Posts Tagged ‘Mental Health’

Night Falls…

Today’s post is part of the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. Each day of April (except Sunday,) we write a post corresponding with that day’s letter of the alphabet. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

a-z 2015 N

My theme for this years’ A-Z Challenge is An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America which just happens to be the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger in My Recliner. The book is the true story of Sophie.  She was the eighty-year-old homeless woman that my husband brought home one night. She lived with us for nearly three –years. The book will be out this fall.

 

Night Falls

It was cold. The sharp pains in her back and hand reminded her. Trying not to move anything but her eyes she scanned. She saw him and felt relief and fear. Getting up was painful but she had to make sure he was breathing. They both had to get out of there before the school kids walked by, saw them and got scared. The mothers would call the police. She did not want to scare the kids and she definitely did not want to go to the hospital or even worse, jail.

Frank moaned, struggling to get on his feet. Sophie shushed him. The drug addicts were still passed out. They gathered their shopping bags and shuffled their way to the main road. The black sky just under the trees turned gray for a moment and then a bright orange. They shuffled faster. Shelly would be arriving any minute. The thought of hot coffee helped them pick up the pace.

Sunrise

They sat at the booth enjoying the warmth from the sun, soaking up every ray hoping the memory would keep them warm tonight. After lunch Sophie would leave Frank at McDonalds and she would go to the bank, to the storage facility and to the Goodwill store. They needed blankets. There was no time to cry. She found two thick blankets that were reasonably clean. She couldn’t wait to show them to Frank, she was so worried about him.

She could see the red flashing lights ten blocks ahead and knew. Now she was completely alone.

Ambulance lights

She shuffled back down the side street. Her fingers cramped around the plastic shopping bag handles. The sun was already turning bright orange. She had to get back before it fell behind the trees. She could not remember a time in her 80-years when she felt so terrified.

Again, night falls.

Thank you for reading,

Doreen

I’m one of Lisa’s Live Wires! Lisa is a challenge co-host Lisa Buie-Collard

My fellow live wires:

Rhonda Albom –   Bob R. Milne –   Tamera Narayan –  Stephanie Faris –   Heather McCubbin –   Randi Lee

 

 

Money, Money, Money…

Today’s post is part of the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. Each day of April (except Sunday,) we write a post corresponding with that day’s letter of the alphabet. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

a-z 2015 M

 

Today we are 1/2 way through the alphabet!

 

My theme for this years’ A-Z Challenge is An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America which just happens to be the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger in My Recliner. The book is the true story of Sophie.  She was the eighty-year-old homeless woman that my husband brought home one night. She lived with us for nearly three –years. The book will be out this fall.

 

Money, Money, Money

How much does homelessness cost taxpayers and how much will it cost to eradicate the homeless problem?

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image138166

If you have been following my A-Z Challenge posts you know that I get so frustrated when people choose to complicate the answer to the problem of homelessness.

Homeless people need homes, period. Once they have a home they are not homeless and the problem is solved, period.

A lot of government officials, churches and charity’s still believe that raising and spending millions of tax payer and private dollars on shelters, referral agencies and programs makes perfect sense. It makes no sense at all. I think the truth is those people believe it is easier to control homeless people when they are all living under one roof. It reminds me of the way minorities were housed not that many shameful years ago. Let’s keep them all in one area so we can keep an eye on them.

progect housing

The fact is a homeless person living on the street can cost up to $80,000 a year. The costs comes from emergency room visits, hospital stays, jail stays, first responders, addiction treatment, mental health treatment and state or county assistance.

To house a homeless person in a shelter for a year the cost averages around $42,000 a year. Because they have a roof over their head and are eating more regularly they do not get as sick. Shelters are expensive to run so a lot of the cost is administrative but don’t get me started on that foolishness.

To place a homeless person in an apartment would cost $9,600 a year. To provide them with a social worker is $2000 a year (social worker makes $40,000 a year and has 20 clients.) Add $1000 a month for expenses and we are up to $23,600 a year.

Kudos to, Beyonce for realizing that homes are the answer and donating 7 million dollars over many years in the Houston area as part of that city’s 100,000 homes campaign. Her and her husband Jay Z are brilliant business people. They were not going to throw their money at the problem and hope it helped. They solved the problem.

Beyonce’s-Temenos Place Apartments has space available for 43 individuals, and houses men and women who otherwise would likely be homeless. The facility supports its residents by providing meals, job readiness training, HIV/AIDS screenings and case management services, with an overall goal for residents to reach full self-sufficiency.

Beyonces homeless apartments

Houston has seen significant progress in its fight against homelessness. A 2014 Houston Homeless Count showed that on a given night about 5,351 people in the city were living without stable shelter — a 37 percent drop from 2011.

There are so many misconceptions about the homeless. The most ridiculous to me are they choose to live on the streets and they deserve to be there.  Being homeless is terrifying and dehumanizing. The one thing a homeless person might have left is pride and that pride makes it difficult for them to ask for help.

To learn more about Beyonce’s, project or to donate: http://www.temenoscdc.org

Thank you for reading,

Doreen

I’m one of Lisa’s Live Wires! Lisa is a challenge co-host Lisa Buie-Collard

My fellow live wires:

Rhonda Albom –   Bob R. Milne –   Tamera Narayan –  Stephanie Faris –   Heather McCubbin –   Randi Lee

 

 

A-Z 2015 Minion Badge

Little Feet and Broken Hearts…

Today’s post is part of the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. Each day of April (except Sunday,) we write a post corresponding with that day’s letter of the alphabet. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

a-z 2015 L

My theme for this years’ A-Z Challenge is An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America which just happens to be the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger in My Recliner. The book is the true story of Sophie.  She was the eighty-year-old homeless woman that my husband brought home one night. She lived with us for nearly three –years. The book will be out this fall.

An excerpt from The Stranger In My Recliner:

Little Feet and Broken Hearts

My granddaughters Morgan and Avery were coming to spend the weekend with us. They were only three and six-years-old. I was worried about how they would react to Sophie. I was also worried about how Sophie would react to them. I shuddered when the thought of her harming them popped into my head. I felt I knew enough of her personality at this point to doubt she would harm a child. I would be diligent anyway and not let my guard down.

Morgan and Avery

I asked her if she had any grandchildren and she told me again that her son had a cute little girl. The little girl’s mother was the one Soph told me had plastic surgery so her son would think she was younger and get back together with her. She would not tell me the woman’s name or the little girl’s name. She told me her and her son were planning to get an apartment together when the woman tricked him into moving to California with her. Sophie said he then left her sitting on a sidewalk, crying with no place to go.

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I think that girlfriend deserves a man like her son and vise versa. If he left his own mother on the sidewalk, homeless, did she think for one minute, he would never leave her?

Another concern with the kids coming to visit were the two little dogs we just rescued. They were not used to being around small children so we had no idea how they would react. I was nervous. I read a couple of blog posts on how to introduce dogs to children. There was a lot to learn. We decided to have the dogs on their leashes so we could control them when the kids first came into the house. We also gave the kids special homemade peanut butter treats to feed the dogs. Those treats would be reserved for only the kids to give to them.

Lance and Louie; Louie and Lance...

Lance and Louie; Louie and Lance…

I worried for nothing. It was love at first sight for the dogs and the kids. Lance and Louie followed the little girls around like lovesick little puppies. They continue to do that today. All we have to do is say the kids are coming over and they head for the front window to sit and wait, tails wagging.Sophie was getting used to having the television in our living room to herself. She watched the Soap channel 24/7. I was noticing more and more that she was not even going into her room to sleep at night. She had been sleeping in the blue recliner, in her clothes. I needed to figure out a way to put a stop to that. I decided we needed a TV for her room. The one we got was larger and nicer than the one we had in the living room but she still refused to watch TV in her room.

In the meantime, she seemed to get agitated around the fifth episode of Dora the Explorer so I took the girls upstairs into our bedroom to watch their shows. It annoyed me but it seemed easier to bring the girls upstairs. Everybody would be happy that way, except for me.

By Sunday afternoon, it dawned on me that I had not stopped the entire weekend. I cooked, served, cleaned, shopped, bathed the little ones, the dogs and started Sophie’s baths and did all of our laundry. I was exhausted. Not that I was one bit unhappy I was just plain tired. All in all the weekend went well. The dogs didn’t bite the kids the kids didn’t bite the dogs. Sophie couldn’t bite anybody because she didn’t have any teeth.

Feet

I’m one of Lisa’s Live Wires! Lisa is a challenge co-host Lisa Buie-Collard.

A-Z 2015 Minion Badge

I am excited to be working with this bunch of fabulous bloggers …

Rhonda Albom –   Bob R. Milne –   Tamera Narayan –  Stephanie Faris

Heather McCubbin –   Randi Lee

 

 

 

Choose Kindness…

Today’s post is part of the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. Each day of April (except Sunday,) we write a post corresponding with that day’s letter of the alphabet. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

a-z 2015 k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My theme for this years’ A-Z Challenge is An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America which just happens to be the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger in My Recliner. The book is the true story of Sophie.  She was the eighty-year-old homeless woman that my husband brought home one night. She lived with us for nearly three –years. The book will be out this fall.

A to Z KINDNESS BANNER

Some psychologists believe that ‘being nice’ isn’t really so nice after all. They believe being nice actually comes from a fear. We ‘act’ nice towards someone because we want to be liked or we fear what others will think of us if we are not perceived of as a ‘nice’ person. As kids, especially little girls we were constantly told to ‘be nice’ and to ‘be good’ even to people we didn’t like. We were taught to keep the peace at all cost even if we were filled with hate. Some girls learned how to use niceness as a way to get what they wanted or as a way to gain power. Being nice is telling the cashier in the supermarket to have a nice day because it sounds good but actually you could care less what kind of day she has.

Cashier sad

Overly nice people usually have very low self- esteem and are only nice so they can feel better about themselves and so others will like them.

Being overly nice can put you at risk of being used and mistreated. It can leave you feeling powerless and out of control. It can cause unhappiness and even illness.

Being nice is being selfish.

Kindness on the other hand comes from real love, compassion and empathy towards fellow human beings and all living things. Compassion and empathy are real needs that some people have to help others or ourselves. It makes kindness the total opposite of being nice. Being kind is looking that cashier in the eye and saying, “It looks like you are very busy today. I hope you are done soon and can go home and relax,” and meaning every word. Being kind is opening and holding the door for an elderly woman, looking her in the eye and then taking her bags to her car for her. It is easy for kind people to be assertive because they care as much about themselves as they do others. They earn and expect respect.

Quote always be kind

Kindness is not a feeling it is a choice. It is a character quality that we can work on until it comes naturally. It is choosing to do the right thing even when the right thing is the hardest to do. There is a direct correlation between being kind and being happy. When we are truly good to others out of love we feel real happiness.

Being kind is being selfless.

Thank you for reading,

Doreen

I’m one of Lisa’s Live Wires! Lisa is a challenge co-host Lisa Buie-Collard.

A-Z 2015 Minion Badge

I am excited to be working with this bunch of fabulous bloggers …

Rhonda Albom –   Bob R. Milne –   Tamera Narayan –  Stephanie Faris

Heather McCubbin –   Randi Lee

 

Jails, Justice and Homelessness…

Today’s post is part of the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

a-z 2015 j

My theme this year is An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America which just happens to be the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger in My Recliner. The book is the true story of Sophie.  She was the eighty-year-old homeless woman that my husband brought home one night. She lived with us for nearly three –years. The book will be out this fall.

Jails, Justice and Homelessness

Did you know that if you become homeless you are pretty much considered a criminal by law enforcement and most communities? It is illegal pretty much everywhere to sleep outside, to loiter to beg and now it is becoming illegal to feed the homeless people on public property.

Homeless on bench

 

These laws that cause the homeless to be jailed and processed through the justice system do nothing to alleviate the problem of homelessness. In fact the fines and court cost pile up causing the homeless to be repeatedly jailed because they cannot pay the fines which results in higher fines, more court costs and this only causes the homeless person to be in an unending cycle of poverty. It also sucks up government, political and private resources that could be used elsewhere.

One community in Florida spent more than five-million-dollars over a five-year period jailing, prosecuting and re-jailing the same thirty-six people over and over. That doesn’t count the other millions spent on ambulances, emergency rooms and mental health facilities. It makes no sense morally and less sense fiscally. The town could have rented thirty-six apartments, provided thirty-six social workers, mental health services, addiction services, financial counseling and most likely well before five-years would have money left over and could have had thirty-six tax- paying, upstanding members of their community.

Homeless arrested

It is amazing what a hand up instead of a hand down can do for those whose self-esteem and confidence have been beaten out of them mentally and sometimes physically. Soup kitchens and shelters do not make the homeless feel good about themselves. Most of them are dangerous places. Sure they might be a band-aid but the only people that feel good about them are the people that think these places actually make a difference. They really don’t.

Our police communities are overwhelmed. Their budgets and manpower have been cut severely. They deal with violent criminals, domestic violence situations, child abusers, are the first on scene to deadly accidents seeing horrific sights, witness young people killing each other and they get calls about homeless people. One homeless person sleeping in a park can generate hundreds of calls to the police from mothers walking the children in the park, employees eating lunch the park, vendors trying to do business, dog walkers and joggers. Not all homeless people are mentally ill and not all mentally ill people are dangerous but let’s face facts, some are. All of those people that call the police have a right and deserve to use the public park the way it was intended to be used without fear.

The homeless also have rights. The police routinely do what they call sweeps. They go through public properties and confiscate or destroy the possessions of homeless people and their shelters with the hope the homeless will move on. If they don’t they are arrested. The UN has called the United States out on this practice. It does violate the homeless person’s fourth-amendment right to illegal search and seizure.

Three states have introduced bills to stop this practice. California, Oregon and Colorado are trying to ensure people can eat, pray and occupy a motor vehicle as long as they are not obstructing passage or are on private property without the owners’ permission.

Most people think the answer is complicated. It’s not. Homeless people need homes. That is pretty simple.

Homeless population numbers

What can you do to help?

Only donate to programs that work towards permanent housing for the homeless.

Before donating to a shelter ask what their policies are. Do young woman have to prove they are at risk on the street before they can stay? Do they accept pets? Do they have programs that lead to permanent housing? What is their crime rate? Are they open 24/7 or do the homeless have to leave first thing in the morning? If you are not comfortable with the answers do not give them your money. Find a program that actually offers a hand up.

Thank you for reading,

Doreen

I’m one of Lisa’s Live Wires! Lisa is a challenge co-host Lisa Buie-Collard.

A-Z 2015 Minion Badge

I am excited to be working with this bunch of fabulous bloggers …

Rhonda Albom –   Bob R. Milne –   Tamera Narayan –  Stephanie Faris –   Heather McCubbin –   Randi Lee

*homeless man on bench: *Photograph: Tony Eves / Alamy/Alamy

 

 

 

 

 

Indigent…

 

Today’s post is part of the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

a-z 2015 i

My theme this year is An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America which just happens to be the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger in My Recliner. The book is the true story of Sophie.  She was the eighty-year-old homeless woman that my husband brought home one night. She lived with us for nearly three –years. The book will be out this fall.

Indigent-

adjective (Formal) destitute, poor, impoverished, needy, penniless, poverty-stricken, down and out, so poor as to lack even necessities; very needy,in want, down at heel (informal), impecunious, dirt-poor, straitened, on the breadline, short, flat broke (informal), penurious, necessitous

One of my readers called me the other night and told me this story. She needed a place to live for herself and her elderly mother. A friend suggested she take over the lease on her trailer. The woman moved herself, her mother, her dog and a couple of smaller animals into the trailer.

Right from day one she had problems with the landlord. He told her he wanted her to move. He had someone he wanted to offer the lease to. Months went by and he continued to harass her and her mother. She reached out to her county agency on aging and her county representatives for help with the harassment. Their idea of helping her was to take custody of her mother and assign a guardian. She was placed in a horrible place. The woman was then served eviction papers, had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized. She called animal rescue from the mental ward and asked them to go get her pets. She got a little better and was moved into transitional housing. She was fined by animal control ($500.00) for leaving her animals.

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The woman lost all of her belongings, her pets and her mother.

My heart was breaking listening to this story.

This woman was indigent in every sense of the word but she was strong, educated and determined. Every agency that was supposed to give her a hand up instead did everything they could to keep her under the soles of their shoes.

hand-up

Should the woman have been prepared for a rainy day, had some savings, a support network? Of course she should and she did. She was prepared for the rainy day not a tsunami.

The good news is this woman is on her way back to the top. She no longer wants to be a victim and she doesn’t want to fight organizations and politicians anymore. She is moving forward and plans to start a rescue for pets left in the situation her beloved pets were in when she was indigent, hospitalized and completely hopeless.

She is speaking this weekend, let’s wish her luck!

Doreen

I’m one of Lisa’s Live Wires! Lisa is a challenge co-host Lisa Buie-Collard.

A-Z 2015 Minion Badge

 I am excited to be working with this bunch of fabulous bloggers …

Rhonda Albom –   Bob R. Milne –   Tamera Narayan –  Stephanie Faris –   Heather McCubbin –   Randi Lee

 

 

Hospitals and Homelessness…

Today’s post is part of the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

a-z 2015 h

My theme this year is An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America which just happens to be the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger in My Recliner. The book is the true story of Sophie.  She was the eighty-year-old homeless woman that my husband brought home one night. She lived with us for nearly three –years. The book will be out this fall.

Hospitals and Homelessness

Angelo Solis was a homeless man in his 60’s. He was also an alcoholic. When he would pass out in public the police and an ambulance would be called. They would take him to the hospital emergency room. Doctors would admit him, treat his chronic health problems, detox him and then release him. He would get drunk, pass out and the police would repeat the process. Because he slept outside his diabetes and heart condition could never be properly treated. Over a three-year period the medical bills alone totaled more than a million dollars and were paid for by the taxpayers.

Emergency

Angelo was only one case. San Francisco allocates thirty-million dollars of its one trillion dollar Health Department budget to cases like this.

Just imagine how many apartments could be rented, social worker salaries and mental health services could be bought with a thirty-million dollar a year budget. Imagine if done all over the country.

I imagine it could end homelessness.

A mother and her one-year-old son spent their nights shuttling between a hospital emergency room and Transit Station after a friend kicked them out. Another woman, eight months pregnant, huddled overnight on a beach with her 3-year-old. Neither of the women could get into a shelter because they couldn’t prove sleeping outside caused a health risk to them.

I’m thinking the children could wonder off and be hit by a car while the mother’s slept or be abducted. The women were at risk of being sexually assaulted. (One actually was sexually assaulted in a shelter.)

Hospital emergency rooms all over America are being overused and overwhelmed with homeless, mentally ill and addicted patients. The police, first responders and family members are using ER’s as default landing zones for those in crisis. Our first responders are good people and they want to help. We need to provide them with realistic and safe solutions. Either these emergency rooms need to be equipped, trained and staffed to be a viable solution to this epidemic or we must demand their revolving doors be closed.

Emergency room door

 

I’m one of Lisa’s Live Wires! Lisa is a challenge co-host Lisa Buie-Collard.

A-Z 2015 Minion Badge

I am excited to be working with this bunch of fabulous bloggers …

Rhonda Albom –   Bob R. Milne –   Tamera Narayan –  Stephanie Faris –   Heather McCubbin –   Randi Lee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guess Who Is Coming To Breakfast…

Today’s post is part of the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

a-z 2015 gA-Z G BANNER

My theme this year is An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America which just happens to be the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger in My Recliner. The book is the true story of Sophie.  She was the eighty-year-old homeless woman that my husband brought home one night. She lived with us for nearly three –years. The book will be out this fall.

An excerpt from The Stranger In My Recliner-

Guess Who is Coming to Breakfast?

When Sophie walked through our front door that night I could not believe my eyes. She was a frail, filthy, and hunched over, eighty- year –old woman. I wondered if she had bugs. I’m OCD like that. I told her to sit on the sofa but the whole time in my mind I was making it all better for me by imagining myself throwing that big red sofa away and buying a nice new, clean one. Maybe an ‘L’ shaped, brown microfiber one, this time.

I made her a hot cup of tea. After noticing she had no teeth and wondering what in the world could have happened to them, I made her a scrambled egg. While she ate her eggs I went upstairs and prepared her a warm bubble bath.

Lipton tea

I gave her my favorite silk pajamas, clean underwear, a warm fluffy pair of socks and a thick robe. The pajamas were a gift from my kids. While she was in the bathroom having her bath, I made up the big red sofa with our softest six-hundred thread count guest sheets, our best pillows and a warm cotton blanket. I wanted her to feel safe, warm and comfortable.

I wanted to ask her a thousand questions. Do you have a family, where you ever married? Do you have children? How did you get yourself into this situation? Are you still drinking? That was the big one. That would be bad. I decided not to ask too many questions that night.

How do you get to be eighty-years-old and not have met at least one person that loved or at least cared enough about you to take you in from the cold. What possibly could have happened to her, what sin or crime did she commit that would force her to have no choice in the world but to trust complete strangers over family or friends?

Old woman

We made sure she had everything she could possibly ever need during the night. I poured a glass of ice water and placed it on the end table beside the red sofa. I put a few magazines on the coffee table. We asked if she would like to watch some TV.  I found an old- movie on AMC, Duel in the Sun and I was thrilled to see her eyes light up. “I love Joe Cotten” she said smiling, “He is my favorite actor.”

Turning the latch on my bedroom door knob ever so slowly, so she wouldn’t hear the click, I locked our bedroom door and tip toed over to our bed. Yes I admit I was scared. I had visions of this crazy lady stabbing us in our sleep, robbing us or having her homeless gaggle of friends coming into our house to party through the night. I shuddered at the thought of the endless horrific things they could do to us. I tossed and turned all night. I tried to imagine how anyone could let an eighty -year –old woman become homeless and then reverted to what could she have possibly done to find herself in this situation.

I flipped my pillow and rolled onto my side. Why didn’t I leave some cookies, crackers or chips out for, Sophie? I wondered if she was still hungry. There was no chance I was going down there without John.

As I walked downstairs, in the morning I was hoping it had all been a long dream. No such luck. There she was sitting on the end of the big red sofa.  She was dressed in her own dirty clothes. She clutched a filthy overstuffed pocketbook with a broken strap to her chest. Her head was down; she was staring at the floor. She looked so fragile. I noticed the pajamas, underwear and those fluffy socks I gave her folded neatly beside her. My first thought honestly was; not believing she put her dirty underwear back on her nice, clean body. I cringed.

Oateal

 

I made her a cup of hot tea and some instant apples and cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast. Oatmeal is not one of my favorites but I love the way the flavored ones smell. She seemed thrilled when I handed her a banana. It didn’t seem like the right time to ask where her teeth were. I hoped I never had the opportunity.

Thank you for reading,

Doreen

 

I’m one of Lisa’s Live Wires! Lisa is a challenge co-host Lisa Buie-Collard.

A-Z 2015 Minion Badge

I am excited to be working with this bunch of fabulous bloggers …

Rhonda Albom –   Bob R. Milne –   Tamera Narayan –  Stephanie Faris –   Heather McCubbin –   Randi Lee

 

 

 

 

The Empowerment Plan…

Today’s post is part of the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

a-z 2015 e

My theme this year is An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America which just happens to be the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger in My Recliner. The book is the true story of, Sophie.  She was the eighty-year-old homeless woman that my husband brought home one night. She lived with us for nearly three –years.

 

 

Empowerment Plan

I would like you to meet Veronika Scott. She is the CEO and founder of the Empowerment Plan. This beautiful, smart and inspiring young woman has renewed my faith and hope in our young people:

 

https://youtu.be/mo-kvh1w60w

Talk about walking the walk.

Mission Statement– The Empowerment Plan is a Detroit-based nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the homeless community. Our goal is to help build a better life for those that have become trapped in the cycle of homelessness. We mostly hire homeless parents from local shelters to become full time seamstresses so that they can earn a stable income, find secure housing, and gain back their independence for themselves and for their families.

The Empower Team

The individuals they hire are trained to manufacture a coat that transforms into a sleeping bag at night, and a bag when not in use.  The coats are distributed to homeless people living on the streets at no cost to them through partnerships we have established with outreach organizations in communities around the nation.

​They believe in giving second chances to those who want it, and providing warmth to those who need it.

For more information, to write a post to spread the word or to donate:

http://www.empowermentplan.org

 

HUD Homes…

Welcome to my blog and today’s post which is part of the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. For more information on this amazing challenge and its creator visit:

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

A to Z 2015 Badge*

My theme this year is An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America which happens to be the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger in My Recliner. The book is the true story of, Sophie.  Sophie is the eighty-year-old homeless woman that my husband brought home one night. She lived with us for nearly three –years. The night that she walked through our front door changed me.

That book will be out later this year.

So; I decided this year’s posts will be on programs that actually help the homeless and the mentally ill, programs that don’t, when did homelessness become a problem and what or who caused it, famous homeless people, famous people that help the homeless and the mentally ill, what you can do that will help in a real way and a whole alphabet more…

Todays’ letter is:

a-z 2015 D

 

 

Department of HUD

Mission Statement- HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and to transform the way HUD does business.

This department was established on September 9, 1965, when Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act into law.

HUD is administered by the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. *Julian Castro, a former Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, is the current and 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Julian Castro HUD

The secretary is responsible for dozens of programs, as diverse as the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise and the Office of Lead-Based Paint. In addition, the secretary appoints representatives or personally sits on dozens of committees, boards and commissions outside of the department. Commissions, councils and task forces on housing for minorities, the elderly, children and people with disabilities all have HUD members. Veterans Affairs and HUD have a joint committee on homeless veterans. The secretary must be familiar enough with the work of each and the HUD’s position on each to make recommendations to the president.

The quality of data on homelessness has improved considerably, due, in part, to initiatives by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the US Department of Health and Human Services, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and several nongovernmental organizations working with homeless populations. Since 2007, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued an Annual Homeless Assessment Report, which revealed the number of individuals and families that were homeless, both sheltered and unsheltered.

HUD is large. It employs thousands of people and oversees hundreds of programs. Just one thing that falls under HUD is buying abandoned and/or blighted properties, refurbishing them and either renting them to a low-income tenant or selling them to a lower income buyer.

A to Z Blighted home

I have so many criticisms of this organization. Like most government organizations it is wrought with corruption and waste but for this post I am going to keep it simple. I have only one question:

There are nearly four-million homeless Americans and the numbers are growing. Why are there more ‘empty’ government owned HUD properties, in fact thousands more than there are actual homeless people? Instead of paying government executives hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide reports and to provide grants to hundreds and hundreds of ‘hamster wheel’ referral agencies that do nothing to assist the homeless wouldn’t it make sense to just fix the properties you have, place homeless people into those properties and provide them with a social worker so that within a year they could be paying you rent?

A to Z Homeless Family

It will never happen because too many people would be bumped off of their gravy train including but not limited to politicians on all sides and unions.

* President Obama’s head of the scandal-plagued Department of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro, as the mayor of San Antonio misspent that agency’s funds-allocated to improve low-rent properties, according to a federal audit.

Another previous mayor of San Antonio who ran HUD pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about payments to a mistress. His name was Henry Cisneros and he was appointed by Bill Clinton. Actually HUD has been rocked by a number of scandals under both Democrat and Republican administrations, over the years. George W. Bush’s HUD secretary, Alphonso Jackson, was forced to resign in the midst of a federal investigation involving cronyism. Ronald Reagan’s HUD secretary, Samuel Pierce, was embroiled in an influence-peddling scandal that saw 16 people, including some of his top aides at the agency, convicted.

I could go on and on and on but will suffice to say that HUD needs to be destroyed from the top all the way down to all of its’ dirty little cracks and crevices. It needs to be replaced with one office, one leader and several employees. They need to hire legitimate companies to refurbish properties, move people in and provide them with a social worker. This would save taxpayers billions of dollars that could be used to create jobs and that would help to prevent homelessness.

A-Z Department_of_Housing_and_Urban_Development

Thank you for reading,

Doreen

For this years’ A-Z Challenge I am a minion (challenge helper) for the lovely co-host :

Lisa Buie-Collard

A-Z 2015 Minion Badge

Meet the other minions:

Rhonda Albom –   Bob R. Milne –   Tamera Narayan  –   Stephanie Faris –   Heather McCubbin –   Randi Lee

*Tina was a blogger and a dear friend that we lost in August. She loved the A-Z Challenge and was a friend and inspiration to all bloggers.

 

 

 

 

 

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