The City of Marietta is evicting homeless from within our city limits. Al, our homeless veteran friend that our church is trying its best to help reports that he and his friends, which are mostly homeless veterans, have been given notice to move “south”, meaning out of Marietta and toward Atlanta.
We have been helping Al and some of his friends in numerous ways. Pat (see an earlier story on Pat here and her husband Scott and a few others in our church have been serving breakfast Sunday Mornings and later bringing some to our church for bible study and services, often treating them to lunch afterward. Scott put Al in a hotel during the cold snap and the group has been taking supplies and clothing to them.
Al has been faithful in attending, and as a result has taken to the idea that he can get out of this. He no longer looks homeless, is neat, trimmed and dressed in his best clothes. However, despite the information, forms, trips to the VA, Al still has not received his papers or his VA card. He is still homeless. He has said he has now committed to getting off the streets but has no place to go.
Above is one of the homeless camps being evicted by the City of Marietta. This is an old photo taken from the air, but it also the site of Als current camp. Believe it or not, this was found by use of the Hit and Visitor Map to the right of this blog. It has zoom and several modes, including hybrid (satellite and road labeling), airborne, and “bird’s eye”. I used the hybrid mode in zoom to find the general area, then switched to bird’s eye and quickly found his camp and 2 other camps. Try it in your area (bird’s eye is not available in all areas, mostly metropolitan areas around large cities like Atlanta). Look for blue tarps in mostly wooded areas. Let me know if you find any.
Now comes the City of Marietta. They have systematically attacked the homeless camps within their city and have now worked their way to Als camp. They did give them a little prior notice. They were told that they are trespassing (wooded right of way of city) have to be packed up and moved out by Monday.
Guess What? Its snowing in Georgia. The ground is covered. A few will accept winter shelter but the beds are full. They are totally dependent on MUST ministries a few blocks from their camp for food which MUST serves once a day on weekdays. Nothing on weekends.
Moving means a miles long treck instead of a block or so walk. The plan is obvious, make the homeless either seek shelter or get out. Unfortunatly there are not enough beds to go around. Not nearly enough. So the plan is equally obvious – get out of our city!
The city should provide facilities for these homeless before making them move. They don’t. They depend on MUST Ministries and a few other shelters that they have forced into industrial zones and have for the most part squelched expansion of facilities.
Our city has decided to take the cheaper route – run them out of our city before they cost us money! It also has another up side for the city: Next year the homeless count will show another “remarkable” drop and no one will have to cook the books by redefining the homeless or unfinding any.
Al works when he can find a job. He doesn’t drink, doesn’t do drugs, has no noticeable mental problems. He is a true walking hero with no place to go and our VA is not doing its duty. Nor the VFW, nor our heartless City of Marietta. He has fallen through the cracks and it makes me want to cry.
MUST Ministries, a block away from Al, serves Al a noon meal every week day. and recently announced receiving grant money to set up transitional housing for veterans. I’m sure they are hearing of the problem, but its been most of a week now since I left a message there for the program manager and sent a email inquiring about the program. No response to the email and no returned call, and I know the guy, so he must be “out of pocket”. MUST does do a wonderful job of helping feed and house the homeless and works tirelessly to serve them.
Another mission, New Hope Missions reports that they are being swamped with homeless in the same desperate condition as Al. New Hope serves about 125 breakfast and conducts services on Sunday and about half come from the area being evicted. Some of them have to be out Wednesday. Al has to be out Monday.
This is how not to minister to the homeless
City of Marietta GA: Shame!