[Hpn] Ex-homeless people make good staff? Why or why not? Your experiences?

Lucinda Houston lucy@efn.org
Wed, 27 Sep 2000 18:11:22 -0700

I wouldn't necessarily say so.  When I stayed at the mission, there was a
mix of well... I don't know if you could ever call them "ex-homeless", they
might have had somewhat of an edge over the rest of the population, they had
a few bucks, a more private (but shared) room, and a few more advantages,
but they were still slaves, without much hope in overcoming their situation.
Some of them made efforts to be kind, and some were.. just plain mean.  I
believe they got that from the "headmistress".  There were qualities I liked
in her, besides her arrogance, but all the same, she snooted that nose and
had a demeaning attitude towards those under her.  She was definately better
than those in her keep, and it showed.
Her little program workers were snitch, make trouble, and snitch, to make
trouble.  Values switched and swung from day to day, depending on what kind
of number they felt like playing (paying) on any given day.
The stress was tremendous, and being mean, was part of being good, and
paying the piper.
Last time I landed there, the women and children had their own space (a
converted apartment), beneath the "women only" shelter.  I remember, out of
consideration, a program worker suggested I put my toiletries (toothpaste,
toothbrushes, deodarant, etc.), in a plastic container, which she provided.
Another family came in and had gotten into it, and used something of mine.
Had I known what an explosion it was going to create, I'd have surely never
mentioned it, or expressed my "little bit" of irritation to the program
worker.  What'd she do?  She went up and tattled to the head mistress.
Things really started going down from there.  For one thing, the family that
had come in were rudely evicted, and ended up staying with some mexicans in
a motel room (for survival).  Not only that, but other things were PURPOSELY
used against them because some people decided they just didn't like them.
(I saw nothing wrong with them.. they just needed a little love, warmth,
comfort).  Maybe they smiled wrong, I just can't fathom it.  I remember the
young teenager crying when she showed up alone and unaware and discovered
the hard way, the fate that had overcome them.  Their belongings had even
been carelessly removed (search and find.. if you can) from their assigned
quarters.  It was just plain mean and devilish to me.  As for me..  the
toiletries, I was ordered to take my things out of the bathroom, and put
under my bed.  The worker repeated the headmistress' words that "They do NOT
live here... they are not to be made comfortable".
Now, that's love, ain't it?
-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net>
Association list: ; <NA Street Newspaper Association list: ;>; Rainbow
Family list <gathering@cygnus.com>; homeless@csf.colorado.edu
Cc: National Coalition for the Homeless <NCH@ari.net>; Ted Hayes
<HOMELESS@AOL.COM>; Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom
<Wmnofstl@cruzio.com>; KWRU@libertynet.org <KWRU@libertynet.org>
Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2000 11:14 AM
Subject: [Hpn] Ex-homeless people make good staff? Why or why not? Your

>How do formerly homeless people "work out" as staff in programs for
>homeless people, such as shelters?  What's your personal experience?
>What factors might explain how well or badly ex-homeless staff "work out"?
>FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Sep 24, 2000
>     Photo Advisory  AZCAS101 of Sept. 22
>     Casa Grande Dispatch
>CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (AP) _ At one time, Randy Schafer was living
>on the streets, eating from trash bins and sleeping in the open air
>while suppressing his drug addiction. Now, more than 20 years
>later, Schafer is lending helping hand to the homeless as the new
>Seeds of Hope director.
>Schafer lived on the streets for almost a month when he first
>moved to Arizona from California. He tried unsuccessfully to change
>his lifestyle and desperately wanted out of the drug societal
>circle. Schafer hoped for a change.
>After basic needs overtook pride and shame, Schafer called an
>uncle, who lived in the Phoenix area, for help. That was 1979.
>Since then, Schafer has obtained his GED and received a bachelor's
>degree in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University. He
>became a Christian and got married to the daughter of a preacher.
>They have three children and Schafer said he has since devoted his
>life to God.
>``That's what we're here for. We're here for Jesus Christ, to
>honor him,'' he said.
>And since Seeds of Hope is a Christian-based organization, it
>seems like a good match.
>Sure, there is more money in engineering, he said, but Schafer
>felt led to this job. There is more satisfaction here than in
>engineering, he said.
>``This allows me to work with the disadvantaged, and that is
>where my heart is.''
>It is a scriptural mandate to help others, Schafer said.
>``They must see the Christ in me. I can't tell them, I must show
>Schafer's wife, Jan, taught him about Christianity while they
>were dating. He sang in the choir and has taught Sunday school for
>the past 15 years. Schafer also has been involved in a prison
>fellowship for the last five years, but that wasn't enough for him.
>There was a calling to the ministry in some way, but the road was
>not visible to Schafer just yet. All he knew was that he wanted to
>help people by giving them a hand up.
>His career before Seeds of Hope included being a machinist in
>Phoenix before moving to Casa Grande in 1983. Schafer also worked
>for Allied Signal as a project manager on the B-2 bomber from 1985
>to 1990. For the past 10 years, he ran Vision-Air Inc. In June of
>this year the business closed, but he managed to find jobs for all
>of his employees but one, who started up his own company. It was
>hard to find his own niche in the religious society, but the new
>job is leading Schafer in the right direction.
>This fall he plans to attend Fuller Theological Seminary in
>Phoenix to work on obtaining a master's degree in divinity. He has
>begun the ordination process to pastor for a Presbyterian church
>But going to school will only take up part of his time _
>full-time work will be at Seeds of Hope, expanding the program to
>help more people, especially those in west Casa Grande.
>Schafer wants to meet with the Seeds of Hope board to discuss
>expanding the efforts on the west side of town and to build a
>church-based community there.
>Another goal for Schafer is to open an additional soup kitchen
>for westside residents. Currently, there is only one soup kitchen
>in Casa Grande.
>``We are feeding those who wouldn't eat otherwise,'' he said.
>Peer leaders and adults help children through the Cabana Project
>at Seeds of Hope, and Schafer wants to expand that program as well.
>A peer leadership program is also on the goal list to teach
>children leadership skills, and a program for children and young
>adults who have completed Project YES (a Seeds of Hope program in
>which court-referred youths do community service) and who want to
>continue their service. That is where the churches come in _ to
>entertain with family activities.
>``If you really want to affect people, empower them to give to
>others,'' Schafer said.
>AP-WS-09-25-00 0005EDT
>Received  Id AP1002687644B03A on Sep 24 2000 23:05
>**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material
>is distributed without charge or profit to those who have
>expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information
>for non-profit research and educational purposes only.**
>8000+ articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people
>INFO & to join/leave list - Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net>
>Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy