It’s an issue that has plagued me all my life.
Those on the streets who, when services are denied, are then shuffled into non-existence.
But they exist. They are still there.
Some of them are some really cool people too.
I remember back in the coffee house days we had two gentlemen, Pops and Don King, who would hang around. I cannot express how much I loved and cared about these “Bums”.
And they have stories…
Pops was one of the first to try out for the Tuskegee Airmen. He failed because of alcoholism and he never go over it. Depression on top of the alcoholism, on top of a hundred other things as the years go on and there he was. Washing dishes at the Cabaret for denture cream.
These are people. Not creatures, not sub-humans. People. Who they were and in younger cases, who they might be, would amaze some people. Like in the cases where society finds out a homeless man or woman can sing, or entertain them in some way.
I guess it is then, that they are seen, heard, have value…
That’s bullshit and we all know it.
To put it bluntly, the world is changing rapidly, faster than before and some people won’t be able to keep up. They will get left behind. Their worlds will crumble as the rest progress and somehow, they just won’t be able make it back to the front of the line.
Mental illness is increasing, and will increase ten-fold in the future.
Substance abuse is out of control, and, do I need to write it? Is getting worse.
Will we be a nation who nudges aside the bodies as we waltz down our golden streets? Or will we be one where those who need help, can find it, is offered it, and it comes to them freely?
We must be able to come together in times of duress and emergency.
The following excerpt is copied from my Go Fund Me Fundraiser. It outlines the plans for finances and donations and shares my vision of a resource “store” for those homeless and in need.
My goal is to begin here in Jacksonville and spread out, just like the chain stores lol! Corporate homeless resource stores everywhere…
I joke, but it would be nice.
The only way things like this are possible is if the entire nation, even the jerks, get it into their head that it is not political.
It is humane.
From Go Fund Me:
Something happens to you when you become homeless. You change as a person. Your stability, security, and dignity is gone or at best, tested, and at risk of disappearing altogether.
Daily survival, stress, and anxiety become the order of the day. Where to sleep, park, shower or find internet for your kids or work; these simple things become very complicated.
As if that is not enough, things like deodorant, lotion and soap actually become an issue to get. Not to mention food and clothing… If you have children it is so much worse.
While reports about homelessness here in Jacksonville Florida have shown that the situation was better in 2019, that same study pointed out that there has been a 20% increase in “unsheltered adults” the same year.
Unsheltered adults are basically people who are not in the system. They live in cars, tents, abandoned buildings, on the streets, in the woods, and other places where they remain officially uncounted.
From personal experiences I can assure you it is not only adults either. Out in the woods of West and North Jacksonville, the State Parks, National Forests, Public lands; are whole families.
Parents who try to save their pride in the face of their children by telling them they are not homeless, but on an adventure or endless camping trip… Parents who are also terrified of losing those same children to the state due to their circumstances.
I want to help these people. There are so many. It breaks my heart to drive downtown and see the same disabled and helpless people out there on the streets.
I used to work as a security officer in downtown Jax. I have seen first hand who is down there. Some of those individuals are considered regulars and I have seen one woman time and time again. She obviously has had a stroke or has some sort of disability.
One day she was getting bullied in front of Harvey’s Grocery. All you can do is try and shoo away the punks but you know that when you are gone they will be back. I wish I could provide her and the others down there like her with a place of refuge. Someplace to go when the other shelters are all full.
That requires a lot of money and a good amount of training like the awesome people who run the shelters we have, have. I’m afraid I’m not that far along. What I do know, and what I can do, is find and provide the goods and supplies that these people and others, use and need while they are out there on those streets.
With your help.
With funds raised from multiple fundraisers, I would like to ask the community and those who can, for help. Help with this idea to provide individuals, families, young adults, whoever may be in dire need of help, with a nice, clean, and safe place where they can unwind, shop and be treated like anyone else in a normal store.
The best part is that from hygiene items to food and baby formula, everything in there will be free to those who are in need. No attitudes, no judgement of how they look, act or smell, and no strings, no bureaucracy.
But I definitely cannot do it alone no matter how sharp I try to cut the costs, and your donation to this project, whatever amount it may be, will absolutely help make a direct impact on those in need in Jacksonville Florida.
Donors will receive a monthly newsletter, personal invitations to events, and an everlasting welcome at Helping Nomads Resource Store should you ever need it in the future.
As well as a huge and permanent THANK YOU!! For caring and being compassionate humans.
Ghandi said that “a nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats it’s weakest members”… While Jacksonville is just a small portion of the nation, it is where we are, and we should try to help those in need retain their humanity, their dignity, and their strength.