Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lost Control?

What happens when things don't go your way?

Where do you turn when you can't find a job?

What do you do when you get some bad news?

What do you do when you have nothing?

You are not in control.

Focus on the ONE who is!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Let us never stop dreaming of the possibilities.

Here is a great post from Seth Godin!

I read it and dream of what God is up to!

Competence vs. possibility

"As we get more experienced, we get better, more competent, more able to do our thing.
And it's easy to fall in love with that competence, to appreciate it and protect it. The pitfall? We close ourselves off from possibility.
Possibility, innovation, art--these are endeavors that not only bring the whiff of failure, they also require us to do something we're not proven to be good at. After all, if we were so good at it that the outcome was assured, there'd be no sense of possibility.
We often stop surprising ourselves (and the market) not because we're no good anymore, but because we are good. So good that we avoid opportunities that bring possibility."

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Let's get a Physical.

One of the hardest lessons learned so far in my journey is the need to make sure the men I am working with are healthy.

Yes spiritual needs first, but the physical needs are very important.

This past week has been a whirl wind of emotions and tragic news.

My friend in the hospital has received some dreaded news about his health.

It will be a long road, but with God by his side he will move on.

In the bible Christ dealt with the physical needs as well as the spiritual needs of many.

He would heal a man to bring glory to The Father.

May Christ heal my friend and bring glory to God.

May those who witness such, turn towards him who is able to do more than we can ever imagine.

My priority was to get a job for an urban camper so he could have a place to stay.

I overlooked his physical needs.

A mistake that will never happen again! 

I need to make sure their physical needs are taken care of before employment.

Friday, April 26, 2013

What does it feel like to be called a bum?

I have seen it way too much on the streets and in the hospital where a person is treated inhumanely.

It needs to stop!

Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's a GREAT Day!

I haven't seen Jerry much in the last few months.

I think he took shelter elsewhere.

The other day he was out front the bus station. I was headed to Church.

As I drove by I honked my horn and waved hello.

Jerry had a big ol grin on his face and waved frantically back at me.

That's the way I like to start my day a wave and smile from a friend on the streets.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I wouldn't suggest it, BUT?

It would appear that my friend in the ICU at the hospital can get more accomplished there, than on the streets.

He spent countless hours trying to get into the Virginia Coordinated Care Program while he was on the streets. A program that coordinates healthcare services for uninsured individuals.

After being in the hospital a couple of days, a hospital social worker has provided all the necessary documents.

On top of it all she has mentioned to him the possibility of emergency disability income.

The help that can come from someone who knows what they are doing can be a real blessing especially when you lay in bed in the ICU.

I don't suggest going to the ICU for this kinda help, but its nice to know that help can find you, sometimes.

God can show up when you least expect it!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Watch what can happen with a housing first model.

Here is a great video that tracks the life of a chronically homeless man and puts him in a home with NO strings attached!

Think of what could be!


Friday, April 19, 2013


My friend is still in the hospital.

He text ed me this morning.

"Got some sleep." "Nurse said they are trying to decide what to do."

It's hard to imagine what it's like to be in a hospital bed with no family to support you.

Not unlike what it must feel like to be alone on the streets, but worst because you know that something is wrong.

His status has not improved much. 

I am headed down there now.

If you have met him feel free to pay him a visit.

He loves having visitors.

Continue to pray for him!

Life was not meant to be lived alone!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Life was Saved!

A life was saved, mistakes were made and I am left with a lot of questions!

The last five days have been like a huge roller coaster ride.

On Monday I wrote a post about a friend of mine who was released from a hospital about 4 am Sunday morning!

He had no money, no phone, and no ride.

One Friday my friend had made some very poor decisions.

He was going to be asked to leave the house he was living in.

I was in agreement with that decision.

But it turns out that God had laid it on Cassie's (Landlord) heart to be more concerned for my friend's health than his poor behavior.

As long as I have known him he has had respiratory issues.

Cassie would give him one last chance to stay, only if he would seek medical help.

He spent the day Monday doing just that, but the challenge for an Urban Camper is much different than most of the folks I know.

One service provider would not be able to see him until June 4th!

So the day was spent chasing rabbits down holes! 

He did put forth the effort, but with no immediate help.

On Tuesday I had him come to the church and do odd jobs in order to earn enough money to help pay this weeks rent.

By the end of the day he was wiped!

Wednesday morning I got a text asking me to take him to the hospital.

He had been sick all night long.

I asked my friend Charles if he could drive him down to the hospital.

At about 11:00 am I received this text from my friend.

"X-ray, Breathing treatment, Cat-scan, and IV looks like Pneumonia."

Then at 2 pm another text: 

"I'm headed to ICU"

I then went to the hospital and found out that not only were his sodium levels dangerously low, they found a mass on one of his lungs, on top of all the respiratory issues.

Please pray!

When your sodium levels are that low you run a high risk of a heart attack, thus the admittance to the ICU.

A biopsy will be performed later when he is more stable.

I am grateful for Cassie caring so much!!!

She wanted to see him well!

God has a way of moving even despite my own lack of understanding or sensitivity.

Forgive me.

The questions that are raised far exceed this post but here are a few.

Why didn't the doctor on Saturday find the low sodium levels when he was there and blood tests were run?

Why did this same hospital put him out at 4 am?

The effects from low sodium were exactly the same symptoms that my friend was showing on Saturday.

I am thrilled that he is getting proper care now.

Wednesday I saw a different story in the ICU than the emergency room last Saturday night.

I don't like what I see as prejudicial and inhumane treatment from an organization that states on its website "established to preserve and restore health for all people".

My experience on Wednesday has been the total opposite!

He has been diagnosed and treated with the utmost respect!

The nurses have been caring and very helpful.

A life was saved today, but I still have a lot of questions!

Thank you Cassie for your caring heart and listening to God!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Real Life Change with Housing

A great video about housing first. 

Notice the change in the man's demeanor.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ministry or Money?

I wrote a post a while back about staying on mission.

Some times we can get off mission when we focus on the money.

This same theme keeps coming up again and again.

The other week I went to a meeting with several different organizations that were working with the homeless community.

The common theme of the meeting seemed to be focused on the need for more resources ie... money.

In the real world of non profits I get it.

These organizations are doing some great work! 

They are run by great people and are impacting thousands of people for the good.

But when I speak to some of the recipients of their services they have a different take on things.

They have shared with me that the non profits some times get off their  originally mission of helping and get side tracked on focusing on where the next dollar is going to come from.

Sunday I read a very sad article about one of the local shelters, Freedom House

They will be closing their doors at the end of this month.

It was mentioned in the article that "we just don't have the money any more".

I have personally seen the damage that can come from focusing on the money and not the mission or calling.

I have seen it in my personal life as well as the life of my Church.

God calls us to love him and then each other and that is where we need to start.

If we do what we are called to do then the money will follow.

It's his money any way!

Matthew 22:36-40
New International Version (NIV)

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

I believe ministry must come first!

I am looking forward to what God has planned to pull THE CHURCH together to serve the Homeless community as a result of this big void that will be left after the end of this month.

I see it as an opportunity for God to show himself strong!

Thank you Melba and staff for all your wonderful years of service and sacrifice!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Unbelievable! I thought hospitals were to CARE for people!

On Saturday I received a call concerning a friend of mine.

He was having some serious medical issues.

He was confused and disoriented.

He couldn't remember the last 24 hours.

An ambulance was called and he was taken to the hospital.

I followed the ambulance and then waited an 1 1/2 hrs before I could go back and see him.

The emergency room was like organized chaos!

After several hours my friend received an IV.

As the evening went on he became more agitated. He was finally administered some medication to calm him down.

He fell asleep and I went home that night planning on seeing him the next day at the hospital.

I received a text the next morning at about 7 am.

My friend explained to me that he was woken up at 3am from a dead sleep.

He was asked if he was feeling better and then RELEASED from the hospital at 3am!

He then proceeded to walk home in the dark with no money, no wallet, no phone and no ride!

I called Charles that morning to get his input.

Charles is a man of years of experience. He said that was normal behavior for the hospital.

This is how you are treated when you are homeless and without insurance.

Even though I can understand the money issue to some degree, does that make it right to put some one out at 3am?

Friday, April 12, 2013

It does work!

I was speaking with Charles today and he told me that Paul got a job!

Paul is a man who ended up here in Richmond by way of New York.

He literally left everything and got on a bus to Richmond.

Charles took Paul in a couple of months ago. 

He had no where to go.

That first day I met Paul was the first day he had run into Charles.

I thought to myself why not give him some work to do.

I was fixing up my house to put it on the market to sell. I needed some help moving some mulch.

Paul accepted my offer and I picked him up the next day.

Paul did an awesome job around the house.

I thought Paul would serve as a great employee for whoever would take a chance on him.

For weeks now, Charles has been trying to find Paul a job. 

Charles took him in with no money and no income, but gave him a chance at a new start!

Today Paul got another chance at a fresh start with a new job!

If you provide the housing for the Urban Camper, then that opens doors for so much more.

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Paul and look forward to the days to come when I too will be his neighbor.

Housing First, works and allows people to get back to work. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Homeless in Jail?

The other day I received a phone call from Shelton.

He called to tell me that Ed had been put in jail for trespassing.

It turns out, this was his second time for being charged for trespassing.

My question is: Does that make sense?

Here is a guy who is sleeping in the woods with no where to go. He has done no harm to anyone.

Most people don't even know where he is sleeping.

I read an article that suggests the local area government and services spend at least $40,000 a year on a homeless individual.

The article also suggests that the cost might be a lot more than that.

The costs associated with homelessness are medical expense, incarceration and such.

If more money was spent on housing then these cost would be cut in half.

I have seen houses being bought for as little as $25,000 and then fixed up to be lived in.

There are no easy answers. There are always two sides to every story.

I am looking at it from a numbers perspective and them numbers don't make sense to me.

The city could save a whole lot of money, if they would just spend it in the right places.

It makes me wonder why the city is building a much larger jail.

As one person shared with me "they have to show they need it".

Therefor does it make sense to put the homeless in jail?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Does God use Text Messaging?

Last night I received a text from Shelton who went on the Urban Campers Retreat at 11:10pm.

I didn't actually read it until I got up early this morning.

All it said was Hebrews 6:11-12.

I am not a biblical scholar so I went to look up what it said.

Hebrews 6:11-12
New Living Translation (NLT)

11 Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. 12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.

I am going to keep doing what I am doing and praying for a Dream Center!

I love the fact that God is relevant even through a text message!

Thanks Shelton!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dream Center

On March 21, 2013 I wrote a blog post called "Is Richmond Ready for a Dream Center?"

I believe it is, but the timing needs to come from God.

I am still in the learning stages of what God wants to teach me through all this.

If it were up to me I would build it today!

I have a tendency to get ahead of God.

That's my plan, but what about God?

I know he will build it.

I just need to have enough faith and a lot of patience, it WILL happen.

As I speak with people about the idea I can see the dream coming true. 

So many people have expressed a true desire to see it come to fruition.

I dreamed and prayed for a retreat for the homeless and in a matter of months that came true.

I am praying for the Dream Center and waiting to see how God will bring all the pieces together.

This is a great journey!

Please join me in prayer for a Dream Center in Richmond!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Could Silicon Valley Solve the Homeless Situation?

→ EconomyTech

Video: The Homeless Tent City in Google and Facebook's Backyard

Fri Apr. 5, 2013 1:17 PM PDT
As the rich have become richer and the poor even poorer, the valley's middle class has disappeared. Nowhere is inequality more obvious than Silicon Valley, where the homeless are building tent cities not far from Google and Facebook headquarters. Moyers & Company reports from the tent cities of San Jose:

Friday, April 5, 2013

Invisible People

The way society treats the homeless is to act like they don't exist.

If they don't exist then we don't have to deal with them.

I used to act that way myself!

Mark Horvath from L.A. has created a great video blog site called 


He does a great job of presenting video testimonies from people who are domestically challenged (new term I heard on his latest video).

Mark wants to use social media to educate the public on the issue of homelessness and do away with it.

He is a regular on twitter with the user name @hardlynormal.

If you want to learn more about the issue then keep up with Mark Horvath!

I hope some day he will come to Richmond and teach us a thing or two!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Urban Camper Experience

The link below is to a great article about a magazine editor who became an urban camper for three days this past winter.

It allows you the opportunity to get a glimpse of what life on the streets is like.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

To be an Urban Camper is to be Fully Employed!

For the longest of time I have often felt like the men on the street whom I have met should be employed.

These men are intelligent, respectful and have great personalities.

Why don't they have a job?

What keeps them on the streets?

What I have come to learn more recently is that they ARE employed!

It's a full time job being an Urban Camper (Homeless).

If you don't believe me then walk in their shoes.

I have listened to the stories and read the articles about what a day on the streets looks like.

It's nothing I can fully appreciate looking in from the outside.

I have never been an Urban Camper.

I need to quit my judging and start helping!

Don't expect change to happen, if your not willing to get your hands dirty.

New employment will only happen after one gives up his current job.

One needs to stop being an Urban Camper and become a resident of a home before he can take on a new job.

Housing is the key to real employment and to a fresh start!