Marietta Georgia – No compassion for homeless – NONE

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!

Oldtimer

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11 responses to “Marietta Georgia – No compassion for homeless – NONE

  1. So Oldtimer, have you opened YOUR home to give Al and other homeless a place to live? Has anyone at your church? How many times in the last ten years have you voted for SPOLST and other tax increases that would help homeless programs? Just wondering.

  2. Thank you Porter for coming by and taking the time to comment!

    Actually I have put quite a few homeless and near homeless up over the past 30 years in certain rental housing. We still have 2 that have been with us more than 10 years that came out of The Extension, which at that time was a homeless shelter – it is no longer a homeless shelter. I’ve also offered our church group that is looking after Al to pay for motel nights when he/they cannot find any other place for him. Another has already put him up in a hotel.

    Please understand! This is not just about Al. There are more than a hundred homeless men and women out there in the area currently being subjected to a Scrape People Off Lets Send Them away (SPOLST). Very heartless.

    You are thinking of SPLOST which applies to schools, not homeless! So did you vote for SPLOST, not knowing what you voted for?

    I’m the proud recipient of the United Way “Heart in Hand Older Adult Volunteer of the Year” award for this area in 2006, which I tell you only as an indication I’m not exactly sitting on my tail while others are suffering.

    Are you warm this holliday weekend watching TV or out with a camera crew in this weather?

    This is not about the police who are just doing what the Mayor and Council orders them to do. I happen to be very fond of our police and fire departments. They are efficient and are very protective of our community. They follow orders all too well in this case.

    I am also the proud recipient a “Pulling Together” Star Citizen Award (for helping the MPD fight crime in one of our neighborhoods) from the very same MPD that is carrying out the orders of the city to evict these poor people.

    This is about the “City That Doesn’t Care” about our homeless, including our down-and-out homeless heroes that served our country in harm’s way. Al and about half the others are veterans. Do the citizens of this city support our troops only while they are at war? Do you care that they come home with PTSD or MST or disabled? Al has a disability.

    The city has already denied distribution of flags during the Veteran’s Day parade so I’m not too surprised that they would throw out our homeless veterans, just extremely perplexed at their timing.

    While our city leaders take a weekend off and enjoy a MLK holliday, the homeless are under the gun. They have an eviciton order that says they have to vacate on that very same holliday – Jan 21, 2008. Many of them are black – some holliday celebration for them!

    “Where can we go?” they asked the MPD – “South” was the answer! No suggestion that they find a shelter – just get OUT by Monday or lose everything you own, risk jail, risk everything. Where do we go? they ask again and so do I. The city does not provide enough shelter. None that I know of other than possible allocation of space for sub freezing nights only. If the city or the police help transport homeless to emergency shelter, I don’t know of it.

    I do know that in a public meeting I once discussed the need for shelter for the homeless in a particular area and a police zone commander came to me and demanded to know where they were camping and he would “clean them out”. So I shouldn’t expect them to be helpful under orders.

    So how are you Marietta citizens helping Al and his freinds, Marietta? Where is your heart for the homeless?
    Are your leaders warm today? Were they warm last night?

    Al and his fellow homeless were cold to the bone if they were stuck out there. It could be any of us under the current economic conditions – homes being forclosed, jobs lost, prices going up, heating bills piling on.

    The fear among those most affected is this: if they go into an emergency shelter Sunday night. then their belonging would be gone Monday when they come out. The police action has actually kept many from seeking the shelter they need. If they freeze to death, the city will have done its job – removed them from their streets.

    Our city needs to provide shelter and help our homeless and they instead harass them. To make matters worse, they harrass our homeless at the very time they don’t need it. They need our help not our notices.

    Do something Marietta, time for them is running out. Like it or not, these are human beings.

    If a horse is abandoned in the field there would be (and has been) an outcry. If a “normal” person becomes lost in the woods, there would be hundreds of thousands spent in a widespread search. Let either happen to a person that has been evicted and lost a job and home end up in those situations, the city would likely hunt them down and serve them papers.

    I’ve heard from neghborhood businesses that there have been a few smash and grab burgularies in the area. That doesn’t fit the MO of the homeless. They usually do not tolerate crime among them. The bad apples are not let into camp – “steal from someone else, you will steal from me.” The bad apples that appeared in our neighborhood a few years ago stuck to yard tools they could easily carry and sell to another neighbor. No smash and grab, no holdups, nothing serious – just food money.

    The city’s action is like this: “There is someone breaking in and we don’t know who. Hmmm there are a lot of homeless in that area. Let’s run them off and see if it helps!” So they are taking a shotgun approach again. There is a bank robber in a car on the interstate. Lets stop the entire interstate and see if we can find him. So thousands are affected – everyone is a suspect! The same thing here if that is the motivation. Every homeless pays for the real criminal who may just be a group of local non-homeless tean-agers looking for CD money.

    Homelessness is not a crime!

    Come on Marietta, do the right thing!

    Jim

  3. Pingback: Durham and Marietta, love our pets better than our homeless vets. « Homeless Veteran’s Survival Guide

  4. I am homeless, fleeing domestic violence. And I can honestly say Oldtimer is doing a GREAT job.
    If Oldtimer or any of you gave me or Al a place to live–say sleep on your couch–we would not be considered “homeless”. To meet the criteria, you have to be on the street or sleeping in a hole somewhere.
    Check out the federal definition of homeless:
    http://www.hud.gov/homeless/definition.cfm
    That means that I would not be eligible for many resources and programs that may assist my family. IF funding and programs were to be available. Transitional housing, education programs and financial resources are all based on this govt definition of “homeless”.
    Private agencies and churches go a long way to help, and should be applauded because they are doing the work our govt has failed to do. In my state, churches even house people when the county shelter is full, feed and clothe people and offer resources long after the govt as thrown its hands up. I really believe for things to change, and change in a better direction–we the people need to have the compassion and motivation to help others. What better place to support compassion and motivation than church?
    Keep going Oldtimer! And thanks to those all unamed doing their best to help.

    Blessings, Lynn

    shadowwings.wordpress.com

  5. Thank you Lynn. You write beautiful poetry.

    I’ve read some of it and am moved. Find her at http://graceofwynn.wordpress.com/ and also at http://shadowwings.wordpress.com

    Soon I will publish one written by Al, one of the homeless gentlemen in the story above. He has written two for our group, but I want to be sure he approves of it being published here.

    I am sorry you are homeless. I assume that you are in a shelter somewhere and safe, but I know that you would much rather be in your home but cannot.

    Shelters are not homes, other peoples couches are not home, motels and hotels, even extended stay are not home. You can’t repaint the walls to suit your taste, change out the furnature, move a partititon, have visitor stay-overs, come and go as you like, all that stuff you are free to do in your own home.

    Maybe not some of it in an apartment, but much more freedom than in a structured environment like a shelter or someone else’s home, even if it is your parents or sister’s.

    You keep going as well, and bless you.

    Grace and Peace,

    Jim

    Jim

  6. I think it is such ashame too not help out vets when they need help. They serve our country. Then come back here some do not get a fair shake. I know too well how MUST ministries help people. I was one that was homeless myself with my son they were there. They help out so many people. I know this if I every get lucky enough too win some money I would give too them. I know some city look at homeless as a burden. Yet so many of us will see more on the rise. Due to the rise of the cost of living & lack of jobs more homeless will be out there. So please step in help the homeless & MUST ministries if you can. City of Marietta wake up our country going to be facing more problems with people being homeless then we ever seen before. Just want too my hat is off to the MUST ministries!!!!

    I am hoping a miracle for us all!!!

    Take care

    Tammy

  7. Good Afternoon All:

    God placed in me the deisre to work with and assist with the less fortunate. My desire is to help those on our homefront. I am in the process of working on an online store that sells products (from which a portion of the proceeds will got to help establish this foundation). I am truly humbled, and at times nervous, about what God has called me to do. I ahve read a few of your blogs Old Time and I must say they are appreciated and eye opening. God allowed me to go through a season of unemployment (not knowing where monies were going to come from for this that or the other). I never was without shelter but did become dependednt upon my family for shelter. Though I am an intelligent woman, God needed me to get a relization and an understanding for those that I would be assisting. I must say that it was eye opening.

  8. Old timer,

    I will admit that I am not ready to take the type of burden it requires to help the homeless.

    This question is staggering : So Oldtimer, have you opened YOUR home to give Al and other homeless a place to live? Has anyone at your church?

    Although we might have many awards or given many honors we are still sinners in Gods eyes.
    I believe if Jesus asked me this same question I would admit in my guilt as I didn’t do all that I could have or any for that matter. If each church member would take one homeless person into there home we would not have homeless people in Atlanta. What a great price it is to ask us to love to this extent. I would much rather write a check or encourage or provide meals rather then overfill my home as if I would take the homeless to live with me as my family. I still wonder if I could give my life to save it or try to save my life and loose it. Ghandi was asked many times if he was a christian. He would always answer go ask the poor, they will tell you who the Christians are.

    Woe, to all of us that are called to love as this is the heaviest burden of all.

    Matthew 25
    for I was hungry, and you didn’t give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me in; naked, and you didn’t clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ 44 “Then they will also answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn’t help you?’ 45 “Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you didn’t do it to one of the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

    • Many in our church have taken in homeless, including Al. In fact, Al is now an entusiastic church member, has a home, car, and the respect he deserves and goes back to work with his fellow homeless and encourage them to take the extra steps with him. He is not the only one. It doesn’t take much effort to make a tremendous effect on these peoples lives. We don’t recomend inviting the homeless into your home. However, we do recommned that you get to know them, work with them, walk in their footsteps at least a little ways and fellowship with them. Once you know their story you will be much more willing to go the extra step to help them into a new home and life and job opportunities.

  9. I too have been homeless. No I did not spend time on the street but I was without that security and comfort of shelter. The way this country treats people and especially this county was a shock to me. Here it was that I had been giving FISCA all of my money while I was working but really what is it being used for. Because I don’t see it at work in my community. If it had not been for MUST Ministries and my church family I would have been living in the woods too. I have provided a place for people I did not even know to lay their heads while they got back on their feet. But that still did not save me from having to live in a shelter. This county doesn’t have enough shelters and places for people that are in need of help around. And in these times this situation is only going to grow because a lot of people are one paycheck from being homeless. I just recently lost my job and I am looking daily but it is a very real possiblity that I might end up out on the streets again. That is my biggest fear but it is just not safe out there. There are a lot of our children growing in these situations and they know of no other way. They are the next generation of this problem and they numbers are going to grow rapidally. But I am grateful for the few programs that are set up to assist those that are in need we just need more of them for our county.

  10. I understand and appreciate your point that many of the “homeless” are vets. But, don’t forget, being a vet can mean serving a few years in the military and moving on. I served for four years and have made good decisions that have kept me from being “homeless.”

    That aside, I have FIRST hand knowledge and have been well exposed to the plight of the “homeless” in and around our great city of Marietta. MOST “homeless” are drug users or addicted to something. The types of addictions are varied. Mostly, they are addicted to alcohol or crack cocaine. This fact is what, I think, is the proper impression most have of the “homeless.” The “homeless” have made the conscious choice to be where they are. Most ignore that fact and try to bring shame on people like me who are painfully aware of the truth about MOST “homeless” people. This shame you try to bring on me and my city, would be better directed at those who choose drugs and alcohol over a normal, productive life.

    You yourself profile how you and your church aid people like Al. And that’s great! Encourage more to do the same. What would you have “the city” do? Allow, thus, encourage the “homeless” to setup camp anywhere they please? The photo you produced is much like the area I am aware of near my home. You are okay with these “camps,” Would you allow them on your property?

    As for where I live, I have transient “homeless” passing through the neighborhood all the time. I can no longer allow my children to play in the front yard because the drug addicted are a desperate bunch and I prefer my children not be exposed to these folks. Is that wrong?

    Shaming hard working taxpayers who sometimes struggle themselves, only serves to alienate those of us who are more than happy to lend a helping hand to those truly in need. And shaming a city government for keeping it’s city safe, clean, and economically viable is counterproductive and does not help the “homeless” situation.

    Thank you for your service to those in need. I hope you can appreciate my opinions based on MY experiences and love.

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