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."

Sunday, February 22, 2004


OK, so this is my first post since we moved to our new home in Sept. about a homeless person in detail. First of all, he gave us permission and secondly, he is a Blessing to us!

Back in Dec., one of the local shelters called us to try and get help for a gentleman who call in. His situation is unusual and he was desperate for help ("ok so whose situation isn't unusual and desperate when they are homeless?", I thought.) This man, who is here on a Green-Card from Albania and has been here for 14 years working with his own company as an engineer, pays taxes and loves our Country, was driving down the road on his way to a job. Another man, who was somewhere behind him, had a heart-attack and died at the wheel. Well, you can guess what happen next! The man crushed Leo in his vehicle with basically his whole body of bones broken and a severe brain injury. With no memory of the wreck, his body almost fully casted, no longer with his apartment because he didn't pay the rent while in the hospital and no place to go, he was released onto the streets with a medical debt of over $300K! He had to get a new (used) vehicle, so it gave him somewhat of a place to sleep. But, the weather was getting colder, his body ached, no family nearby and a very broken English language he needed a place.

I told the shelter, "Yes, get him here!" Who is going to fight me on taking a man in this condition into my home in our extra bedroom? Ya right, I forget where I am. The shelter called him back on his cell phone, but couldn't reach him. The police were on stand-by to help with transportation to our home. But, now he was lost. (Turned out that night he went to another shelter and he was robbed of his wallet and cell phone because he couldn't defend himself.) I called around for needs such as a hospital bed, wheelchair, bathroom chair, just to be prepared if they did find him. But, nobody could find him.

Last week, a higher up government office of the Commonwealth of Virginia called me, "Mrs. McKenzie, I am calling from the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have a gentleman who needs help who is homeless and I was told to call you. He is here in Williamsburg at a motel. Do you have a room he can stay in at your home? He isn't qualified for any of our programs by the State and is too sick to be staying at the shelters where he has to leave at 8:00 am and check back in at 4:00 pm. So can you help us for him?" I knew it was Leo! I was thrilled he was no longer lost. But, I was also thrilled because of the avenue that he came to us this time: by God and the Commonwealth of Virginia! Wow, so even the Commonwealth recognizes us for our work and assistance with the homeless...hmmmm. But, because of his thick Greek accent, people were having a hard time understanding him. I had my husband contact him (Geoff, even though he was homeless, speaks several languages fluently, so we figured one way or another, he could communicate with him.) Technically, his English is great, but the accent is the main problem.

I made arrangements to meet him the next day so he could follow me to our home. Now I have to admit, I expected him to still be casted, but he wasn't. He just recently had them removed. But he is in soooo much pain! He has a lot of problem with memory from the brain injury. He is a nice man who now has become scared: scared of shelters, scared of people, scared to drive and scared for his future. He has decided, when this is all finished, he is going back to Albania, which is sad since he loves it so much here. I let him know we set our spare guest bedroom up for him, which he is grateful. It has been so enjoyable talking with him about politics, his engineering jobs, Europe and God. Last week we talked about how he had never been in a situation such as this and he can't get help and is irked since he was totally innocent. And now he will not be able to work for a long time, if not at all.

So does this sound like a homeless person? This is actually the typical person we are friends with or assist. This is also why I say "the faces of homelessness are changing." Yes we have had a few of alcoholic homeless, but they have not been the norm.


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