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."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Empty Nest Syndrome

Most parents have 3 major celebrations in their life when it comes to their children: 1) when their bundle of joy is born 2) when they graduate and go to college 3) when they get married and leave the home to become somebody else’s responsibility. With me, since technically the people we assist are not my children per se, I don't get to experience the first 2, yet the 3rd has always been hard for me. Even though the goal is to eventually get a person or family into a home, I typically end up crying (both for joy and separation.) Many Directors or other people who work with the homeless I know don't get personally or emotionally attached with the clients. But, with me, it is totally hands on work...their problems become my problems and vice versa. At Lightfoot we lived as a family, with all the family dynamics (including sibling rivalry) so everyone became an extension of the other. If somebody found out some bad news, we all felt their pain or we rejoiced when a great event happened in one's life, even if it was a new person in the household. I think this is a big reason why I say you have to start with hope because so many homeless people have very little and it is hard to provide hope when you only see a person for a few minutes a week, month or year.

But recently, God has provided great joy and some pain. We came here to the motel the end of Dec. with 7 rooms (an estimated 21 people) and now are down to 3. In-between all this time, we have had people come in for just a night or sometimes a couple of weeks, but for the most part, many of the 'family members' were still together.

Updates On People From Lightfoot
3 weeks ago, Ricky and Rob had finally saved enough money to get an apartment together, so they moved.
Michael got married, yet he and his family were still in search of a home so they could all be together. His roomie from Lightfoot and him weren't working out at another motel (mostly with a conflict of ethics and God) so Michael came here to share a room with Smitty last week.
Smitty was denied disability, but because of his Parkinson's, we have decided, he will remain with us (unless he gets married.)
Steve found out he had cancer and moved back to his home state. He had the melanoma removed and started his own business. Not only did his business take off, he found out he has a trust. He now has a place to live, a successful business and a new walk with God.
Brian, Jenna, Zack and Katherine have had a lot happen since moving to the motel. Jenna had her baby, Nathaniel, 2 weeks ago. The kids are enjoying their new baby brother and Jenna is elated to see the ground once again. She had been so uncomfortable the past month of the pregnancy. Brian has slowly been working again, yet still making sure not to overdo it health wise. Then last week, especially with the rooms scaling down, I told them, "We need to really start looking for a place for yall. Now with the baby, you need more space and the kids need a place to play." Yet, I knew their case had been the hardest for many reasons so it would be hard to get them into a home. Also the issue of where to come up with the money to get them into whatever home they found! Brian found a trailer that is $450 a month and Jenna went to look at it. It was bigger than the motel room and had a kitchen so they were thrilled. Now the money issue, so we prayed. Sat. out of the blue, they received notice that they had been approved for TANF for 6 months, along with a check for $349.00 which was enough to cover the prorated amount for May. And were told they would receive $550 for 6 months. So now the deposit so they could move in. I reminded them their pastor had said, "If they find something affordable, the church would help." So they called the church and a check was cut for the $450 deposit. Jenna's parents over time had come around and over the weekend offered to have their car fixed and move their furniture to their new home. Yesterday we moved them into their new home. But, this was a hard move for me. Yes, I am thrilled they found a place, yet sad they are so far away. We actually knew the family before they had become homeless and since then, Jenna and I became close friends. I finally had somebody close to my age I could truly talk with and call my friend, but I know our friendship will not end, just because of the move.

Updates On People Passing Through Or New Clients
We have had several people com through the ministry for a short time, so I won't go into details. Some have been able to get a room to rent within a week and others it hasn't been as positive of a situation. But 3 people specifically I will share about.
Jamey and Wanda called back in Feb. needing a place. Wanda we have assisted several times and she has been homeless on and off throughout her life. Her situation is so complicated it can drive you insane! Jamey, on the other hand, was not use to having no place to live. The 2 of them had been roomies for a short period of time when they lost their place. Wow, talk about the blame game. I constantly felt pulled between the 2 of them and by the way the argued, you would have thought they were an old married couple. Jamey is still in search for her faith and resists any aspect of forgiveness. Not just forgiveness to Wanda, but also to herself. She has so much resentment built up inside, she is a walking time-bomb of anger. Yet, she has so much potential in life under all that anger. She can be so sweet and caring, when she isn't thinking about her resentment. Then in April, Brenda joined the room. I have known Brenda for some time. Her albatross was her adult daughter who kept getting them kicked out of places. Brenda, Wanda and Jamey got along great, but not together. Brenda is very quiet and kind, yet not assertive in life, especially when Jamey and Wanda was arguing. Wanda finally had to leave for her own sanity. She moved to another motel. We still see her often and she is much happier now. Even after the move, Jamey and Wanda stayed so much in each other's lives it was like dealing with a separation of marriage. Jamey finally received an insurance check from a house fire and moved out to Seattle. I talked to her the other day and she is in the process of getting her life back together, except for the resentment. Still, thousands of miles apart, Wanda and she continue to argue! Brenda is still with us, in a room of her own, but will probably be getting an apartment with Wanda in June.
Then there is the 'other Rick' but that is a whole different story in itself.

Updates On Us
We are still in the motel. Geoff had started back to work a month ago, but continues to be ill on and off, which makes working hard. I am still praying on buying the motel and fundraising for the effort. Very few rooms here are rented, even though it is tourist season time. The motel prices are starting to go up. Houses are becoming available and I am praying for God's guidance in the whole situation. We could have moved many times over, but I also know it would change the whole aspect and mission of the ministry. So until I know what to do, we remain in the motel assisting churches, social services and the homeless with getting lives stable.


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