Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Face of Homeless..........Problem Solving..........

Part 1

One of the things that struck me as this family moved into my backyard was how very much we take for granted the little things. This volunteering of my backyard as a place of refuge for them didn't seem like much to me yet it was something huge to them.

As we sat there on the grass figuring out the best way to set things up, J began to cry. She thanked me profusely for saving her from the scrutiny of others and the fear someone might turn her in and she'd end up losing her child.

At first I was bewildered by this outpouring. I even said "Being homeless is not a crime. They can't take your kids away for that."

J responded "That might be what you think, but I can assure you, it is not the way others see it. I've already been threatened with being arrested for vagrancy if I return to ------ Park." The implications in her inflections made it clear J really was worried someone would take her child away from her thinking she might be unfit as a parent.

Just the thought tugs at my heart strings. It would be bad enough being homeless without having to look over your shoulder all the time worrying about those who might judge you and what they might do that could make your situation worse.

I have seen enough interactions between this family to know that love is very much at the core of this family's values. Caring for this child takes priority over all else. Their being homeless has nothing to do with their love or devotion to their children. Life's circumstances have not been kind and yet they are still working together as a family trying to get to the other side. How can anyone fault them for that?

I looked at the woman before me and the emotion that washed over her as she told me how important my gesture was to her. I could only wonder if I were in such a situation if I would have such grace.
Oh, how I wished I could fix this for them. I went to bed with this whole predicament churning around in my head. I knew I couldn't fix it but I wanted to do what I could to make sure their stay here was as comfortable as it could be under the circumstances. One of my top priorities was figuring out a way to provide them with more shade.

It was somewhere around 3 a.m. when it dawned on me. I have a gazebo I bought for use for my open house each year. It's six sided and has openings on three sides that can be zipped closed or tied open. It's made of fabric and folds all up small enough to fit in a case. When it's all folded up it's not too much bigger than a double sleeping bag.

When it's opened up it makes a room about 12 feet by 14 feet. We could set it up near the tent so hopefully it would provide some shade on the tent for part of the day and it could serve as another room for their living space.

Not quite so worried about shade now that I'd remembered the gazebo, I actually managed to get a few hours sleep before the sun woke me. The first thing I did was head for the barn looking for that gazebo.

Once it was located, I loaded my horse up and went off to the park to ride. I left Dave working with with the man (T because I already used S, dumb me) working on assembling the gazebo. I figured by they time they got through that with the extra set of hands I'd probably be done with my ride and we could move on with the rest of my plans to get this family set up as comfortably as possible under the circumstances.

To be continued...........................

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  1. Helping out these homeless folks was a really nice and caring gesture from you and your family. I'm sure they appreciated it more than anything.

  2. What a gift, more than you even realised , at first , you gave them privacy, dignity and safe haven

  3. What a wonderful idea, and what a blessing for you. There are more people facing homelessness than ever before and it's a tragic testament to the times. I know our local shelter is often full to capacity, and I remember the director telling me it was hardest on the parents (particularly the single moms). I'm sure this will go a long way toward helping her get back on her feet :o)

  4. Brilliant!
    My best ideas seem to come just before I fall asleep at night.

    Bless you for helping out this family.
    My family has been close to being homeless on one occasion and only through the help of other people and our church were we able to remain on our house and not live on the streets.

    They must be worried and under so much stress right now. I feel for them.