Sunday, January 22, 2017

Karen on the Street: Forced to Move

Who do I chew up and spit out for this one? 

TP Produce is making our campmates move out of the edge of the parking lot. I have no place to put 4 tents across the street only have room to keep 2 partly dry. 

Had to have been a complaint or the police calling the owners again. The stupidity and selfishness of people who can't go about their daily lives without causing someone with enough shyt on their plate some more. 

Here you're at work, lets tell you to move your tent. 
You're sleeping.. get up move your tent. 

They aren't blocking parking, they aren't messing with the trucks, 

WAIT.. WAIT.. Maybe it is seeing us out here cleaning up the garbage YOU throw down 

or maybe it's the fact we have chased away taggers serveral times from your trucks... 

No wait... 

The fact you are trying to live your life on public display to be judged convinced and imprisoned on the streets...

to have mistakes that aren't yours shoved in your face you are punished for someone else's misconception of who or what I am. 

So now Larry and Kenney and Kristy and our uncle's tent all have to move. Larry is the most challenging to move. He is someone that only 3 people can really handle he resects us and knows we will not take his crap. Kenny is scared change is hard everytime you do it and go away from comfort zones you withdraw a little more from the human race. Kirsty well I have no problems telling her to move. 😉 We will place her at the end of the line on the other side. 

We will work it out. We always do. Worst part of it all is now we have everyone has high tension. Just another day of people being uncaring, unfeeling, judgmental bigots

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Voice from the Street: Karen Burch

Karen with her husband, Paul in their home: their van
Karen Burch lives in her van.  She is threatened by the police, by others who pass through her neighborhood.  But she endures.  And she writes.

Karen is an articulate homeless writer who communicates the reality on the street, and how folks on the street support each other to survive.  Check out some of what she has recently written:

Sometimes I wish I could do more for some of the people out here. Like the young man who just joined our camp. He fits what we look for in family and campmates/housemates. Doesn't want drama wants to get where he wants to go at a pace he can handle. He's a veteran he deserves better then the streets. Our family member Gypsy Wanderer wants to work and hopefully will be called here soon as the weather is better. If not then he is going to start his disability (which he should be on). Paul and I never seem to make it to anything we need to do when it comes to that stuff something always comes up. Doing better at some of it making him take time. The need for a stable neighborhood for all of us is becoming paramount things like last night make feeling safe and truly able to sleep a difficulty when we all have PTSD and other issues.


One thing you have to have out here is a phone if you are trying to get off the streets or just making a living out here. Paul and I try to keep our phone on. Most of our friends out here and our family use our phone to get jobs. We us it for work and to let everyone know we are still alive and kicking. To many times our phones end up being the last thing paid because of more pressing needs at those times it becomes even more difficult to earn the money to pay it. Sometimes others help from the camp but again without the phone it is hard to get work. This time family helped to keep the phone on. We love you very much (you know who you are).


It isn't all bad living on the streets there are things that rarely happen now a days when you live in a house. First you are more connected to the people in your community (if you can stay in the area). Businesses and homeless alike see you everyday and get to know you as you get to know them. There is a stronger bond between neighbors out here. People more willing to help then a neighbor who lives in a house. We have patched up animals and people. We have helped when a fire happens pulling dogs and people out. We pull together when the police start harassing us. More so then those in a housed community. Some of the people I have met out here have touched my heart and every time they get cut loose about something I would like to hurt someone. Peoples past are just that the PAST. Who you are now standing in front of me showing me who you are now and where and who you want to be in the future counts a hell of a lot more than someones freaking past. We all make mistakes and pay for them no need to be punished forever. Not one of us is perfect we have no right to judge someone unless they prove they deserve to be judged. Never assume anything. That assumption could lead you to hate when there isn't a need for hate. These are things forgotten when it comes to the homeless.


Something I learned quick on the streets. DON'T lose who you are and don't lose your will and drive to accomplish what you want. It may take time to get there but at least you don't lose yourself and become what they accuse you of being. Losing yourself is far worse then anything else that could happen to you out here. You become what they say you are because they beat you down and run you down till you are to tired to fight. Unfortunately it sometimes backfires and instead of caving and becoming some of us stand up taller and start fighting back. I have rights. My house is my van. My HOME is my husband and our animals. I AM a CITIZEN of this CITY and of this COUNTRY.


I hate the terms houseless homeless. They are labels. We. Are. Still. Your. Friends, Your. Family, or Your Neighbor. Just because I lost a building with 4 walls doesn't mean I lost my home. That saying home is where the heart is. Its the truth. My HOUSE is our van. It works for us. Why is everything in this country a label. We are all equal.


So we have been getting lucky and getting little cook stoves. Some need work but we are sending them out. A way for people to start cooking at home. Its a good start for those that hate having to schedule their day around eating along with everything else. Showers, laundry, etc.etc.etc. It is something Paul and I have always tried to find a way to cook at home much healthier for us. That and we just like to cook. We cooked over campfires and barrels and many other things. Lol Although doing it the old way takes hours but it makes it fun. Another little step for some people and some camps. A way to start making things a little easier.


So our missing family member came home. I had been calling shelters and hospitals to find him. No hospital would tell me if he was there. Come to find out he had been in the hospital for 6 days and a hotel for 2. That is always a problem people disappear all the time and you don't know what happens to them. If they go out of your neighborhood "your stomping ground" you lose track of them. People don't know them like they would in your area. So until they come home you wonder where they are. If they are alright. IF they are coming back. When people go missing for to long Paul and I go looking put out the word in places where they go often.  They all come check in with "mama Karen". They know at least someone out here cares what happens to them because most don't have someone who would care. These are people out here. They are not garbage no matter what their problems they are people they are family. We are all just trying to survive. 


No matter what your name or how well known once you are on the streets or seen as a person who lives on the streets you become faceless. You become a label. Homeless.


Have you ever had your good nature always get the better of you? Sometimes I can't seem to stop myself from helping people no matter what they have done. Lol I know I am going to kick myself for this in the next couple of days. I really hate drama and it just landed on my door step needing a place for a tent so it won't flood and they can go work. Someone just slap me it will be quicker then a week of drama. Rofl


There are people who come out here and help because they honestly want to help. Then you have groups that come out to help because it's a school or sunday school "project". God told me to feed and cloth the poor (sorry Steve Kimes some do it for the wrong reason under the lords name.) They stand here and pray over you tell you have sinned but come now the lord will save you. God isn't going to give me a house unless I make the effort. It's not just the system though its the mentality of people NONE of us deserve to be put out like garbage and forgotten then told it is our fault. You beat the people down. At some point we are going to rise up.

If you'd like to read more about Karen, please follow her on Facebook, Karen Burch

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Ideas on Feeding Homeless Folks

On Quora, the question was asked, "How do I feed the homeless?"

Let me give you a couple suggestions that I’ve tried:

1. Find one homeless person and invite them out to dinner. Ask them questions, listen to them. Next time, take a different person out or the same person. But get to know them.
2. Invite a homeless person to your home to have dinner with your family. If they seem okay, invite them again.
3. Go to an organization in your area that serves the homeless. Learn what they do and why they do it. Ask a lot of questions. Then, if you feel ready for the next step, find an area of need that they aren’t meeting and see if you can meet it.
4. Find someone who knows the local homeless and ask them to help you set up a meal for the homeless in your area. Put up fliers and serve a meal in a central area for the homeless. If it works out well, come back the next week.
5. Keep sandwiches or well-wrapped food in your car and hand them out to beggars or at camps you see by the road.

Don't be pushy, don't give more than you came to give, be attentive to them as a human being.

Try not to replicate what is already being done in your area.  Join, don't replace.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Hope for Homeless Families

Cindy Hines has been involved in helping the poor her whole life.  In this podcast, Steve talks to her about her life of helping the poor, the importance of the Catholic Worker movement and her latest project, RVs for Families.

You can connect to Nowhere To Lay His Head podcast on iTunes, or you can listen to the interview with Cindy Hines here.