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."

Monday, June 30, 2003

Not all homeless people are drunks or druggie's. My cousin( we will call her kelly) had been kicked out of her boyfriends house with her one year old daughter.she went to social services and they refused to help her saying that she needed an address. Social Services put her in a shelter for one week, Then Kelly was back out on the street with her little girl. What did she do? She went and found another and then another until the shelters would'nt let her back in until a certain amount of time went by. Kelly lived in an old abandoned house for two days. she found someone who would let her sleep on the couch with her baby for a night. That person in turn asked one of their own friends if Kelly and baby could stay there. That is how it went on for 4 months, shifting from one neighbor to another. I feel it was because of the baby that they let her in.Kelly has a spine defect(since birth)it is hard for her to work. Kelly cannot sit for long periods of time and she cannot stand for long periods of time. This has all been confirmed by a doctor, yet when she went to apply for SSI she was denied.No food stamps ,no medical benefits nowhere safe for her little one, something every mom and dad wants for their children. Kelly found a shelter that would take her once again. Sign in started and 5 o'clock and if you are not ontime you are out of luck. She made it to the most disgusting shelter around. She had to stand on a bucket and tried to wash the filth that was on her and her little one. On the other side of the thin shower was a man. She was scared,hungry and worried about her little girl. A little girl who should have toys of her own, a clean bed in a safe place. Kelly had to leave the shelter and is now in a little building with no bathroom or running water. The little girl is almost two years old now.. Close your eyes real tight and imagine for one minute that this was you and your child....We need a shelter .. We need a safe place for the less fortunate to go until they are able to rejoin society..Look deep into your heart.......WWJD...We know the answer to that....................

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Another Response about The Last Word

Old Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., founder of Bob Jones University, used to quote a law of physics which states, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". And then he would apply it to the arena of the spirit. In his applications of that law he would say, "The test of your character is what it takes to stop you." You will fight a lot of battles before you see the fruit of your labors. Just remember, as Dr. Jones would often say from his chapel platform, "God and you make a majority".

Satan does not like what you are doing. But Jesus does. Keep right with God. Keep praying. Keep fighting. Keep believing. "Keep on keeping on," as Dr. Jones would say.

Jesus said, 'If you have faith in the power and faithfulness of God, you can speak "to the mountain" and cast it into the sea'. David asked God to teach his hands to war. Paul wrote of his battles with the flesh and the devil, and said, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" The fight against the resisting " principalities and powers", when you are trying to win souls for Jesus, will always be a part of the equation.


In the past, I have blogged about my friend Cat, who is in Iraq. Her Father sent me this picture this morning of her in one of the palaces after it was cleared out of Sadam's men

Saturday, June 28, 2003

There will also be people against doing anything for the homeless. And being that you want to help the homeless, and are doing the best job at helping the homeless, you are going to be the target for all their unhappiness. You will just have to develop ways in which to deal with it.

Just think of the homeless debate as a tennis match. You main goal is to keep the ball in the other person's court. That way you are not concerned with counting up points, or with keeping track of who is ahead. Keep the focus of the debate on your opponent. Make you opponent have to do all the work of defending themselves. Let the problem of justifying one's actions be your opponents headache.

Albert Schweitzer never gave an answer to any negative remarks about his work. It prevented negative thoughts from gaining any momentum. I recommend never answering negatively slanted comments about you work. If you stay true to your work, the other people on the sidelines watching the debate will see the negativeness and will regard you as having the upper hand.

I wouldn't try to expose the negative-ness of your opponent yourself, but would rather the opponent admit their negativeness themselves.

To put the ball back in you opponents court,only answer their questions with other questions.

If I have the story right, the famous philosopher Socrates never wrote anything. At least we have nothing in writing, that is his. What we do have is Plato's writings concerning Socrates. That is, we have Socrates self defense against the state of Athens. Regardless of the fact that Socrates lost the debate, and thus, his life, his words were, and still are true.

Socrates had a unique style of debating, which came to be know as the Socratic Method. It is still among the best ways of debating, and to getting your opponent to see and understand what you have to say, by getting them to say if for you.

probably not the best example here, but it gives you an idea -

Opponent: I don't want those dirty people in my neighborhood.

You: Are not all people in this country free to go wherever they want?

Opponent: Not if they're dangerous.

You: What makes them dangerous?

Opponent: Homeless people have been know to commitcrimes, to break into homes.

You: People with homes commit crimes too. Have you ever committed a crime?

Opponent: This isn't about me.

You: Oh, I think it is. Responded by Kevin aka The Homeless Guy
Main Entry: pros·e·ly·tize
1 : to induce someone to convert to one's faith
2 : to recruit someone to join one's party, institution, or cause
to recruit or convert especially to a new faith, institution, or cause

First, I would like to know where on the webpage we have stated we are wanting to convert anyone to a faith? We have never made that claim. We did say this is a faith-based program. Yes, we are a ministry. But we have always said that we work with people where they are at the time and do not try to force any religion on a person. Yes, we do talk about our faith in God and our relationship with God to our friends. When we have taken people with us to Church, it is by their request. We don't turn anyone away because they don't believe as we do. We don't try to cram religion down their throat. Those who want more knowledge of God and Christianity, we witness and minister to them. Those who don't, we still provide help and friendship. All people should be deserving of kindness, friendship and love (even the Bible teaches us that.) We accept everyone for who they are, not how Williamsburg wants them to be. Obviously, this town wants the homeless to remain homeless. If this wasn't the case, you wouldn't fight against a shelter or constantly condem them. People come to Christ when they are ready and when they want to make that commitment. It needs to be their desire for a relationship with God because it is a personal choice. Not a standard set by man.

Even though we will have a chapel on-site, it will not be required attendance. If you force somebody to do something they are not ready for, they run or rebel against it.

Secondly, what is wrong with witnessing to a person of how God has helped in one's life? For many we have talked with, it gives them hope. God is awesome and provides to us daily. So why should we not praise Him for all that He does? Take a look at the national educational system and ask any Pastor their opinion. I have heard many speak on how, when the Commandments and prayer in school were removed, crime rate and values in our school system were greatly affected.

Thirdly, ESH also has a chapel on grounds. Since they are a state owned facility, and as you say about separation of church and state, why haven't you questioned them about this?

Lastly, yes a church in SC sponsors us as our fiscal parent. That does not mean they support us monetarily. Grove Outreach is also sponsored fiscally by a church. Will your tax dollars go to support the shelter? Only what the government allows through state and national grants. If Pres. Bush can see the importance of faith based programs, why can't you? Responded by Patti McKenzie

LAST WORD 6/28/03

WHI: I have requested for many to respond to the articles below. I will post the responses as they come in.

"The McKenzie's have made it clear on their website that they will proselytize to those seeking help at their homeless shelter. That would be fine at a private institution, but ESH is state-owned. Do we still have separation of church and state, or will our tax dollars go to support the out-of-state church that sponsors Williamsburg Homeless & Indigent?

"I hope the state and James City will not allow the homeless to be housed at ESH. Such housing will attract them from all over, and these people should not be on ESH grounds. As the crime rate increases, patients are likely to be blamed. I can see the patients' freedom to exercise their hard-earned privilages will be curtailed as a result. Who is going to pay for the renovation of Building 27? Who will pay for on-going maintenance, staffing and the day-to-day support for the homeless? Will the homeless get their medical care from the already overtaxed Olde Towne Medical Center?"

Friday, June 27, 2003

I always enjoy going to Kevin's web blog because he opens others eyes. Not as somebody who is homeless, but with logic, faith and compassion. As he knows and over 900,000 other people across the US, homelessness ' plight is hard, but not impossible, to get beyond. Here is an excerpt from his website.

A Flawed Theory

Many Rescue Missions work on the belief that people choose to be homeless, and with this idea, they approach homelessness as a matter of behavior. The focus of their work, then, is an attempt to modify homeless people's behavior. They also believe that homeless people, when given a choice, will most often take the path of least resistance. Therefore, they take steps to make homeless life, especially life at the mission, more difficult, more "uncomfortable," than non-homeless life. By doing this they believe they are encouraging/motivating homeless people to return to mainstream society.

But this theory starts to unravel as soon as the question is asked, "Why do people choose to be homeless?" Many in the rescue mission industry recoil at the very question.

Consider: When a person breaks his leg, he first experiences extreme pain. He can no longer walk. To fix the leg this person must first see a doctor. The doctor will examine the injury, determine it's source, set the bone, rap the leg in a cast, and give him pain killers. The doctor will then order this patient to get plenty of rest, and to stay off the leg as much as possible while it begins to heal. After a period of time the patient can start working the leg, slowly at first, rebuilding its strength. Eventually, the patient can stop taking the pain killers, and the cast can come off. Still the leg is not up to full strength and is susceptible to re-injury. Long after the initial injury, the patient must continue to be cautious - protective of the leg.

Now, when a man breaks his leg he chooses to stay off his feet, and as his leg heals he chooses to walk with a limp, favoring the leg - correct? In a way, yes, but for a reason. There is a reason he chooses to stay off his injury. One reason is because he is trying to help his leg heal. Another reason it because it probably hurts like hell.

When the question is asked, "Why did the person choose to be homeless?" the answer is, "because he is injured." Just as man avoids to put the full weight of his body on his leg because it is injured, a homeless man avoids taking on the full weight of life because he, too, is injured. Viewing homelessness as a symptom of injury, instead of a symptom of behavior, should shift the emphasis in rehabilitation away from behavior modification toward treatment of the injury.

Consider: If a kid has a penchant for climbing high into trees, you may want to change that behavior before he gets hurt. But once he's fallen out of the tree, telling him to stop climbing trees isn't going to reset his now broken leg.

Every human function requires energy. It is obvious that digging a ditch requires physical energy. But fighting off a cold also requires physical energy, which is not so obvious. Humans expell other energy that isn't so obvious. There is emotional energy. When you fall in love, your emotional energy soars, but if you are constantly harassed at work you become emotionally drained - leading most likely to depression. There is also Spiritual energy. By the Grace of God you may see life and all its glory, and feel energized by the experience. But you can also experience tragedy, perhaps the loss of a loved one, which takes away your Spiritual energy, and you begin to doubt.

Overcoming homelessness is the most difficult thing I've ever done. It takes every bit of energy to get through the experience. And, many people try and fail at getting out of homelessness because they just didn't have the energy for it. It will certainly try you, physically, emotionally, and Spiritually.

So, now, here you have your basic homeless person, injured and trying to recuperate, and working to get out of homelessness, using all his available energy, and you put him into a rescue mission that is, by design, difficult and uncomfortable to live in. Instead of helping the homeless person overcome his problems, most of what they, rescue missions, do only aggravates his injuries, preventing him from healing.

And people wonder why rescue missions are unsuccessful at getting people out of homelessness?

Chris - I hope this answers your question.

posted by kevin @ Thursday, June 26, 2003

Yes, Dave and Mary arrived in town 3 weeks ago, but they have not been here that amount of time. For most of the time, they were at Carolyn Court. Then when Pastor Dave, from Williamsburg United Methodist contacted us for help, we made arrangements for them elsewhere. Dave was to start a job at Farm Fresh this past Sunday and Mary worked at Quality Inn. When they called Mary's sister for help with money to get an apartment, they found out she was having severe heart problems and was in the hospital. They were able to get to her sister's bedside, and when she was stable, came back to Williamsburg. Unfortunately, they were not able to hold their jobs. But, Mary within a day was able to secure another job and Dave is waiting to hear from applications he has submitted.

Now, in the deal we worked out with our landlord, we may allow somebody to stay on our property for three days per month. So far, we have not violated that and where Mary secured a job, they are able to work out lodging at her job as well. Even prior to the interview, Dave and Mary planned on leaving and going to their new 'home.'

In regards to the building at ESH, we had told David (the reporter) the process for potentially getting the building. THIS IS NOT AN OFFER MADE TO US YET! We must research Zoning first. If at that time we get approved by Zoning, the building will then have to be offered to all other NPO first. If nobody wants it, then it will have to be approaved by the State for it's use. If that is approaved, it will be offered to us. This is a long procedure, but not an offer yet. Again, this was stated before hand.

Monday, June 23, 2003

This is an email I received early this afternoon. The writer also submitted it to the Last Word at VA Gazette.

Patti McKenzie Is Deserving
When I saw the Last Word this weekend regarding other charities being more deserving, it made me question why they felt this way. Were they meaning the homeless weren't deserving of help? Or are they implying Patti McKenzie and her efforts aren't deserving? Many people still think all homeless people are either drunks or druggies. But, I and my husband are one of the homeless Patti has been working with and helping with our problems and neither of us drink or do drugs. We turned to all the other agencies, including Social Services and HIP in Williamsburg, yet we were given no assistance, except from Patti and the Churches she works together with. I have a full time job and so does my husband. But, because of past problems with our credit, we can not find a place to rent. We have the money to afford rent monthly, yet we don't have the credit to secure a place. We are just one of many Patti helps and most of them don't have drug or alcohol problems either. Homelessness doesn't discriminate, unfortunately the people do. There are many reasons in Williamsburg that people are homeless. People have been laid off or lost their jobs due to cut backs and are homeless. A man who was a top seller with a timeshare agency, who had medical problems and was out of work for weeks, almost became homeless and saught help to stop it before he was on the streets. He couldn't get help either from the agencies. An executive of Williamsburg knows his son is homeless, but he doesn't agree with his son's sexual preference. A lady lost everything because her money was stolen along with her car. Because of the length of time to get the money and car returned to her, she was already on the streets. And yes, there are some who drink. But, one of the homeless, who Patti also worked with, is off of alcohol and has given his life back to the Lord. If the latter doesn't show we are a deserving group of people, what makes you deserving? I pay taxes like you do, take care of my child and makes sure she gets an education and work 40 hours a week.
Many don't realize there are over 40 people Patti works with that have similar situations like mine. But, what is going to happen when Carolyn Court closes in December or Five Forks is sold or the other weekly motels that we stay in shut down. How many homeless do you think there will be then? Will we be deserving at that time?
ESH facility eyed for homeless shelter
Over the weekend, our local newspapers published our story for the hopes of a homeless shelter. Unfortunately, I can't get a weblink to VA Gazette's story, but above is a link to The Daily Press.

Although I haven't written about Greta's experience, I am trying to arrange police escort for her to go to NN and retrieve her belongings. Greta's fiancé's contacted me last week because she was scheduled to exit Eastern State Hospital and had nowhere to go. I picked her up the next day and after getting some food, we went to her father's home to see if she could stay until she was able to get back on her feet. Greta is a very bright Interior Decorator, yet has past problems of depression and post traumatic syndrome. A few years ago, she was beaten beyond recognition and close to death, trying to protect her newborn baby. This nightmare continues to haunt her. Her parents disagrees with the medications she takes for her fears and it has caused a conflict with her seeking safety at their home. Although her father was reluctant, he agreed to help her, since she would be on the streets if he didn't take her in. But, seven weeks ago, at a place in NN where she was staying, when she went to get her possessions, her and her fiancé were brutally beaten by a patron at an unregistered 'safe haven.' Today she wants to go get her belongings and since things have been stable with her father, he agreed to take her. But, we can not take the chance of another beating by the people at the house, so NN police will be assisting with their attempt to gain back her belongings.

Will blog later about their success.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

I have wonderful and joyous news! I was baptized today! Even though I accepted Christ as my Savior at a young age, being raised in an atheist family, I was never allowed to talk about my relationship and love for God. After my Mother passed, I felt I was free to talk about my everlasting faith in God, but still wanted to find a church I could call home. This is not a decision I take lightly and refused to join a church only because they wanted me. For 3 years I searched and prayed and even when we moved to Williamsburg, my search continued. I desperately wanted to be baptized but knew this was an important decision and needed to be where God wanted me. Today, after Geoff and I prayed together to know if York River Baptist was the place for us, the Holy Spirit moved me (to the point I practically knocked my husband and his son over) to go before the congregation and proclaim my faith. There were many signs pulling me and I couldn't get up the aisle fast enough. The fear I had once had of coming before a congregation was removed and tears freely ran as I approached Pastor Bill. When I had seen in the bulletin that the baptism at the river was this afternoon, all I could think was "They can't do it without me, I want to be part of this dedication! Pastor Bill was speaking to me by the Holy Spirit." So even though I was 4 when I privately took Christ into my heart, today I publicly testified my faith and love! Now, I can truly call all Christians my brother and sister and know my family is the best family under God. Patti (your sister in Christ)
The Last Word Sat. 21,03

"Eastern State Hospital is in negotiations to give a building to a nonprofit group for a homeless shelter. It will require substantial amount of money to repair the building to meet safe occupancy standards. Does ESH have any standrds when it comes to letting groups have buildings rent free? Does it check if organizations have the funds to renovate and maintain the building? The group in question recently received non-profit status, has no experience and little money. Shouldn't non-profits have a proven track record and financial stability before being considered? There are many more deserving charities in town that pay rent to others that would welcome the opportunity for a rent-free building."

Our Response:

To the person who wrote into the Last Word on Saturday questioning our experience, ESH criteria, and our funds.
1) Almost all non-profits start off with a zero balance in the beginning. That is why fundraisers and donations are an important and required part of their planning and activities. Knowing that we were going to be sponsored by a fiscal parent, we could have moved forward with requesting donations, but we wanted to wait until Church Builders had our tax number: many other non-profits don't wait and have to go back to complete paperwork for tax-deductible donations. Having your non-profit status is part of ESH's criteria before they will negotiate a lease.
2) You say there are "more deserving" charities in town that pay rent: they will be given the opportunity to accept the building, as they have been previously, before it can be offered to us. But, you obviously didn't listen at the last meeting, because, part of our plan is to offer space to one of the non-profit medical clinics, rent free! This wil not only cut their over-head, but will allow us to offer free medical treatment to our patrons. Part of our stated goal is to coordinate the assistance offered by all the organizations together for the betterment of the homeless and working poor who have nowhere to live. I am part of the Taskforce for the Homeless along with the local CSB's, United Way, Salvation Army, concerned citizens and local churches. This is an effort we are all working together on.
3) We never said that it would be inexpensive to bring the building up to Life and Safety Codes: but even still, the cost is less than buying or building a facility of this size elsewhere. Many other churches and organizations in town have offered contracting services to aid in this endeavor. People with whom we currently work with have volunteered to help with the upgrades, as have many volunteers from other states. Why do we believe we can achieve this upgrade? Because others have shown the way:
James City Community Church was transformed from 'the sticky theater' into the Church it is now, all by donated work and money.
Avalon raised over 1 million dollars for their capital campaign through donations.
So, why would we think we would not be able to do the same?
4) You ask about our experience or lack thereof, as you claim? Each member of our Board of Directors has a great amount of experience in the areas they will handle in the ministry:
Linda Wall has many years of experience in government policies and in the past has been homeless herself.
Susan Cooke, who is the manager at Kitchens Collections, has experience working with people who are in need and has honed her managment skills for years.
Elizabeth Goff has dedicated many hours to shelters in Richmond and currently works in the ER at a Richmond hospital.
Hadyn Rickett, who is a rising sophmore at W&M, has volunteered at shelters in Alexandria and DC for many years and was a dedicated member on W&M's SHARPE and Hunger program.
Anne Moore, although she is not on the Board, will play an intricate role in our mentoring program. She is retired from the Stephen Ministeries, but has over 8 years experience in ministering to people who need spiritual help.
Geoff McKenzie, my husband, was raised in the enviroment of his parents' working in and helping to establish rescue missions in NY and SC, not ot mention growing up in the home of a minister and graduating from a reknowned Bible College.
Williamsburg United Methodist and York River Baptist Churches, whose Outreach Ministries hold a seat on our Board, have many years of practical experience in reaching out to those who need help. And,
Wanda Brown and Andre Williams have the experience of being homeless in Williamsburg and overcoming their challenges to enabling themselves to get off the streets. They now dedicate their lives to helping others.
Personally, I have been working with the homeless since I was a child (4 years old, actually).
But, what is most important is that we all have the compassion, heart, and desire to see the homeless "better themselves," and we all have a dedicated relationship with God.
ESH, who has brought a shelter closer to a reality than a vision, has served the community for over 230 years. Their concern for bettering patrons, including the homeless, is well documented. Mr. Favret, not only cares about the patrons at the facility, but also the homeless within our area. He knows the obstacles patrons face and ESH continuosly reaches out for their betterment within our society. Study the history of ESH and you will find a homeless shelter on their property makes the most sense and is a deserving site.
During colonial times in Williamsburg, the vagabonds, vagrants and idle persons made up a part of this society that were helped by the local residents. Thomas Jefferson, during his time in Williamsburg and Bruton Parish felt and proclaimed it was the responsibility of all people to reach out to the poor and needy under God's Word. As a matter of fact, Bruton Parish was the first known 'homeless shelter' in Williamsburg in the mid 1700's. As Christians, we need to follow their model to help anyone in need. During colonial times, not all homeless were drunks or addicts as the same goes for today. Their situations vary, but they lack a home to call their own and many lack hope.

Some are still unaware of the homeless in our city and some don't realize the rising problem, with the few 'weekly motels' that the working homeless live in, that will be closing within the year, will bring to Williamsburg, left with nowhere to go and few choices of affordable housing available to them.

Besides, at one time or another, all people started off with "no experience." But, despite this, they still have brought their talents together to help others. Being a non- profit isn't about having the most power, money, or experience, but, rather, centers around having a common goal and the desire to make a difference for the common good of one particular group.

Patti McKenzie, Executive Director/Founder Williamsburg's Homeless & Indigent, P.O. Box 366, Williamsburg, VA 23090

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Letter Geoff and I Received In Our Mailbox Yesterday

This letter was mailed to us, Monday night, AFTER our meeting. It was unsigned and no return address. Obviously, the person feels they are bold in writing it, but not enough to stand behind it! But, we know who sent it. The letter is as follows:
Many wish to perform God's work on earth and to become a true vessel of God, but few will achieve it. Working for God has become an ego booster for too many workers. It is used to justify actions and words that are hurtful or harmful, because "I am doing God's work, so what I do God does." Proclaiming oneself God's vessel is lifting oneself above the ordinary workers, at least in your own eyes. It makes one feel important and elevated above others.
Truly being a vessel of God requires humility and acceptance. The vessel does not need to boast to the world; it will become apparent through actions. A vessel does not state what God's will and God's plans are; only God knows that. You may pray and give thanks and offerings on a continual basis and love Jesus with all your heart, but that does not mean that what you want will become God's plan. It is arrogant to think that just because you want something, God will give it to you or make it happen.
If things are going according to God's plans, He does not cause your words and actions to turn others against you and His work. That is your own doing due to your own pride. If you do not learn to humble yourself, God may find a way to do it for you.
The true vessels that have helped others have not thought themselves better than others, but actually beneath others. They are thankful for what God has done for them, without demanding more. When you can quietly work and know what you are doing is right, then you MAY become a vessel of God.

Our Response:

To the writer (who does not have the courage to reveal his and her name),

There is a great difference between a wish and a desire. The Bible says "He will grant you the desires of your heart." It is with this promise in mind that we seek to keep our desires pure before Him. On a personal level, we don't pride ourselves on being a vessel of God; but we just humbly stay out of His way so He may work through us. God says of Himself, "I am a jealous God, and will not share my glory with another." We are mindful of this when we seek continuously to give Him glory.
As to boasting of God's plans, etc: It is our utmost desire that God will be glorified through us. It is He who has directed us, even in small details such as posting the web-page so that others may pray with us and rejoice in the victories He wins for the Kingdom. God forgives us if we are arrogant. God will also forgive you for judging.
I grant you that the Proverbs say that, "When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even His enemies to be at peace with Him." However, the New Testament says that the Gospel is an offence. Peter, standing before the Sanhedrin said, "Whom shall we obey? God or man?" In like manner, I ask you, "Whom shall we obey?The general populace who would not have a shelter or God?" If the world is offended that God would save the homeless, then may God save the hearts of those who are offended.
As to being "beneath" others: the root of the word "deacon" means "through the dust." When you have slipped and fallen into the 'bathrooms' of the people to whom you are bringing food to and have gone home smelling of feces and have returned again the next day (knowing the chance of falling again is likely) or refuse to take an umbrella when it is pouring outside, because you are no better than they are and if they are wet so are you; write to us then about humility. But this is not to our glory, but God's. We do not demand more of God for ourselves except that He would use us more tomorrow than today.
In conclusion, quietness in proclaiming the gospel? How shall they hear with out a preacher? A quiet spirit and a quiet mouth do not go hand and hand! "Doth not wisdom cry, and undestanding put forth her voice?" "She cries at the gates." We are not ashamed of Christ, nor will we be. So I beseech you, see what God will have you to do with your life and if it is to join in our efforts, we will welcome you.
Patti and Geoff McKenzie
Monday's meeting was very exciting and a longer turnout than before. Mr. Favret was available to help answer questions in regards to the process that will hopefully lead to the signing of a lease on Building 27 at Eastern State Hospital. But, unfortunately, before we can get to the signing of a lease, by requirements, they have to offer the building to all other NPO's here and if everyone turns it down, we can proceed. So, now everyone knows who it was I approached about a building, Eastern State Hospital. We have their support for our ministry. The next step is to talk with John Horne regarding zoning., which I did today. He asked if I could call around to other new shelters in Virginia to see how they are zoned, because our zoning doesn't have any codes that cover a homeless shelter in James City County. And to contact him back when I can give him some contacts he can speak with. So we are moving closer. It may end up that we have to have a public hearing for re-zone.


John Favret
Hospital Director
4601 Ironbound Road
Williamsburg, VA 23187

Dear Mr. Favret:
As all of Williamsburg knows, in the past, there have been several attempts to establish a homeless
shelter within our community. All attempts have failed due to improper zoning and “not in my backyard”
attitude. In our efforts to help to the homeless in Williamsburg, it has become obvious that a shelter is a vital
necessity. This would provide a solution to many of the obstacles they face while trying to become
productive members of the community again.
After hearing the stories of others’ attempts and failures, logic had to prevail: so we looked at the
variety of motels that were for sale. But God had a different plan for the homeless and kept leading me back
to Eastern State Hospital. With the idea of requesting an empty building on the State’s property, I attended
the public meeting in April, 2003. As you may recall, during this meeting, I approached you about my
request and, yes, was highly laughed at. At the end of the meeting, even a former patient, who now works
part-time at ESH, acknowledged in her speech that a homeless shelter is needed in Williamsburg, with the
final remark, “Give her a building, Eastern State!”
The following week, Mr. Marty Kline offered me a tour of ESH and specifically Building 27. From the
moment I entered the building, I knew it is where God intends the shelter to be located. Logically, it is the
only area in Williamsburg that would meet the criteria for our vision of a shelter, would bypass the
“out-of-sight, out-of-mind” mentality toward the homeless, and be readily re-zoned. We have completed our
501(c)3 status and are now ready to move forward with our plans. Therefore, I come once again to request
the use of Building 27 for our homeless refuge. Considering the massive upgrades for the Life and Safety
Codes and the repairs that are needed, we request that ESH implement the procedures necessary for
approval so we can start renovations.
I have included our background of who we are, our mission statement, and our proposed ministry
program for the shelter on the additional pages that follow. Thank you for making this incredible offer to us,
your efforts in supporting our ministry, and the efforts you at ESH continually make to help others in need.

Patti McKenzie
cc: Mr. Marty Kline

Saturday, June 14, 2003

"Monday's Upcoming Meeting"

Last week Maxine, a lady we work with often, had contacted me about having another meeting. Although I enjoy our meetings, in some ways I had become discouraged because the turn outs have been few. She had been talking to many of the people who work, but have nowhere to live and agreed that banded together, we can make a difference in the community! Which is ironic since I had just received an email from our Senator who recently won the elections in our area stating "Thanks for all your encouragement. Now, let's see if we can do some good for the community!" So God's Will was for a meeting. Then later in the week, the meeting took a turn for greater news. Our NPO status came through and we could move forward in requesting a building as a shelter.

I immediately contacted the media, who have been waiting to break this story and said "time to go to press! Are you ready for our story?" Although we have had media coverage in the past, now we can at least announce we are legitimate and it isn't just us any longer, but a force of people who have all come together for the love and concern of the homeless, the poor, and the needy. God has brought us all together by His guiding hand. We are made up of people who have been homeless, law makers, ministers, volunteers and concerned citizens; we are Williamsburg's Homeless & Indigent, Inc.
"Dave and Mary"

Last week, Pastor Dave from our local Methodist Church contacted me about a couple he had in his office needing help. Now, this is a switch, since I usually contact him about people we need help for. Unfortunately, the Church had run out of funds (and some being my fault for calling upon them so much) and he really didn't want to turn this couple away. They had been staying in one of the weekly motels here and was inbetween paychecks, so they had to leave. "I am really impressed with this couple Patti and the desire they have expressed to get back on their feet is strong. Can you help?" "Of course" I told him, "that is our job and responsibility under God." Immediately I jumped on the phone and found a place for them until this upcoming week. Later, Mary and Dave, when I was able to meet them, told me Pastor Dave had commented on how I work 'outside of the box'. How I don't let others stop me. Although Pastor Dave and I have discussed this before, because I don't do the work, God does. I am His vessel. Without Him, it would be humanly impossible, as many others have tried before me.

Mary has a job at a hotel and Dave has put several applications in. He isn't use to not being able to provide and after last year of having to leave his job and go to FL to help care for a sick family member, he and Mary came back home to Williamsburg, with nowhere to live and no income. But, finally one of the jobs he applied for has come through, as of today. So, he will be starting work soon himself. Now, we just need to find them a permanent place to live, yet it needs to be on the busline. But, God does come through.
"First Things First"

HI KEVIN!!!!! Glad to see you are back (aka the homeless guy)! Other than being sick and busy getting our NPO status, I have thought about you and how you were doing in Tenn. Sorry I didn't email and glad I didn't call the hotel, since you were gone. To everyone else out there, my love and concern is not only the homeless in Williamsburg, but everywhere! Kevin, the more you talk about the mission in Tenn., the more we want you to come up here and help with ours, the way a shelter should be. We are glad you are at least 'ok.'
Thank you Blogger.com, for finally getting the server moved over so we can once again blog and upload! It took awhile, but the wait was well worth it. HAHA, just as I say "thank you" my site went all wacky. Since it has been hard for me to blog and the server being up and down for the past few weeks, I have a lot to catch up on. So I am going to dedicate an hour to blogging before I go out downtown.
Church Builders

Thank you Pastor Jim and our new ministry 'parents', Church Builders in Spartanburg, SC! Although we are still waiting for our actually 'kit' to come in, we have our NPO# and EIN#, thanks to Church Builders, who took us into their ministry as a child npo. So now, we can move forward to implement the establishment of a shelter in Williamsburg.

We are in phase I of getting a homeless shelter! A little over a month ago, I had approach a company about using one of their empty buildings so the homeless would have a place to go. A couple of days later, they had one of their directors contact me to look at a building. From the moment I walked in, I knew it was it! God, as always, was right when he led me to this company. So, I at least wanted to give everyone a sneak peak at the building, that will be the future site for our ministry and the homeless in Williamsburg, if all goes well and according to God's plan!

Friday, June 06, 2003

For the past week, Geoff and I kept wondering where "R" had gone. Geoff would look daily for him when he would go out to work. And since I have been sick, I stayed home and eagerly looked at the caller ID each time the phone rang. Typically, we would hear from him 2-3 times a day, if we hadn't seen him. The last time he came over was for his birthday a few weeks ago. I had made him a cake and we were grilling out dinner. He called to check on his Mother, who just had surgery and wanted to see how she was. Unfortunately, she had to go back into the hospital and "R" forgot all about his birthday and had Geoff rush him to her side. After staying by her side, day and night for almost a week, she was transferred to Newport News for therapy. "R" again started calling us and wanted help to go to NN to get his social security card and see his Mom. "All I want is a job, because I promised my Mom I was gonna get my life back together." I downloaded the paperwork he needed for SS Card and the next day we were suppose to fill it out, take it to their office and he was going to come over to eat and clean up.

We got a phone call last night from a quasi-homeless guy, who let us know "R" was in the hospital. "R" was the first guy we worked with and many times our success and many times our failure, but through it all, he became our best friend. Doesn't that seem odd, that a homeless person could be your best friend? No! We don't judge people, especially for where they live, how much they make, or what they have.

He had been complaining to us about having a hard time breathing and he thought it was allergies. A few nights ago, by what he told us on the phone last night, it had become so bad, that he rode his bike to the hospital, falling off several times from dizziness and praying the whole way there to let him live and give him another chance at life. He had congestive heart failure and has a blood-clot in his lung. They can't remove the clot, so they are trying to thin it out. He will now be on permanent disability and must live with somebody for 24 hr care, so he is going to Waverly to live with his sister. In 6 months, if his heart hasn't improved, he will be on a transplant list.

But, no more drinking, if he wants to live and he has accepted that. He has been able to see his family (as they have rallied around him in prayer) and his children everyday. Now since he is out of the ICU, he can have other visitors, as well. They are expecting him to leave tomorrow to move to Waverly.As I sit here typing this, I cry for many reasons. Crying because the night this happened, we were suppose to pick him up to come over for dinner, but Geoff couldn't find him (he must have already been going to the hospital.) Crying out of happiness that he is getting a second chance. Crying because he finally has realized how much his family does love him, just not the alcohol. Crying because of the pain and loneliness he went through on what seemed to be a long bike ride, yet only 2 blocks from the abandon house he lived in. And selfishly, crying because our best friend will be moving over an hour away.

As we all know, Satan controls many forces of evil, but God saw through to "R" heart and kept picking him up onto the bike to reach out for help. So maybe it took Satan for him to hit full rock bottom, to get his life back together and off the streets, but it took God to hear his cry for help.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

I just hung up the phone from speaking with Pastor Jim, at Church Builders, in SC. Great news! We are now only 4 days away from having our NPO status. I am still feeling sick, so unfortunately, I don't have much energy to type. Please pray for my health and I will blog later.

Monday, June 02, 2003

ALLO! I'am the the r ed headed brit your mum warned you about.I also have a Wallace attitude as well. I was just thinking of my childhood: how I thought of the world around me. I was always the cause and effect method. I was about 4 yrs old when I took a walk-a-bout to a maket place in Bradon, near Ipwich in England. I had brought with me a pouch of my Dad's farthens and pennes. I sat in a door way and mapped my plan I was about to excute. I placed a few coins on the walk way as If someone had dropped and lost their change. Then I sat back in the door way and I patiently waited, (I did say I patiently waited remember I was only 4 yrs. old.) I had a colouring crayon and a small writting pad to write the findings. Well I saw my first subject Mrs. Blandso from Surry (she was a nanny to the family down the way.) I watched her strun face walking soldier-like and then slowly turn to look around. She dropped down and pick up one of the farhtens look at it turn it around and then dropped it back on to the walk way . Next I put out a few 12 ps a 1/2 crown and then waited a bobby and a preist from my own parish not ownly picked it up they both pocketed the coins without even checking around for owners. Tell to this wounder is a coin of lesser value. Is it less of a find because of its value? Or is the coin of more value more applealing in it amount / I was told that both were spendable. Now whats my point You think about it apparances can be deceiving . And amount of any thing is not just by appearance only. You can think on... Oh by the way I am Blogging for Patti but you'll know because of the spelling...

Sunday, June 01, 2003

What a great day for Patti and me... She is in bed now with some type of cold/flu, but managed to join me at York River Baptist Church this morning after I attended the 9 o'clock service at James City Community Church. Pastor Som Goins (JCCC) taught on how to keep love alive in a marriage: the salient point is "to submit." No, that doesn't apply only to women. If you look at Eph. 5, but just a little earlier you will see that we are taught to submit ourselves one to another and consider others better than ourselves. How apt is that as pertaining to giving ourselves to ministering to the needs of the wretched and poor of Williamsburg? Pastor Bill (YRBC) brought a good message titled "Is it real or is it Memorex?" as regards our Faith. It was a good challenge to believers, and to those who think they are true believers, to make sure they are really actively growing in their Faith. Our congratulations to them as they celebrate their twentieth anniversary next week!

This afternoon at 4 PM we had a meeting where we introduced the first segment of the board for our "soon-to-be" homeless shelter. We were honored to have Senator Tommy Norment as one of our guests. He took copious notes as we discussed our plans and ideas, and the challenges that lie ahead of us as we progress with tenacity towards this goal. I only hope that he left with a positive take on what we are attempting.

Linda Wall, Norment's former opponent for the senatorial position, also joined us. She has been a fervrent supporter for quite awhile now and and brought some good (and big) ideas forward concerning what can be done at the state level to help the homeless across the state. Whereas we are focusing "narrowly" on Williamsburg alone, we do admire her wider views and welcome any help she can bring to the table. It was obvious to us that she has the heart to feel for these people and the pluck to rise to the occasion, should we need to call on her.

Members of the board who were present were Wanda Brown, Susan Cooke, and Hadyn Rickett. Andre Williams and Elizabeth Goff were detained by work, but Ms. Goff's children were present to accept her appointment. The specific positions these members will hold shall be announced later, but each has been invited to join us because of their passion regarding what we desire to accomplish and the individual talents they bring to the table. We congratulate them on their appointments and thank them for accepting this responsibility.

The focus of the meeting was, as usual, changed on the spot because "you" didn't show-up. We would welcome even detractors to join us: "in the midst of many counsellors is wisdom." The more people we have present, the more ideas we can field, the more answers we can provide both to the detractors and to the challenges facing us. But, since we were just the core group, Patti led an open discussion on what we envision to be the "mission of our mission:" to take "Les Miserables" into our shelter and to help them to merge back into the mainstream of life with solid job and social skills, a consistent walk with God, and egos still intact. Also discussed was the stigma that follows the homeless everywhere: addictions. I was quick to point out that among us were several people who had not chosen lifestyles that led to homelessness, but rather that, one had chosen homelessness over living with his drug-dealing mother, one was rendered homeless by a robbery that stripped her of all her earthly goods, one had been homeless because of her parents' negligence, one family lost their home when the father died without a will and the Commonwealth of Virginia took their home, one lost his job due to a major surgery and nearly lost his home (which opened his eyes to how easily it could happen to anyone), and I myself was homeless because of losing my house in a divorce. We do not deny that some homeless people have addictions, but we assiduously affirm that "even they" need help. To be sure, we can offer more help than the bridge, the woods, and "Greyhound therapy" can offer.

Patti has a full day tomorrow and needs your prayers. She is meeting with Pastor Bill of York River Baprtist Church, Pastor Dave of Williamsburg United Methodist Church, and with the leaders of the Grove Outreach Ministry. And that doesn't even include the paper-work, phone calls, being sick, etc.

I would encourage you who visit this site regularly to get off the sidelines and join us. After all, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" Why not join His cause? If you travel, save the unopened toiletry items from your hotel and donate them. If you're cleaning out your closet, donate your extra clothes and hangers. If you're a teacher, talk to Patti about helping teach reading to the illiterate or prepping people for their GED's. If you have extra games or excercise equipment, we need them. Racks for hanging clothes, couches, chairs, microwaves, toasters, broilers, books, Bibles, backpacks, etc., etc., etc. Use your field of influence to help us help others: tell others. And pray! Above all, please, pray for us. That field of influence is most important. :-)

Finally, thank you, Ann Moore, for your support. We love every moment with you and appreciate your mentoring spirit. Thank you for your aptly timed and spoken words at the meeting today. Just remember that what has been accomplished to date and is to be accomplished in the future is and shall be all God's doing. The praise goes to Him: we are but conduits of His grace. But we are glad you are with us to share in the blessing, for "it is more blessed to give than to receive."

Good night, All! God bless!