TO ESTABLISH TRUST AND INSPIRE HOPE BY PROVIDING ACCESS TO RESOURCES, SERVICES, AND EDUCATION TO THOSE WHO ARE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING INSTABILITY.
A STORY OF FATHER AND SON
As I was sitting in the passenger seat of the car going through the drive thru I gazed out the window toward the street. Immediately I noticed a man who appeared to be homeless walking the street with a young boy, around 10 years old. As a homeless advocate I scrambled out of the car to give the man my card and offer him some assistance if I could. The couple had no sleeping bags, no tent, and none of the basic necessities to live outdoors. I quietly asked the man if he was currently experiencing homelessness. He glanced to make sure that his son wasn't looking before nodding yes. As I offered the man some help, the boy looked at me and excitedly explained that he and his dad were going on a camping trip. I asked him what about a tent? Or a sleeping bag? He answered with a huge grin. "We are camping in the wild! Just like Indiana Jones!" He said this with such enthusiasm he made me smile.
His dad took my card and I watched them head down the road. I was still smiling but heartbroken. It took a minute for it to sink in what a wonderful gift that dad had given his son. They weren't homeless, they were on a camping adventure! The excitement on the boy's face still sticks with me.
I luckily did hear from the dad. He had mustered up some camping equipment and he told me that they were heading out to a camping space, but he did have one request. Shyly he explained that his son needed some waterproof hiking boots to get him through the adventure. He asked for nothing for himself.
What a great father that man was to make experiencing homelessness an amazingly wonderful positive experience for his child. What a difference attitude makes.
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"A great resource for those that need it!
Great people doing great things for our community!"
- Jen Korcek
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"You are reaching people and touching their lives in your work! You are an angel on earth."
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"Great new resource for our community, and much needed!!"
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"Highly dedicated and resourceful and caring!"
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MEET OUR LOCAL FRIENDS
Gary is 55 years old and has been a caretaker for his mother for the last 10 years. She recently had to be moved into assisted living, which left Gary on the street. Gary's biggest goal is to return to full time housing so he can hopefully help take care of his mother once again.
Blue started running away from an abusive home at the age of 12. By the time she was 16 she was living on the street full time. Through the help of youth and peer programs she got into housing when she was 20. Blue says, the thing she appreciated most when she was living on the street, was the kindness of strangers. She has been in stable housing for the past 25 years.
Jeffrey is 34 years old. He is originally from Wyoming. He has been unhoused most of his adult life. He believes the first step to gaining long term housing is to make everyone feel valuable. He suggests letting the unhoused participate in volunteer programs and city work programs. Jeffery says his number one goal is to make everyone smile.
Doug has been homeless since he fled an abusive home at the age of 13 years old. He enjoys traveling and has been across the United States. Doug has health problems but doesn't like going to the doctor because he feels a stigma in a hospital setting. Some of the most important things to Doug are friendships, warmth, and compassion.
My name is Teresa. I have lived in Lebanon for twenty plus years. I had kids here, worked here, etc. Now I am homeless, not because of drugs or anything like that but because I had and have no income. I collected cans to take care of myself and my girlfriend at one time. I made it, but not easily. We got into an apartment and everything was great. Then the property management company raised our rent three times. I was not getting enough from collecting cans so I could not pay our rent. In turn I am homeless again and barely surviving. I am fighting for disability. I go in front of a judge with in 16 months. I’m hoping and praying for the best.
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