[Hpn] paula f. - indoors finally

karen karen@homelesseast.org
Tue, 11 Nov 2003 06:08:52 -0500


Hi Paula!
I was struck by your comments in "indoors finally", and the comments
you made about being grateful for little things and wanted to let you
know that what you said makes perfect sense to me.
After a stroke, paralyzed, unable to communicate, being homeless for
3 years, although I was never "outside" at night, and had a different
family take me home at night (I was working in missions), I didn't
ask for anything, had nothing, and if someone gave me something -
there was always someone who seemed to need it worse than I did.  I
gave everything away to someone "on the street".
I was thankful for everything, even the volunteer work during the day
at missions.  But, after getting housing, the stress would have been
unbearable if I didn't have a "goal".
It was hard, when I got on disability.. hard to think of myself being
in a place that was my own, having a key to keep up with, walls that
seemed to loom large and sometimes fall in on me.  Not asking for
help for myself, I worked my way through the panic of responsibility
I had to handle (I couldn't even write a check), never called police
when someone tried to get into my room and there was no way to get
out a back door (I rented a room with one door), never filed a
complaint when the Emergency Mental Health doctors refused to give me
sleeping pills for the fear - and told me they "knew" I was faking it
all to get the "money" and to never come back.
I had become so used to being in someone else's house, doing what
they did, getting up when they did, going to bed when they did..
well, long story short - It took me 2 weeks to actually "go to the
room" I rented and stay there.
I only made myself go (my goal) - so I "could" help someone else.  I
knew that as an individual going place to place and "working in
missions", it would not give me the credibility to gain support to
help others.  I knew I had to have my own address and my own
independence BEFORE anyone would listen to me.  It was a simple thing
to some, but enormous to me and most homeless persons.  
And then, I realized that people wanted me to be their "token case". 
They saw that I had a goal to help others, and started putting
restrictions on me.. instead of offering me the tools to help others
on a larger scope - as I was doing in small ways.
One church said, "I will fund your service to others if you will be
'OUR' non-profit."  They raised funds for computers that went unused,
instead of funds to help me feed the poor.  
One non-profit leader said, "If you will only help those I tell you
to help, I will help fund your service."
One woman said, "We will be partners and help them together.. " and
instead, she lied and told everyone else how she was helping "me",
and needed money to fund "her ministry".
The corruption in helping agencies is appalling.  
My service continues and it does so taking me where God leads me,
with whatever is donated and with me using most of my small income to
help others.  Because I refused to become someone's "token", I was
lifted up by those who had a heart for the poor, disabled & homeless
- and now serve 5,000 in need monthly and 2,000 seeking service to
those in need.
It's a funny thing about who gets help and who doesn't, and what the
"motive" is when people help".  And I could see that someone was
willing to help me, if they could log my SS# or name in a book to
show it.  
People have told me to "document" each person I help.  I felt like a
cold-hearted person the day I took someone with me to "write down
names, cities & what I gave away".  I said I wouldn't do it again and
"degrade" the people in need by "documenting" them.  
And the good Lord saw fit to allow me to give more and more to help 
those in need each month, each year, all donated, all without any
documentation, feeding homeless children, re-uniting families and
finding jobs & housing for people in many states - just through
contacts I made when I was "homeless".
The reason I'm telling you this, is because when you get housing, 
keeping it is the hard part.  Most agencies don't realize that when
you get housing, that's when the hard part starts.  That's when you
need more "support", not less - and for 2 years.  Housing without
friendship sends many people "back" to the streets.
I hope one day, you will be helping me help others - not as a "token"
but empowered in your own right.  
Service takes the edge off worrying about what you need - instead of
encouraging you to being grateful for what you have.  I wish our
charitable leaders would learn how to lift someone up as I do,
empower them to be their own in service to others, instead of using
token people to raise funds for themselves.  
We need more people giving, more in charitable work, more to be on an
equal level with the people already serving.  
Ooops - got on my soapbox, better step down.  
And I pray that you handle housing better than I did..  as I
preferred not to stress out over needs - so I didn't furnish
anything.  I didn't buy things (I couldn't save $3 a month)..  and
for the 3 years in that room - I just slept at that first room, but
didn't stay there except at night (wonder why when someone tried to
open my door while I slept).
Hopefully you can keep in touch.  Check out the websites below that
were donated as my service "enlarged".  Putting up information that
homeless people needed to survive, and low-income people needed to
KEEP their housing - has made my site #1 worldwide, a one-of-a-kind
site with survival info.. and it's there because I didn't want to be
someone's token. I had to "demand" to serve, to "fight" to tell
people that there were unmet needs they didn't see.  
And now, I'm glad I went through it all, to be where I can devote
even more time to helping others with the unmet needs I see, and to
lifting people up to be their own empowered person, serving where
they see a need.
All things are possible through Christ who strengthens us.
In His Service
Karen
http://www.HomelessEast.org (#1 worldwide in Homeless Prevention)
http://www.LocalMissions.org (Christian volunteers in Service)