is truly a cruel place for African-Americans to be homeless. I stayed at two shelters in Indianapolis, and the treatment of African-Americans was uniformly discriminatory. One day, I went with an African-American friend of mine to look for work. Even though there were jobs available for me, no one wanted to hire my friend, who just happened to be homeless and African-American. (What a shame that we can’t see past a person’s skin color yet in the 21st century.) On Saturdays, the homeless are given clothing and handouts at the big, war memorial park in the middle of the city – it was so sad to see Christians pulling up in their cars, and literally throwing bags of clothing and supplies at the homeless, who literally stood on the corner of the sidewalk there, grunting and groaning in approval. An itinerant preacher was also there, and he just wouldn’t stop screaming at the homeless about their Salvation, even as the homeless were just scrambling on the street to get some socks. (I remember making a short speech the one day I went to the park with the homeless – I told them not to accept this unkind treatment from their donors, and that each and every one of them deserved homes and better treatment.)
10) Louisville, KY – I can’t leave this city off my list of the worst places in America for homelessness. Louisville is really a heaven for the homeless, actually – they get multiple places to eat. They get lodging and free clothing, too. There are agencies all over the city that literally spend all day focusing on the homeless. But none of these agencies really helped the homeless get out of poverty. Case in point: One day, I went to a Goodwill training center near one of the shelters, where the homeless could supposedly get jobs and re-integrate into society. Unfortunately, the center’s success rate was an abominable 25%. That’s a very low rate, considering the amount of money Goodwill collects each year from donations and government grants, nationwide. (Personally, I believe that all Goodwill stores, agencies and offices nationwide should be permanently shutdown. I recommend that Americans start to boycott Goodwill and focus more on the Salvation Army’s ministries to the poor.)
A Six Step Plan to End Homelessness in Your Town/City
Okay, so we agree that homelessness is a problem. Now it’s time for me to help you outline a plan to stop homeless – permanently – in your American town or city. I will be straightforward about what I think must be done to stop homelessness. So, get ready, and I pray that you the reader find enough courage to actually go out into your community and tell people to follow this plan, exactly as I outline it for you here. Good luck and God Bless You, if you decide to follow the plan that I strongly recommend here.
1) Contact your local politicians, and tell them that you are a local advocate for the homeless. Once people know that you are standing up for the rights of homeless people, you will be asked for your opinions about what to do about the homeless. You cannot stop homelessness in America, unless you consider yourself an advocate for the homeless. It doesn’t matter what your political affiliation is: You have every reason to become an advocate for the homeless. Homelessness is a perpetual drag on society, and we need a better solution than vagrancy for the homeless. That’s what really makes you an advocate for the homeless – you have a solution to homelessness.
2) Refuse to volunteer with social service agencies that directly give food and temporary shelter to the homeless. You might wonder how you’re going to help the homeless if you don’t do what is traditionally accepted by local communities for an advocate for the homeless to do. Remember, local social service agencies are typically abusing the average American’s kindness, by asking for donations and then profiteering on the side from being the only agencies that “help” the homeless. If you boycott local social service agencies that say they help the homeless, but who really don’t, then people in your community will start to consider you an authentic advocate for the homelessness. I mean, we all know that homelessness in America is just getting worse and worse – so, at the very least, tell people that you are trying a new approach to solving homelessness, and that since the current way of helping the homeless doesn’t really help them in the long-term (with a permanent solution for securing housing and food), you are going to break away from the failures of current methods in order to find a way that really does stop homelessness. And you will accept nothing but a real solution for those who live on the streets. Phony people in social service agencies who pretend to help the homeless are unacceptable.
3) Pass my booklet around to your friends. I took about three years of my life to find out what was wrong with America’s way of dealing with homelessness. My methods to solve this problem actually work, and if you pass my book around to your friends, then you won’t have to explain everything to them that I have written in these chapters.
4) Pray for an end to homelessness in your town or city. I think that the strongest way to change the world is to pray for it. Whether or not you believe in God is immaterial: The fact is that prayer works, and that if you pray for a solution to homelessness in your local area, that solution will be presented to you. Again, there is no way you can achieve anything substantial in life, without praying about it first. So, pray for an end to vagrancy, so that your work as an advocate for the homeless will be that much easier for you.
5) Avoid personal contact with the homeless. – Let’s face it: The homeless cannot really keep themselves clean or well fed. And if they wanted to get a job and work their way out of poverty, there are thousands of opportunities in America that would help them do so. Homelessness is for the lazy and the depraved. Don’t try to be a friend to the homeless. Don’t give them shelter. Don’t feed them. Don’t bring them to your house. And keep your kids away from them. Homeless people not only have a variety of emotional problems to work through, but they are typically violent when they get frustrated. Would you regret helping a homeless person, if it turned out that you or one of your friends or family members got physically harmed as a result? Yes, you would regret getting so close to the homeless if you were to be harmed in the process. It isn’t worth the risk, so simply avoid the homeless face to face – they’re angry most of the time, because being homeless is dehumanizing. Now, maybe this seems cruel to you, but I assure you that you do more good for the homeless by setting the example that their lifestyle is not acceptable to you. Don’t reinforce their social deviance by helping them personally with food and lodging. It doesn’t do anyone good to take pity on the homeless – remember, these are people who have choices, just like everybody else. If they want to truly get out of homelessness, there are enough genuine opportunities for them through county and state welfare programs, to help them get proper shelter while they get back on their feet.
6) Talk about your spirituality to people as you are working as an advocate for the homeless. If you believe in God, you know that the power of asking God into your work life is almost as strong force like prayer is. If you don’t believe in God, then all you have to do is tell people what you believe in – your work for the homeless will go much smoother if you acknowledge that we as humans are all connected by a life force that sustains all of us. You don’t have to preach to others about what you believe in – just let them know why you feel the need to help the homeless. Encourage people to live by God’s; in other words, encourage people to live with spirit in their lives.
If you implement these six steps that I have outlined here, then you will create a “climate of change” for the better in your community. And that doesn’t take even a dollar to make happen: Change can come from one person doing good things in their community. Let it be you – and for the sake of homeless people, why not try something new for a change? Try my six steps, and just be amazed about how your community will start to rid itself of homelessness, slowly but surely.
Why Wall Street and Homelessness Are Related
Did you ever see that movie, “Wall Street?” You know, the one where Michael Douglas plays the meanest sort of villain – a person with no ethics, who has no concern for anyone but himself? But why should Wall Street people be condemned for thinking big and trying to make money? What I’m saying is that the traditional portrayal of business people is that being for profit is somehow opposed to helping people out of homelessness. Like in that movie, “Trading Places,” with Dan Ackyroyd and Eddie Murphy. But here’s a little tip that I want to share with you: “Wall Street entrepreneurs could make a fortune by successfully solving the homeless problem in America.”
Here’s why: 1) Think of how many people could go back to work, if some Wall Street type of person found a solution to homelessness – think of how much more productive American society would be without having to dole out millions of dollars for the homeless in free food, health care and accommodations; 2) Think of how much better it would be if private individuals were able to succeed where local governments failing: What if entrepreneurs purchased “homelessness contracts” from the government, and used business skills to get people out of homelessness quickly and permanently; 3) Think about all the homeless shelters that could be turned into rented apartments for people who are homeless today; 4) Think about how the rich in our country could finally unite behind a philanthropic cause like homelessness; 5) and, think about all the homeless people in America, who would finally have a feasible solution to their daily dilemma of being “houseless Americans.”
I’ll tell you what: I’ll be the entrepreneur who gets all this started, okay? I’ll be the person in our country who is ultimately responsible for getting all the homeless people off the streets and into permanent housing. I’ll go on record right now, and say that within ten years (by 2014), I will have personally solved the homeless problem in America – every man, woman and child who is an American citizen, will have a permanent place to call home, food to eat and something reasonable to do for their community in return – that is, if they don’t want to work a regular job for wage.
Let me ask you this - are today’s politicians offering a solution to the homeless problem in America? No. That’s why I’m taking the initiative now. After all, the Democrats blame the Republicans, and the Republicans typically ignore America’s number one social problem today: Homelessness.
I will solve homelessness. You can solve homelessness, too. Let’s do this together. Let’s start for-profit ventures to clean up America’s vagrancy problem, so that we can see our communities again. Admit it, homeless people are in the way of good living – they take up our time, and they drain our resources. Let’s stop homelessness, and let’s do it with class, the Wall Street way – the American way. Let’s get our most dedicated business people in the United States together to talk about homelessness – and let’s finish off this devastating, national problem once and for all.
Why All Americans Deserve a Home and Food
It’s time to change our minds about how America deals with homelessness. To me, it’s all about God – Jesus Christ, to be specific. So, what is God asking America to do about homelessness? I think that’s a complicated question. But I have come up with the following line of reasoning why all Americans deserve a home and food.
1) God created all human beings to need food and shelter.
2) If all human beings have these needs, then all human beings should be given food and shelter, no matter what their financial situation is at the moment.
3) What we should do in America, is give every homeless person a permanent place to stay, where they can be a part of American society.
4) Then, we should require these formerly homeless people to give back in some way to the communities that they would live in.
5) Then, we should adopt vagrancy laws based on local vagrancy laws from around the country that already work. Then, we should pass federal vagrancy laws.
6) We should then enforce the new, federal vagrancy laws, and have no tolerance for begging, sleeping on the streets and living off the public dole without giving back to society.
7) Finally, we should never forget that only God can truly end the nuisance that is homelessness, and that we should always treat homeless people with love and compassion.
Homelessness is not going to go away overnight, or even in a few years. Many hard times are surely in store for our country – local and state governments are on the verge of bankruptcy, and the national economy is only benefiting the rich. What we need to do in America is to get the homeless into permanent living situations; then, require that people give back to their local communities what they receive; but most importantly, we need to take our communities back in this very personal way, so that social service agencies don’t tell us that they need even more money to deal with the homeless. If we in America follow God, and get involved with homelessness in a for-profit way, then we will understand that America is failing to keep people off the streets, and then failing doubly by keeping them on the streets.
Think of all the homeless men, women and children who go to bed tonight somewhere in America with no future and no hope of a brighter day…and then tomorrow morning, when you wake up and go to work, remember that ideas can change the world, and that homelessness needs new solutions and more for-profit involvement. Remember, you can change the homelessness problem in America by thinking differently about what homelessness actually is and how the current way of dealing with homelessness is a waste of taxpayer money and an utter failure. You can get involved by thinking differently about homelessness. I hope that my book has helped you do just that.
Stand up against mediocrity – speak out against homelessness – and speak up for a better America.
Thank you for reading my short book, and God bless you.