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, August 25, 2003

To those who do not live here:

This is a response to many who have written into our paper about a homeless shelter and the falling through of Building 27 on our mental institution's campus.

John Favret, Marty Kline and John Joyce were all upfront and honest about the difficulties with Building 27 and bringing it up to code. They informed us of each problem we would face in regards to reconnecting the water line, heating of the building, the doors passing fire code, the updating of blueprints, sprinkler systems and the asbestos. This was never seen as a problem to us, because other buildings in Wsburg needed as much repair and funding and has been made available. Avalon even at one time needed as much funding for their capital funds and surpassed the amount requested. If anything was going to be a challenge, it was the re-zoning of the building. Please do not pass judgment on any employee of ESH and the claim that we were not informed. This is not true.

I would dispute the safety of the patients on ESH's facility grounds. The many times patients have left the grounds, walking down Ironbound in assorted costumes/attire have become well known. Many of the homeless we work with, show no threat to the community. If this was the case, why aren't they turned away from the churches where they fellowship at or fired from their jobs where they work? Building 27 is distant enough from the other buildings where patients are housed. And many that are homeless don't want to cause trouble. They have enough to be concerned about in their existence. They just want a place to sleep, food to eat, a friend to talk with and a job.

With the upcoming closings of Southern Inn, Carolyn Court, Five Forks and early layoffs at CW, Williamsburg is heading for a poverned situation that many have not experienced before. Tourism has decreased in the past couple of years, the smaller motels are selling out to larger chains, the rich are getting richer and the poor are ending up with a lack of affordable housing; with all this mind, which would you prefer: helping through support of donations to a shelter or passing the many that will be on the streets asking for money? Would you rather read your church's financial report to see how much they pay for weekly motel rooms or help fund a stable building under a faith based program for people to receive help? Many feel it is up to the local Social Services, but as a Christian you should know without God, nothing succeeds.

You think that if guests or parents of college students knew there were homeless in our area that W&M would shut down or tourism would fall. Tourism has already fallen, at no fault of the homeless. Several of the W&M students already donate their time to shelters and foodbanks many miles away from campus, since there isn't a shelter locally. Speak with any member of SHARPE or Hunger program at W&M and you will find they would be proud to give time to a shelter in Wsburg. Speak with their parents, whether they understand it or not, they appreciate their child's heart to help those in need. Besides most parents would prefer their child to help at a shelter than to work at Hooters!

Many think the homeless is made up of drunks and druggies that have caused their lack of hope and housing. This is also untrue. To prove this, we recently worked with a person who once lived in Kingsmill. And ironically enough, a neighbor on our street has recently come to us for help. We also know of cases where people, who were once homeless, are now store managers, owners, executives, a county supervisor and government nominees. You may not know this because of their fear to speak out due to the stigma connected with being homeless. But if you did know, would you still vote for them, work for them or shop at their store? We avoid many out of fear of their situation only because we are scared we could be next. Today, nobody is secured from being homeless and many are only a paycheck away from being homeless. Wouldn't you feel less scared that if it happened to you, their was somebody willing to help you without questions, without fear and only out of their heart or would you rather be turned down because you are over qualified, at one time made too much money and only to have your family ripped apart in two different shelters miles apart?

We have already helped others to get off the street and into homes. We have helped to reunite families. And we have opened many people's eyes to the situation on the street. All through God's love. Whose love do you want: man's or God's? Whose law do you follow: man's or God's? All we ask is to have a chance in Wsburg.


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