Williamsburg's Homeless & Indigent

P.O. Box 366, Lightfoot, VA 23090
Office: 757-561-3255
"Assisting people in re-gaining hope and a better way of life."

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Riverfront neighbors resist homeless shelter

I want to clarify in regards to the article, my intentions in this ministry was to never house people, even in the beginning... But, yes we did.

*We did have a special case where I allowed a mother and her 3 boys to stay for 11 days while they tried to find a more permanent place for her family that they could afford, instead of a hotel room. Even after that week they had gone back to the hotel, because I did say the most would be 12-14 days, the mother still was unable to find affordable housing and I let her know that we wouldn't be able to let them stay again. I had even explained in the beginning to her that this was not something we do, but it was under special circumstances.

*Yes, then later on down the road, we meet a man who was able to get a room for one night through the local Salvation Army. My husband hired him for his business and that day I was trying to find him a less expensive place on a weekly basis, where he could stay. The hotels that have weekly rates, that are affordable for people in this situation instead of tourism, didn't have anything at the time he could afford. One hotel let me know the next day they would have a room for $140.00 a week. During that day, after talking with the motels, I checked him out through some of the different shelters he had stayed at (as a matter of fact, one of them is a shelter in my hometown down south and in WV. After work when my husband was finished somewhat for the day, he brought the guy back here to finish some of the work he started the prior day, since there was still daylight. He stayed for dinner for us to talk and find out more about him and my husband and him ended up into a detailed conversation regarding the Bible. This gentleman grew up in a religious family, yet he was just now finding his faith. We were going to take him back to the hotel he was at the night prior, but he was unable to pay for it, since SA had paid for the first night. The other room would be ready the next morn, so yes he stayed that night. Their conversation about Faith and God had run into late hours and even we didn't want to be out in the car hunting down a hotel room. My husband and I both enjoy being able to help spread God's Word (I am a member as a 'witness' on the Tribulation Force group; a world wide group formed from the Left Behind books by the books' aurthor and my husband comes from an Evangilistic family of ministers.) We feel it is our responsibility to God to help those who want to learn, especially a 'new believer.'

I did clarify on my webpage, that in the past when I have done this work, even elsewhere, before moving here, "because I am not always referring to SA here. Down in SC I had 3 people from SA who lived in the shelter last year that also worked for us. They had been screened by them (I guess that was a requirement to stay at the shelter, I'm not sure) and when we hired the people, the person in charge of the shelter, gave me background info in regards to the people." Also, I am not referring to the police locally here. Other places I have lived, I could call the police there and check on a person before I hired them and it was due to a 'connection' I had within the department. So far here, I haven't had to call the police and check on a person, because prior to them even coming to our house, specifically one person in mind who we have become good friends with, I had already spoken with his family in detail. But, by suggestion of the Taskforce for the Homeless, which I am a member of, it would be good for me to go around to the different agencies and volunteer some time at each and to get an understanding of their intake process. I have already scheduled my time with our local SA office and Eastern State Hospital. I am scheduling time with many of the churches, United Way, and Angels of Mercy.

I do understand our neighbors' concerns and that was why I agreed to meet with them last week. I didn't HAVE to and was saddened that I was unable to fully answer people's questions without being cut off or called a liar. Some neighbors I have had a chance to speak one on one with and answer the questions. This I do think helped. So even though at the meeting nothing was resolved, afterwards, some issues have been worked out with a couple of people and I have had further conversations with them and listen to other ways of clarifying even parts of my webpage. It was even pointed out I needed to be more clear on the webpage, because many in our area who read it, take it literally. Typically in the past I would just type out my thoughts and then go back and edit it later or I have had others type of the blog and I would edit it (my niece pointed this out because she said "I am not use to your bad grammer or spelling errors, so I thought maybe somebody else was typing. That makes sense now.") But, even though I will continue to blog, I will watch my details and/or make sure what I say IS what I mean.

Don't get me wrong either. I do like the people here, those who we have met on this street. Even back before we rented we went to a cookout to meet some of the neighbors. If we didn't like them in the beginning, we probably wouldn't have moved on this street, even though rental houses are hard to find. We REALLY like our landlords. It is rare to meet nice people that you rent from. I have said before, down south our landlord wasn't nice (at all.) If we didn't like the people here, we wouldn't have taken the homemade candy around at Christmas to the people we had met (no I haven't met everyone) or doggie treats packages to the dogs at Halloween or homemade cinnamon knots and homemade bread around. Nobody says you have to be friends with your neighbors, but it is a nice thought; but at the very least, civil to one another.


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