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, July 30, 2005

Temporarily Out Of Service

Geoff and I temporarily moved yesterday to one of our Board Members home. This was a decision that we and the Board made for our sanity. The clients (or should I say 'ex-clients') who were raising caine with us became worse as they were going back to their crack habits. Many of the lies continue. Yet, 3 rooms still remain faithful to their priorities of a home for themselves and families. They make it worth the efforts.

Due to all the work to pack up our belongings and my new job as a newspaper delivery person, I am taking a couple of days off to adjust my schedule of sleeping, deliveries and the ministry. The past past couple of days have been very hard with work because of the rain. The majority of my route is in and out of my vehicle, with the final delivery being to 104 people in a nursing home. Thus, I have 45 minutes of walking (yeah, I am actually enjoying the exercise and getting paid for it as well!)

We finally got our Grand AM back from the repair shop. That was a huge loss only having 1 vehicle for a month. But a very nice (yet hardened) mechanic helped us out by having it towed to his shop and replacing the fuel pump. The total came to $588.

Mr. Cheng and his family helped us with $338 last week (Mr Cheng, thank you so much and I apologize for not emailing back, but I only get 4 hours of sleep a day currently, until I get my sleep schedule down.) We are still recouping from the 3 rooms that 'cheated' us out of $900. It turns out they had the money all along, yet wanted it for partying. They figured it was easier to cost me the money than them lose their weekend pleasure. Unfortunately, after their fun, 2 ended up on the streets by their own accord, 1 ended up pregnant by her fleshly desires and partying and the other is struggling as she is being watched by the police for drug usage. In the meantime, we keep working hard until payday to prayfully catch up and then off to the motel for the ministry.

For anyone who has tried to call me, my cell is messed up. This morning it started telling me I was over my minutes (which I am not, especially on the weekend when it is free) and then later only responded in spanish, so I have no clue what it was saying then. I hope the sprint store is open tomorrow so I can take both mine and Geoff's in for repair. Well, time for bed. I will post more about a home we found.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Today an agency broke one of the cardinal rules in our area...they told a client what I had said and denied them help. Things were going great today with my friend from out of state (she was in the Iraqui war and came up to visit after a long time away)and then the director of the agency called me about several rooms here. She asked me about the fact that today and yesterday she had several calls from clients here and what was the deal. Only one room was ours and I told here that couple was in need, even though I still had my concerns about them. Then she asked me about the others....one room I had no clue who they were, the other was an ex-client of ours and the last was a room that I knew of: a mother, her daughter, son and father of the baby. This was also shortly after I found out Smitty blew $1580.00 on alcohol and crack and his probation officer called for a report. What a day! I told the lady at the agency what I knew (no I will not lie to any agency calling, even if it is not our room). She then called the manager and told them she would not cover their room and why. He then went to the people and told them. (So both were wrong!!!) The couple came down and confronted me. On top of this, I found out from the couple with us, they had been lying by talking to their church. I confronted them because they owed me $389 for the past week and a half on their room. They got beligerant and I told them to leave. In the meantime, I was surrounded by several homeless who were pissed off at me and ready to 'throw down'. "T" didn't believe me when I told her the agency called me about her, not vice versa. I didn't have time to deal with that cuz my friend was here for the day. Mr. Patel came around and got mad at me and told me to go to my room or take the argument out of here (yet he is part of the reason it happened.) For our rooms that are still here, we will still provide dinner.

I immediately called the 2 board of directors of ours who are in town and had them rush over. I also called Ann and let her know Geoff and I were leaving here this week. In the meantime, my friend Cat told our ministry room that I stood up for here, even though I had my doubts. That I did not deny her room being paid, even though she went off on me. Jenna and her husband discussed the fact we needed somewhere to go by this weekend and decided we could stay with them for the month as they stayed with us for a few months. The board all went to eat and discuss how the minstry would change, yet remain established.

After dinner, Wanda took Jenna, Cat and me on the ghost tour in CW. Wow, that was great and a lot of fun. It was a decent ending to a horrible day.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

As the heat index increases, so do the broken down cars in which families are living. In the past 2 weeks, I have received several calls from people who consider their vehicles as both bedroom and living area. The high cost of gas adds “fuel to the fire”: just to be able to have a little cool air during the hot muggy Virginian nights is too expensive for some. Some people just abandon their cars; others have them towed when they go to a motel. But, in either case, they welcome an air-conditioned motel room, a cool shower and a hot meal. But, the hardest situation is when somebody who sleeps with their children in a broken down vehicle calls for help after-hours when I can’t get a motel room for them.

The situation here is worsening. An estimated 1400 people are without housing (and I think that estimate is too low). Sometimes the situation is due to their own bad choices; other times it is a female escaping from her abuser and the domestic shelters are full. And then you have the people who truly want to get their lives on track and work hard toward housing. This isn’t to say those who have gone through abuse don’t want a better life, but the situation has a lot of baggage that comes with it.

Our numbers have been fluctuating greatly in the past 2 weeks. We have been as low as 15 people and as high as 36. As of today we are at 11 people. This past week has been a time for cleaning house. Last week we had 36 people, but a few rooms were removed from the ministry. One lady, her daughter and 4 grandchildren had been staying with us for a month. The mother (grandmother) works at another motel cleaning rooms. Her daughter does not work and stays home with her children. Social Services referred them to us because the rates were too high where they were staying. After 3 weeks of NEVER paying for their own room and constantly calling churches to pay, something needed to be done. Besides, we were tired of the gluttony and laziness of the daughter and the lack of supervision over the children. Last week when their room was due, once again, they didn’t have the money. They asked if I could pay it upfront and they would pay me back when she received her check. This wasn’t an option as I had already paid one week for them as a loan and still haven’t seen a dime of repayment. So, I had the room financially removed from the ministry. Of course we never deny anyone food, so they still join us for dinner.

But, the worse cases I have encountered are the people who think they can lie their way through a situation and remain an angel in everyone’s eyes. I tell everyone, “I give you enough rope; it is up to you what you do with it. You can hang yourself or pull yourself up.” A young female and male decided to hang themselves (not literally). She came here with her two kids from an unheated, unplumbed camper. The children were terribly sick from their few days in that morass and we didn’t feel we could say “no” for the kid’s sake. Shortly after she was here she asked if the father of one of the kids could please come stay, as he was also living in that camper. Since they were “a family”, both children called him “Daddy”, we let him come. From the beginning of his being here, we felt that he was a bad influence on her. Almost immediately there were complaints on the room: too-loud music, fighting, etc. It’s really too long of a story to lay out all the details, but, the long and short of it is that she is a con, a liar, a crack-whore, a neglectful mother, a violent abuser, etc., and we ended up bailing her husband out of jail so that he could rescue the children from a disastrous drug and violence-filled motel room. (He was only jailed for not doing his community service after he got arrested for defending himself from her abuse.) It turns out that “the other guy” wasn’t the father of either of the children: the husband was the birth father of one and the adopted father of the other. So, to compound the issue, the boyfriend was a user, refusing to work; a drug user; a drunk. We removed them from the ministry and left those to pay their own room after red-flagging them with the various agencies in town. It wasn’t long before they were gone amidst a fire-storm of accusations (she claiming that every guy in the hotel, including the owner, tried to sleep with her, he claming that all the drugs were her idea, etc.).

They did their damage! One of our guys, who hadn’t been on drugs or been with a woman since 1997, ended up using again. She convinced him while we were in NY that if he would fund her party she would sleep with him. Well, $400 or more later, he still didn’t get his end of the bargain, but he did get into enough trouble that the hotel owner is demanding that he gets off the property. Further, with their attitudes and the struggle over the children, the two spread tremendous dissension in the ranks and hampered the spiritual growth of several people who were more ready to give heed to gossip and rumors than to hear the truth.

Aside from the clienteles’ problems, we keep running into funding problems. Daniel’s (‘Rick’) financial scam truly hurt our ministry financially. As I have stated in the past, the ministry operates almost fully through my trust money. Although I receive this every 3 months, my funds are very limited. Because of this, we have also had to stop paying rooms upfront for clients. While ‘Rick’ was here, we also had 6 rooms request me to cover their rooms upfront and they would pay me back on their payday. As of that moment, none of the rooms gave me reason not to believe them. Yet on the day of their check arriving, they left with me being over $1700.00 out. This is a hole we are still trying to climb out of. We are still limited to one vehicle and pray we can get the Jeep fixed soon, as I will be getting a newspaper delivery job at the end of the month to help the ministry to recoup some money. Prayerfully, one day, some of the clients we helped that ‘took’ money from us and didn’t pay it back as they said they would, will live up to their word; but until then, we are seeking fundraising opportunities.

With as many problems as we have had in the last two weeks, if we were to allow ourselves to generalize, we would give up. But, it’s only the occasional “exception to the rule” and God that keeps us encouraged.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Statewide Con Man Search
May 9, 2005, 07:20 AM

Police say a statewide manhunt is under way for a man who is swindling women and businesses out of money.

Multiple cities and counties across the state, including Colonial Heights, Richmond, and Lynchburg, have issued warrants for the arrest of Daniel Vesley. He is wanted for obtaining money by false pretenses. Fugitive investigators say he is a slick con man who has been ripping people off for nearly 25 years.

According to investigators, 47-year-old Daniel Vesley has swindled women and local repair garages out of more than 100 thousand dollars.

With the women, it's a matter of borrowing cash, and skipping out.

As for the garages, police tell 8 News Vesley promises to deliver vehicle lifts, but after receiving the money, he vanishes.

8 News did some digging and found that Vesley has no permanent address. Police say he often stays at the Holiday Inn Express and the Studio Plus on West Broad Street.

Daniel Vesley is from Richmond and has family in the area. He was last seen in late January.
A Man Named Rick...Uh No, Mike...No, Daniel...Opps I Forgot, He Is Just A Con

Back in January, a man from the other side of the motel stopped and chatted for a bit with us. He asked about the ministry, people we work with and our funding. He dressed extremely well, since he was a business consultant. He explained that he and his wife were moving to Cincy, Ohio as soon as they closed on their home here and their house was finished there. A couple of weeks later, his wife had to go on to Ohio due to her job transfer. He remained behind for the final closing on their house they had just sold. Many times we invited him to join us for dinner, but he always said, "No save it for somebody who truly needs it." In March he let us know he would be leaving, but he wanted information on the ministry, as he frequently flew back here for work and would like to help us fundraise. So I gave him a package about the ministry and our goals for our growth.

May 12th, at 7:00 AM, I had a knock on the door. It was Rick and he looked exhausted. He explained he had flown in from Ohio for business and when he got into Williamsburg, he had his wallet stolen. He needed to get a bus ticket back to Cincy and wanted to see if we could help. He hadn't eaten since the day before and slept in the lobby, while waiting for his wife to call him back. We got him something to eat and a bus ticket, yet an hour later my husband called me and said, "His wife isn't home. Her father had heart problems and she had to take him to Cleveland to a specialty hospital. He would like to stay at the motel until she can get back to him." So, we got him a room for the night. In the meantime, he continued to discuss fundraising oppotunities for us. Several days later and $400+ in motel payments, he still hadn't heard from his wife. We were financially crunched. My husband lost his contracting job because of our expenses, Rick continued to say, "My wife will come pick me up and pay you back" and we were behind in all our bills. After the first week, I asked the motel manager to take the room out of the ministry name and deal strictly with Rick. The manager was also getting the run-a-round. A month later, Rick was still here with the same song and dance and we were sinking financially. Our debts had reached over $3000 and I was about to lose my car, all my possessions in storage and my sanity. I found myself becoming very irritable, frustrated, mean and having constant heart problems. The stress caused my doctor to start me on heart pills and high blood pressure medicine. Finally, the motel manager told Rick he had to leave. So he packed up his stuff and went to another motel. That night, I contacted the manager where Rick was staying, (she is a close friend of mine) and explained what happened here and told her, "If he doesn't have the money in the morning for another day, you should tell him to leave. I would hate to see what happened here, happen to you." The next morning, Rick left that motel.

Later that afternoon, a detective from west of Richmond called saying that he had been chasing a guy for a long time. I asked him who and he said a man named Daniel who had been scamming people all over Virginia. I described Rick and it turned out to be him who was wanted for fraud on over twenty counts! We knew where Rick was staying, so we thought, and the detective asked us to help him find him and came to town. That evening, I met with the detective and we hunted for Rick throughout the next day. The detective told me he could help me get the money I lost back as well as a reward. During our hunt, I found 2 other motels that 'Rick' owed money to, but under the name of Mike. Slick as he was, Rick noticed the detective looking for him and headed back to Richmond. Fortunately for all involved, Rick was seen crawling through the window of an abandoned house his family owns and the police were called. It turned out that Daniel (his real name) had scammed $50-60,000 out of people in Williamsburg and several hundred of thousand dollars out of people throughout Virginia.

Slowly I am still trying to recoup my loses. It has been very hard as I have even had to get a night job, on top of the ministry work in the daytime. Mr. Cheng in NY was so helpful in getting us some help. His sister, Tracy, paid for our storage bill for a month and a friend of hers covered a month payment on our car. Another friend of theirs helped us with tires, that were long past due. Unfortunately, a few days later, our Grand AM broke down, so now I have 2 vehicles in dire need of repair. But, we are only a couple of payments away from being out of the hole on the storage and car. In the meantime, I keep on trying to assist others, as I know God will get us over this speedbump!