Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day - 160 Homelessrob and the Tampa Times

I was pretty happy when the reporter for the Tampa Times said that she had "found" my blog. LOL, that means to me that this little world of mine is becoming more mainstream.

We spent the day together doing interviews and driving around looking for a a female, homeless, vet. Apparently that is a hard find. No one could find a female, homeless, vet. I know they exist. I've seen them. So they did the interview with me and some of my friends about my life. We also talked to some homeless people. I showed them where I lived, and where some homeless people hang out at shelters, and other kinds of resources. So, I did my best with it and I hope it helped them. If they choose to do a story with what I gave them I hope it causes change on the homeless issue here in Tampa.

I hope!

I did learn a few things along the process of this interview.

We were talking to someone, and at one point this person said something like "homelessness is in the mind, its not a bad economy, its something in the brain". I actually know the person who said this I and I have a fair amount of respect for her. This person does understand homelessness. However, for this topic I must disagree.

In order to have "homelessness in your brain" (or the "homeless glitch" as I had a feeling my friend was trying to say), you have to first know what homelessness is in the first place.

For me it was the economy. Pure, plain, and simple. Again, I went from making 23.51 an hour to 9.00 an hour, to shortly after that - nothing. My trade (manufacturing) died. Along with construction, along with teaching, along with many other things. I (like a lot of people in these trades) had never experienced homelessness until it just happened. Heck, I did not even know what it was. I certainly never thought it would happen to me. I can believe homelessness is in one's brain (It sure is in my brain) but let's not try to assume that one becomes homeless because they were born with a mental need or want to live a life on the streets. People become homeless for many different reasons. Loss of jobs is one of them.

At another point in the day I heard two different homeless people mention where they stand on the same issue. One homeless man mentioned that finding resources to obtain an I.D. was simple and easy for him here in Tampa.On the other hand, another man mentioned that obtaining his I.D., here in Tampa, was impossible. For me, I think of my Lance experiences and how hard it was for Lance. Lance had no I.D. at all and that was a HUGE problem. I had to wounder if the first man actually had at least one form of I.D. to start with. Listening to these two men was great for me. It reminded me that even as homeless people live in the very same homeless world, at the same time, we do not. Our personal struggles are almost always the same. However, in that struggle we often find different results and have different out comes (as in life). In the same notion, what works for one homeless person might not work for another.

At another point in the day I tried to explain what I am actually trying to do here with this blog. Like always, my thoughts were scattered and I kind of had a hard time explaining. However, it did remind me to remind you of what I'm doing here and what the reason is for this blog.

Reason for this blog:
To entertain you with a story. That's is it! It is not to educate you about the homeless issue, I'm not fit for that. This blog is simply a story. A person trying to get from point A to Z, and happens to start off homeless. I talk about homelessness because it is a part of my story, a huge part. For now though, this blog is simply here to entertain you, my reader.

If you read this blog and you are not entertained by now, then I did not do my job!

I do want to thank the Tampa Times for taking an interest in me, no matter what comes out of it. I learned a few things along our road trip.  My offer is always open for them. Whatever I can do to help.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day - 153 Homelessrob on

Finally, something good I get to talk about. I'll tell you the story.

About a month and a half ago, somewhere in the depths of Google +,  I was approached by a wonderful woman. Fiona was not happy. She told me that just a day or two before she saw me on Google + she had seen something that a homeless hater had posted, and it had bothered her. She said to me that she was mad about it and wanted to do something. We talked for some time and Fiona told me she liked my blog. Earlier a few people had mentioned to me something about doing a book. I never really cared about doing it and I had never really given it much thought. However, armed with Fiona (who explained that the actual act of publishing on was pretty easy) and our mutual desire to tip the tables as much as possible on the homeless issue, a deal was made.

Deal: She would edit the first 88 days of my sloppy spelling and I would publish it on Simple!

That was about a month and a half ago. Fiona probably had no idea how bad my spelling was, LOL! Poor woman, she's great!

Now today, I'm happy to say that the first 88 days of this blog is now published on It is called

"Yelling Into The Wind".
and it can be found here:  (Ebook)

or  (paperback)

I'm always saying that some help on the homeless  issue is better than doing nothing at all. I'm always saying you don't have to start off huge. You do not have to set out to save the world, and I'm also always saying that if you don't know what to do, then just consider the things you are good at and think about how to use your God-given gifts to make a difference. That's what I think and that's what Fiona did. She saw something she did not like, that came from some homeless hater, and used her skills to support me.

Fiona and I have no idea what is going to happen here with this e-book. Not a clue! It's all up in the air. However, I am sure about a few things, win, loose, or draw, no one can say that together, Fiona and I did not at least try to help the homeless cause. It took time, work, and understanding along with some will and drive (much more from Fiona than from myself).

If we do nothing..... nothing will happen, right?

To celebrate the first 88 days of my blog being published on and to thank Fiona and all  my supporters who have been reading my blog this whole time, I have decided to donate the first month of sales (whatever it is) to kids with cleft lips.

You are thinking "why not homelessness" right? I say why can't one cause help out another?
Besides, I could not have done this on my own. I had help and supporters, more than I probably ever deserve.

And who could say these little tigers can't use a hand.

Every penny of my first month goes here, no matter how much it is.
Thank you to all my friends and readers who have helped me along this way.

A very special THANK YOU to Fiona!
I hope now that all of us are working together we can make some smiles.
Fingers crossed!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Day - 147 Homelessrob, God Knows More!

I have to say that I do not always tell you, my readers and friends, everything. At least not my on-the-spot progress. I tell you as much as I can about myself personally, that I do often. You ask and I'll tell. That's the deal. I do my best to uphold my end of the bargain. You deserve no less from me. However, I do not always talk about all of my progress, as they arrive, that is. That would confuse you as much as it confuses me. So, I tell you as much about me as I can on a personal level.

Allow me to explain the things I do not tell you about me, please. Good stuff. Lots and lots of good stuff. I did a count recently. I concluded that I now have several things going on, all because of this blog, all in the nature of this homeless cause, all because of kind hearted people. However, I have not mentioned any of this publicly (here). I have reasons for this.

One, nothing is final. I hate telling people things and getting them thinking, and worked up, about something will happen only to have it fall apart and fail. Sure, I'll talk to people about it. People that I think can contribute or might have an interest in it or might find it a benefit to them. However, until it's all said and done, my fingers can only be crossed. Right now, I have nothing final.

Second, I have to steady myself. I have to keep my composure. I keep thinking to myself "if all these things happen then what will become of me??"

 I do not wish to lose myself anymore than I have, due to homelessness, whether good or bad. Focus and concentration are all key here for me. I am a person that cannot keep his life together. Wining the power ball will change nothing for me. If I'm going to obtain my goal I must stay focused, even if things might be looking up for me at the moment.

Next, I'm likely to fail! This is a little different from number one. It's one thing to fail a thing or two here and there, but trust me when I say I could have 100 good and great things going on and have them all fail. I've been prone to this life for a long time now. I'm starting to think this might be intertwined into my D.N.A.

Yes, homelessness has me drugged. My friend Lance is a prime example here. I'm not saying by any means that Lance is a failure. Simply, just the Homelessrob portion oft his life is. I mean, what are the odds? What are the odds that after 13 years of never being in trouble and never seeing the inside of a jail, that it would happen all at the same time that he starts to make moves? Because of me! LOL, I came to a conclusion about why that is too. I figured that it was an act of nature. Much like camouflage, Lance was hidden from bad luck being in his natural state. Then when he shifted gears upon my arrival, bad luck found him. This might be a common occurrence in all our lives. I have not figured it out fully yet. However, I am prone to thinking that this notion is particularly hard for homeless people.

Now, with that said, I just don't let it all out. I think things are best that way. If I could ever finish something, and that something is good and contributing to obtaining my goal, you will be the first to know about my very victorious victory.

What does trouble me about all this is God. Yes, very troublesome. I have to admit that after Lance I was very conflicted about that relationship. FURIOUS and DEEPLY ENRAGED would be the correct words to use to describe me in that little moment of weakness alongside a hissy fit.

For a long time I thought God wanted me to go walk this homelessness off in a very specific walk. I thought about it so much. It consumed my thoughts. Then things started to build up, completely outside of these plans. These other projects are all great works. They all help (in my opinion). They are all worth doing and doing my very best at. However, they are very clearly taking away something that I KNOW I was told to do. I simply cannot fit it all in. There is no room for mistakes here. NONE, let alone failure. I've taken this up with the Man several times. I still hear the same answer. WALK! Over and over in my head, like an echo that will not die.

I know the typical Christian response here. God will lead the way. God will straighten it all out. Right? YES! Shay Kelley would tell me right now to simply trust. She told me that to trust and to have faith are two different things. There was a time in my life when I thought I did trust and that I knew the difference. I have to assume now that this is something that will need more focus out of me.

How or why would God be adamant about me leaving Florida and moving about and then fill me with things that keep me here in one spot? What do you do when conflicted in this nature?

For right now I will say this:

Win, loose, or draw, I'm onto my projects (if that's what I can call them). I'm not done with Lance yet either, unless he decides so. If that is what he chooses then I will definitely understand. I'll really have to talk to him though. If Lance understands and is still down, he and I will make our point together that NO human being is worth a quit or timeout. NO, I do not consider Lance a "project" at all! I'm simply just not ready to quit on him. I still have his stuff. And regarding the other stuff, I'm gonna shark this tree until my arms come loose. Remain calm and stay as focused as possible, that's what I tell myself. I can say this though, I'm giving it all everything I have. No matter what. No matter how it all ends for me. I'm full steam ahead. If it all fails on me then I'll know the truth about my life, and this story will end on that note. I have my fingers crossed for the otherwise.

Drop a prayer for me..... I could use a few!

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Homeless of Tampa, Florida

In the game of homelessness it is safe to say I've been around. I have seen places that were very homeless friendly and effective in fixing the problem. I have also seen places that are not so homeless friendly. Tampa, FL is the least homeless friendly place I have ever seen. By far, Tampa was the hardest place for me (and from my understanding, MANY other homeless people as well) to survive,. The homeless people I see here are beat up and beat down, hard.

I have come to a few conclusions about why this is. I have concluded that the biggest reason is because the "homeless haters" of Tampa, FL  do not just dislike the homeless, and would like nothing more than to push them out, but also have loud mouths and the ears of the law makers and city council here in Tampa hear them well. For some reason (probably money) the law makers and city council listen to them. This bad attitude and support with power has led to a very difficult life to live for the homeless here in Tampa, FL. I believe that was what they wanted in the first place to create a difficult life to live for the homeless, in an effort to push them out.

Recent laws on pan handling, news stories with public comments, polls, and the overall bad attitude of Tampa, Florida (regarding homelessness), have all led me to this conclusion, along with my research in the making of this blog post.

Homeless haters, law makers, and city council here in Tampa run around the homeless problems but they are clueless. They make decisions and pass laws that make no since at all, in an attempt to solve the homeless problem by pushing the homeless out. The reality of it however, is that they are actually making the problem worse.

For example:

Recently, Tampa, FL passed laws that restricted pan handling. They (city council) said it was to keep people safe while in traffic (homeless people and drivers). I only had a chance to see the last month and a half of this homeless bashing via T.V. But what I saw on T.V. was, in my opinion, one of the biggest waste of time, resources, and tax payers money that I have ever witnessed (I want to be rude right there, but I'll keep it to myself). A clueless city council member who could not think of anything better to do (literally), along with a bunch of homeless haters with nothing better to do (literally), actually got the ban passed.

The ban is simple. No one is allowed to pan handle 6 out of the 7 days of the week. Its OK to do it on Sunday (go figure). This ban did NOTHING. People just walk around here all the time, and to me it is actually safer to J walk. The traffic here is the worst you can imagine. I dare anyone to stand on ANY intersection , push the button, wait for the little man to pop up, and try their best to cross the street without getting hit. I DARE you! You are likely to die, VERY likely to die, homeless or not.

So, here we are, a room full of "great minds" and homeless haters passing a ban against homeless people that pushes them off the sidewalks and into property where there are even more laws that restrict homeless people from being. Tell me where - exactly - in Tampa the homeless people are allowed to go? Homeless haters will say right now "out of state".

So predictable.

What happened here is that the homeless haters of Tampa, FL all got together with a bunch of people with power, not understanding of the problem, and made life hard for all homeless people. It's that simple! I could not help but think to myself, that when it was all over, if these people had spent half as much brain power fixing the homeless problem in a holistic way, as they did making it worse, they could have accomplished so much!.  This is just one of the many attacks on the homeless here in Tampa, Florida, that I have found.

I also like to keep up with the local homeless issues here with the news. From time to time I'll go to a local news stations' website and look around. When I do find a homeless story (and there is always one) I like to read the public comments. It helps me understand how and what the local residents think and feel about the homeless people in their area. If you want to see a nasty bunch of homeless haters you should do this.

LOL, one comment that appears over and over is this: "do us all a favor and leave our city" (a homeless hater telling the homeless to leave). I see that one all the time in the Tampa comments regarding the homeless.

But look, I'll show you what I mean. This is an actual story I found that was done by a local news team a few years ago:

Six homeless people backed by a handful of advocacy organizations filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the city this week that challenges the constitutionality of a series of ordinances that target homeless people.

The city has passed six ordinances that restrict some behaviors associated with street homelessness in recent years, including measures that limit where and when the homeless can sleep and the amount of personal belongings they can keep by their side.

'What has been happening in St. Petersburg over the past couple years is one of the worst examples nationally of widespread abuse of homeless persons' civil and human rights'  said Tulin Ozdeger, civil rights director for the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, one of three organizations representing the city's homeless. The Southern Legal Counsel and Florida Institutional Legal Services have also sided with the homeless.

The lawsuit, filed in Tampa, claims the city's ordinances violate various constitutional protections, including freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, freedom from unreasonable searches and free speech.

Ozdeger said the ordinances also fail to provide sufficient guidance for police officers, which encourages arbitrary enforcement.

"We feel that we have a very strong case," she said.

Advocates hope a judge will grant an injunction against enforcement of the ordinances and declare them unconstitutional.

Responding to complaints about public urination and sidewalks crowded with dirty blankets and clothes, Mayor Rick Baker and the City Council rallied for tough restrictions against the homeless in recent years. The city's legal department vetoed some suggestions, deeming them unconstitutional.

The ordinances that were passed were carefully crafted and should hold up in court, said Mark Winn, the city's chief assistant attorney.

"We are not surprised by any of the allegations in there," he said of the lawsuit.

The 63-page complaint is the latest example of the sometimes difficult relationship the city has had with its homeless. The city gained nationwide scorn in 2007 after police slashed homeless people's tents, and advocates have staged protests downtown.

The lawsuit claims the city regularly searches the homeless without probable cause and makes arrests for public urination though the homeless have nowhere to use the bathroom. Their belongings have been snatched from city parks and public areas without adequate notice and without information how to retrieve them. The homeless also have been ordered to move, under threat of arrest, from public places where they are lawfully allowed to be, according to the lawsuit.

The named plaintiffs are Anthony Catron, Charles Hargis, Michael Lile, Ferdinand Lupperger, Jo Anne Reynolds and William Shumate, a popular homeless leader in downtown St. Petersburg.

At Williams Park on Thursday night, patches of homeless people reclined in the public square. Told of the lawsuit, they expressed hope life on the street would get easier.

"I ain't never been nowhere like this, with the rules and regulations," said Nygee Shabazz, 50, a drifter who's been in St. Petersburg about 15 years. "We are pawns. We are nobody."

Comments to this post include:

Wow! Homeless in St Pete for 15 years.

That's using the safety net as a hamock.

If the city doesn't do something about these feral people nobody will want to go down town.

It's discusting the way they have taken over Williams Park.

Anonymous May 22, 2009 8:30 AM
This is great. The city provides homeless services at taxpayer's expense that attract homeless people from around the country and then the homeless people sue the city. You cannot logically expect to stop homelessness by attracting more homeless.

Anonymous May 22, 2009 8:53 AM
There you go Bill Maxwell. The homeless have a civil right to disrupt the lives of the homed. Or at least they have lawyers who deem it their duty to inflict these poor vermin on the rest of us. Let em move into these vile lawyer's houses.

Anonymous May 22, 2009 8:55 AM
Why don't these advocates have the homeless camp and hang out on their property if they care so much. Sorry, but the homeless are a blight on business and tourism. I am sick of my taxes going to fight these lawsuits. They don't contribute to society

Anonymous May 22, 2009 9:39 AM
Why isn't this front page news?!?!! What's wrong Times, don't want to bring attention to this issue, only to the hit and runs that fit your social agenda?

Anonymous May 22, 2009 9:40 AM
Shabazz... you've been homeless for 15 years, living off the kindness of others... sounds like it is time for you to grow up.

Anonymous May 22, 2009 9:52 AM
The poor homeless eat three times a day. They have free showers, free beds (if they want it) free blankets, pillows. Most will tell you they have a sweet deal and there is not reason to work, unless you go to every corner and see them begging for $

Anonymous May 22, 2009 10:28 AM
So the rest of us have to step over them if they want to lay on the sidewalk? This is nuts. Working folks have the right to enjoy life without having to deal with the scummy, scary homeless. There are bathrooms by the st pete waterfront they can use

Anonymous May 22, 2009 10:57 AM
Funny I never quite saw these rights in the constitutional, however is it not my constitutional right then not to pay for their upkeep. Ergo if you do not like the rules and laws where you are move on, it's your right to do so & we won't stop you!

Anonymous May 22, 2009 11:35 AM
Being homeless is a sweet deal? You rushing out to join their ranks Maury?

That said, I wonder if I have a Constitutional right not to have pan handlers knocking on my doors at night begging for money or throwing stuff at my car when I tell them no

Anonymous May 22, 2009 12:35 PM
Wow; there are some truly heartless people here! I don't normally think this way, but I sincerely hope that all of you become mentally ill (yes, it can happen to you), lose your housing and come up against people just like your former selves!

Anonymous May 22, 2009 1:06 PM
There are more homeless citizens than available services. Many are veterans, disabled, or unemployed because of lay offs. It could happen to anyone of us. Rich or poor, no one deserves to be harassed for merely existing. Homelessness is not a crime

Anonymous May 22, 2009 2:39 PM
If people who have homes and jobs and sukch have a responsibility to the homeless what responsibility do the homeless have to the taxpayer? Go visit San Francisco to see what lawyers create when they force crazy panhandlers upon the rest of us.

Anonymous May 22, 2009 3:05 PM
Every other homeless man claims to be a veteran. Liberals like to buy into this lie 'cause it serves their causes. The truth is the vast majority of "homeless veterans" know the lie is worth a few extra bucks and a bucket of sympathy from Danell.

Anonymous May 22, 2009 3:22 PM
So the homeless have a right to urinate in public? What if the public should exercise their right to urinate on the possession of the homeless. How many "advocates" would defend that right?

Anonymous May 22, 2009 4:15 PM
They need to get a life & I don't think the working
folks need to pay for the freeloaders. Give them a time frame to get it together & then a bus ticket out of here.

Anonymous May 22, 2009 4:16 PM
If they don't like the way they are treated do us all a favor and leave our city.

Anonymous May 22, 2009 4:23 PM
Threefuries from Tallahassee might be right so lets help them out and ship them to tallahassee and see if you stay as liberal as you are now....I suspect not, should they be camping( and urinating ) on your doorstep!

Anonymous May 22, 2009 5:28 PM
Roy, get a grip.

Nobody said any of us SHOULD be urinating in public. But when there's nowhere else to go... St. Pete is sadly one of the finest examples of a failed society: homeless people on the street AND empty buildings everywhere.

Anonymous May 22, 2009 7:28 PM
I've been a life long resident & am disgusted by the aggressive "homeless". They have options (Pinellas hope) but most DO NOT want to live by the rules & want an easy ride. I spend my hard earned money everywhere but downtown St. Pete..Pitiful!!

Anonymous May 22, 2009 7:34 PM
To Mike from St Pete: the homeless DO have options!! Most want a hand out & not a hand up. Why don't you open up your home & lead by example. I am empathetic to those in need but am also realistic to this sad display of entitlement to harass.

Anonymous May 22, 2009 7:46 PM
Kahunna: Well said & on point!!!!!!
Danell: You're right, Homelessness is not a crime but harassment by aggressive vagrants is! Besides, most of there signs read "Why lie, want beer". I am over it!!!

Anonymous May 22, 2009 8:24 PM
Homelessness, like skateboarding, is not a crime - but it ought to be! Danell, there is a war on so the supposed vets should re-enlist. The more services you provide the more it attracts. Try feeding a stray cat one day & see what happens.

Anonymous May 22, 2009 11:06 PM
These dregs of society should all be collected and shipped off to a work camp and made to clean our roads and perform other community work. I don't feel sorry for them one bit. Most want to be homeless.

Anonymous May 22, 2009 11:08 PM
Between the homeless and preditor parking ticket writers (police) I never go downtown.

Anonymous May 23, 2009 3:24 AM
DO NOT buy that "veteran" bit for one second... as a vet myself, and an active vets' advocate, take it from me that if they are homeless, it is entirely their choice to be. And most are simply frauds who feel entitled and NEVER even wore the uniform

Anonymous May 25, 2009 11:16 AM
did any of these city officials offer food, clothing or shelter to these people? Any charity organizations in the area that couold help? How much did the taxpayers pay for them to draft the news ordinances? What happens when 1000 more come to town?

I hardly ever seen the local news report any good that's being done to fix the problem here in Tampa. When I ask myself why that is the only answer I can think of is "because there really is nothing good in way of this problem going on". But you can see by this what the homeless people here in Tampa, Florida are up against.

I have recently seen this link:

where this statement was made:

The metropolitan area with the highest rate of homelessness was Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida, at 57 per 10,000 people. Among the states with the highest rate were Oregon and Hawaii, at 45 per 10,000 people.
The national rate was 21 per 10,000 people.

I'm pretty sure that if you look around you will see a lot of data that supports that statement. And by this you can see the problem is not only real but also not going away anytime soon. All you have to do is look around Tampa and see that the problem is huge here and the solutions to fix the problem (if any) are going nowhere fast.

Recently I spoke with someone who said that the biggest reason there are so many homeless people here is because of the winter weather. To me, that makes since. In an effort to survive the streets and stay warm, homeless people will come to Florida. I have actually seen people talk about this often as they were about to become homeless and thought about how they would survive. I can see a "soon to be" homeless person coming here as a way to survive and getting stuck very easily!  This weather factor is not likely to change. The weather might be a very big reason for the problem, but it has nothing to do with the solution.

Now, if you are thinking I'm going to say something here like "there is no help here in Tampa, Fl," then you are wrong. There is help here in Tampa. If you are homeless here and IF (that's a big IF) you  have the resources to look for that help, you will find it eventually.

Nonetheless, I still have to say this: most of the help here comes in the form of simple resources (shelters, food, clothing) and yes, this is mostly done by the local churches as far has I can see. It is quite obvious, however,  that there is little help coming from other organizations. Sure, there are some, and YES, some are even  effective, but I have found that the organizations are limited, and also the problem is simply too big for them to handle by themselves. Simply put, (and I'm sure most EVERY SINGLE homeless person here in Tampa will agree), if you are homeless in Tampa, Florida and you look around hard enough you will survive the day to day struggles of the homelessness life. However, you are highly unlikely to get off the streets.

So what needs to happen here in Tampa, FL to get this problem fixed?

One,  we need a city council member who understands the problem for what it is and also uses their brains to work out the problem. That would be a start.

Second, unity of the resources and organizations that are available. Now, I realize that's very unlikely to happen, but I can still hope. These resources need to pull together and figure out a way to be seen and utilized by NOT just the homeless here, but also the average citizen who wants to help. Today a friend sent me a blog link, and in that blog I read this statement:

 "Collaboration rather than isolation; working to fill the gap with other agencies. As collaboration happens there needs to be effective needs assessment to determine what the true need is rather than the perceived need. Clothes and food may not be the real need".

I find a lot of truth in this when I think about Tampa. This is a basic anti-homeless structure, effectively used by not just small groups and organizations, but also by entire cites. I have seen it used. It is effective. Tampa, FL simply has not figured this out yet, or they have, but the homeless haters here have bashed this concept down in their attempts to move the homeless out.

Last, the hatters here need to stop crying about it, and stop leaving the problem to the few local churches and small organizations that do help. The homeless haters here in Tampa have large mouths and it's a shame that they have so much attention and influence over the law makers and city council people here. The homeless people of Tampa, FL are not going anywhere. Whether they (you, homeless haters) like it or not. And believe it or not, these solutions I propose now are easily said and easily done. If you live here in Tampa, I challenge you to take a good look outside your window and consider that what I tell you now is a truth. I believe you will see it yourself.

The following is my personal favorite homeless hater here in Tampa, Florida. Here is a very smart man that was in favor of the pan handling ban. He is easy to find on FB and you can see there (if you don't believe me here) that he makes all his nasty statements public.

"my area has been "scum" free now. If they do come back I don't have a problem calling the popo or the mayor."

another by him:
- " both my wife and I have been to intersection of hillsborough & 56. They are working it. They also run fast and ditch their signs at the mall Denny's. Like roaches, but and with no vests."

and another (YES, this guy is my favorite hater):
"stores pay taxes, lots of them, have inspections, health codes, collect sales tax, employ people, and are a benefit to the community. what do panhandlers/hawkers in the streets bring to our community, crime, don't pay taxes, cheat welfare, rob stores of customers so stores have to lay off employees, don't collect taxes, don't have licenses, don't pass health codes, and when injured will sue not only the driver, but the city too. our city council and lawyers are morons"

Here is one from one of his responders:
- "That panhandler may also be a sexual predator, murderer, or wanted. I'd like to get the scum off our streets"

And here is the first nut some more:
"Well, at least our city council are consistent, at being ignorant morons."

"Well, I was right, some yo-yo is going to print a special newspaper for panhandlers., so they can still be in the streets. City Council, Mayor, you suck."

"As I sat in Burger Kings drive up yesterday (for over 20 minutes) one of the bums that "sells" a paper IN the streets walked up to the drive up window and demanded to be served, as he was "starving". It is against Fl law to serve anyone that just walks up to a drive up window, but then, these bums really don't care about our laws here in fla, and our officials don't really care about enforcing them."

I've seen quite a bit while here in Tampa. I see a huge problem with homelessness. I see a huge problem with the attitude about the homeless. I also see a lot of people that support that bad attitude. However, I also see people that do want to help. The people that do want to help are all one their own, it seems. They don't get support. They are simply left to deal with the problem. While the ones that do not help cry their little eyes out, throw fits about it, and make things worse. WHOOOO HOOOOO BOOOOOO HOOOOOO!

I want you to know that I did not take this post lightly. I thought long and hard about what I wanted say. I also want you to know that in an effort to make sure what I'm saying was accurate I talked to quite a few people. Yes, these were prominent people, and yes, for the VERY most part, they agree with me. From Executive Directors, to cops, to homeless people, to a few public leaders, across the board there is a wide range of opinions. However, I have found that most everyone agrees when I say "Tampa, FL wants to push the homeless out" and "the law makers and city council of Tampa do not want to do the right thing, largely on account of people that are against the homeless". It is simply much easier to push the homeless out, and make homelessness someone else's problem, than to actually THINK about how to fix it, and fix it. What's funny is that the law makers and city council of Tampa has not done either.

Dear Tampa FL homeless hater,
If you want the problem to go away then I suggest you stop crying. Instead of wasting your time trying to push the homeless out you could actually do something to help fix the problem. I'm willing to bet that if you had that attitude you would find yourself  in a whole new, very enlightened, life as opposed to being part of what's making the problem worse, and being the half witted, wimpy, cry babies you are now.

Dear Tampa city council and law makers,
Stop passing laws that are based on the half wits above, then standing around scratching your heads wondering why the problem is getting worse and not going away.

Dear homeless helpers,
I think you do a great job with what you have. But this should not be simply left to you to deal with. I see you all have good solutions for the day to day struggles of the homeless. But what the homeless here in Tampa need (and clearly do not have) are long term solutions. Resources and events that are going to help take the homeless people out of the problem. Tampa, FL can be a great place, even with the homeless problem. I believe that very much. People like communities that care about people.

Usually I don't get like this. Usually my tone is much different. I'm just fed up with the crying and the people that support that attitude. As you can see by looking around it has not gotten anyone anywhere. The crying hasn't stopped anymore than the homeless problem solved.

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Day - 142 Homelessrob, Introduces His Mom!

I love my mom, but she likes to poke around in my life at times. LOL, you did not think I'd start like that did you?

I must have been on about day 40 of this blog. It was at that point people really started to notice me. I started getting messages from people almost every day. People building me up, saying that I inspire them. I never expected it. I did not know how to handle it. I'm simply not worthy of it. I still feel that way.

So there I was, whimpering like a little girl that lost her Barbie, telling my mother that my own big mouth was getting me heard, LOL. There she was telling me to man up and get a clue. This is typical talk when it comes to my mom. I can't tell you how many times in life she has verbally attacked me, telling me to stop acting like a woos (someone that is a wimp; afraid to do what he should do ) .

All I said to my mom was "Mom, I've been doing this blog thing, and people are responding". The next time I spoke to her she mentioned that she liked my blog. LOL, she snooped! I could not believe it. Honestly, I did not even like it. See, there are things about my life and homelessness I would not want my mom to know. Homelessness is embarrassing for me at times. Letting my mom into this world is not something I ever wanted to do.  I did not want her to see these things. I did not want her to see what a looser I had become, or how I felt like one. That's not to say homeless people are loosers, that just how I feel at times. It's different when you can talk to people that don't know you, knowing you can always shut them off, than it is when it's your own family. Plus, I always want to tell you (my readers) everything. I never want to hold back. I felt that with my mom watching and reading that I might.

My mom always makes me feel good though. I can say having her around here (reading my blog and being on my Facebook)  has not stopped me from saying anything or doing anything. She is my biggest supporter and my main source of inspiration.

Some years ago my mom told me that she had been diagnosed with, well..... a whole bunch of nasty stuff. I remember when she first told me about it all. She rattled off words I had never heard. "Myasthenia gravis" was the prime enemy (this is a defect in the muscles that enable you to move). This creepy little thing had got her and got her good. Hopped up on more meds than a druggy could handle, my mom often fell victim to her bed. After awhile she could not get around any much better on the good days. Soon she was in a wheelchair (that broke my heart to see). At times my mom would spend days (to say the least) in bed, unable to move. This went on for years. But my mom never quit trying get the most out of life. She never stopped trying to move.

Then, by the grace of God, she got better. I believe it was her will. My mom never, for a single second, stopped being a good person. She never let these problems slow her down from handling the other challenges life delivered her, and doing the things she felt right. If my mom was to see a person in need of a blanket, believe you me, she would crawl out of her bed and do her very best to play her part. That's just how my mom is. This is simply how my mom has inspired me.

My mom then found a new doctor that told her she did not have anything wrong with her. She dumped the pills (which seemed easy for her, thank God for that one), tossed the wheel chair, and now not only lives her life to the fullest, but takes up a portion of my slack as well. She loves to garden. I love watching my mom lugging around large boulder rocks in the garden. She is somehow strong enough now to that. I'd help her with the rocks...... but I think she likes moving it all around herself.

My mother and I do not always see eye to eye. Sometimes we fight. Usually these fights come with a long period of time when we (I) do not talk. However, my mother's love for me is as relentless as her will to live a happy life. I know that no matter what is going on in my life, no matter how hard I think things are for me, no matter how much I want to quit and give in, my mom will always answer my collect call, even if it is only to tell me that I need to man up and grow a set. She never quits on me, she never gives up on me.

Now, I'm glad my mom hunted down my little world here. I'm glad she chose to be a part of it. She made it easy too. She would have left and never read any of this if I had asked her. However, I need her. I need that constant motivation. I need that constant reminder to keep doing better, despite what others might say or how well the chips are stacked against me. My mother is a constant reminder for me that things are often likely to turn around if you are willing to fight for what you believe in. My mother's story is her own and I can't tell it better than she can. However, this one is for my mom because it's her story that I always turn to in my sissy girl moments. People say things to me, and I know its not me that they are talking to. I'm simply a reflection of my mother.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day - 140 Dear, Homelessrobs' Personal Hater

I'll get to that deeply misinformed person in a second.

First, I'll start with Lance! It is true, after 13 years he got into a bit of trouble. I got his packages and went looking for him. I looked for two days and never saw him. I thought that was odd so I went to the hospital and asked around. They assured me he had not passed and told me that they had not seen him either, which they thought was funny. I went on a hunch and found this:

Something I did not mention to people was that Lance had found an attorney. One day I told Lance that I had a friend who would be willing to help him with his SS benefits. A few days later Lance handed me the business card of an attorney. I emailed the man to see what was what. He responed saying that indeed he was helping Lance with his SS benefits. I thought that was awesome. Lance was making moves now on his own. I did not want to disrupt what was going on there and I was still working on getting an I.D.  for Lance anyways. I talked with the man for some time via. email, and he was really cool. He even told me I could mention him. Pretty cool. As soon as I found out about Lance last night I emailed the attorney and gave him the heads up. He messaged me right back saying that this moment was not going to get in his way of helping Lance and that he was going down to the court house in the morning. Relief! I learned something here.

So, I still have Lance's stuff and as soon as I see him he will get it. I talked to a few of his donors and they all seemed to understand. They are a very understanding bunch. I was pretty mad about all this. Not at Lance, but at the timing of it all. Trying to remain calm and keep an open mind.

Now, the homeless hater that's on my back. Yes you miss "wants to remain anonymous"! See, with me, I could care less if you want to attack me. What I do mind is the way you go about it. See, here on my blog and in my little world, I rule all, not you! However, since you did bring things up, I'll address it for you.

1.You called me a dead beat dad.
2.You said I abandoned my two little girls.
3.You said that the authorities in Vermont are looking for me on account of child support.
4.You said that there is more to me than I'm telling.
5.You called me a con-artist.
6.You said there was "more information coming in"!

So, allow me to address my own personal hater now.

For # 1 - Well, I'd have to agree with you on that, to a point. I have become somewhat of a dead beat dad. Where in my pockets is there any money? You bashed me hard on this almost as if my kids were your own kids! It's OK! I had a chance to talk to my kids a few nights ago. The fact that they still love me is an undeserved miracle to me.

See, there is a big difference between being a dead beat dad and a dad that simply can't afford to pay support. That is what happened to me. For most of my kids' life I had it pretty easy with the money. It was not a problem. Then America (NOT just me) lot their jobs, and the field I was in (manufacturing) became a dead trade. As everyone knows (unless you have been living under a rock for the last 5 years), those people are unable to support children they once could.

The one and only thing on my mind is my two little girls. And I'm just grateful that I can keep in touch with them and talk to them when I can, and they are safe, opposed to being on the streets with me while I straighten this out.

For # 2 -There is a huge difference between breaking up with the mother of your kids and going separate ways or abandonment. That is actually what happened. Not like its any of your business, but since you want to be that involved, get you facts straight, please. My mother actually has full custody of my kids. My mother and I do not live well together (we tried) but my mother is actually my biggest supporter. She understands and knows I want nothing more than to have my kids back, and I'm working hard to do so. Ask her yourself. I'm sure she would love to hear from you! For the record, just because these are the facts does not make it right. My family should not be left to deal with my irresponsibility. They just understand and support me. Right now my girls are a drawing pictures for Lance.

For # 3 - I doubt that very much. For one, my mom would have told me. For two, I've had back ground checks done on me, even as recently as a few weeks ago. No one is looking for me. But they will be if I continue to not honor my responsibilities with support. You are right about that. Now I have no doubt that I'm behind on support at this moment. Its constantly on my mind. But I know for a fact that "authorities" are NOT looking for me. Maybe my address. I was just working and support was coming out, believe me they know where to find me. I should probably spend some time just paying that off and getting it under raps a little better. I should actually thank you because that is probably exactly what I should do. Simply drop every dime I've got on it. Got to take a closer look at the money I make now.

For # 4 - Of course there are things I don't tell people about my life. Don't be silly. It would take me forever to tell all. What do you want to hear? A man used to touch me when I was 12? I did bad things from age 18 to 20 and spent a few months being detained?  You want to know that I can't hear in one ear? What do you care so much to know? You want to know how I almost died as a baby?  You want to know how as a Christian I fall short? You want the details? I mean what dirt do you want to know? I'll tell you! I'll even do it in public.

For # 5 -  You called me a con-artist. Don't you have to actually have gotten something to be called that? Once a woman mailed me 10$ in a Christmas card. It was very nice of her. I believe I told her not to do that. I believe she told me to kiss off about it. I do have a job now and would gladly send it back to her. One lady actually got mad at me a few weeks ago because I told her I did not need anything. lol, she was NOT happy with me. I still have her on my FB if you want to meet her. I actually told a couple of people about that because as far as I know she is the only person who really got mad at me. Sorry about that, you will have to settle for being number 2. People told me to take these things that people offer me (which is not as often as you might think. People pretty much already know about me that I do not care much for help of any kind). People told me I should not be so prideful about it (number 1 said that too), and that letting people help makes them feel better. I learned a lot about that.

Anyway, if I'm gonna be called a con for what I do (simply tell a story) then that's fine, but I think if you want people to believe that, then are gonna have to come up with some sort of proof first. Proof I know for a fact you will never have. I might be a lot of things but a con is not one of them. Oh, and please feel free to ask around. I don't mind at all. You will be hard-pressed to find anyone to hold any merrit in you with your attitude and nothing to back it up.

Here is some good advise for you: please, get your information together right, or people will simply think you are crazy. I don't hold the company I do because I'm running around conning people. I myself have nothing.

For # 6 - Gosh, I hope not! Because where ever you got what you have now seems to be a very bad source.

Here is the thing "personal homeless hater". I expect from time to time that someone like you will pop up. I 'm sure if I ask some of my friends that also do good work they will say that they have had a bad apple or two before oas well. I read all of your comments. One of them in particular said something like " we need to stand up and stop listening to these bums that are taking advantage". You said something else like that to.

This is what I think is up with you. I think you might have fallen into something bad. Maybe you were taken advantage of. Maybe you ran into a guy, gave him some money, and later saw him jump into a Mercedes-Benz. Maybe you trusted someone you should not have trusted. I can see that. I believe that could have very likely happened and now you are mad. Then you see me and what I do, you do some digging around and see I don't have a perfect life. I went to jail, sure. I spent 6 and a half months in, and some time later I went back for a month. All before I was 21 (33 now). I have quite a record to be even more honest. I was VERY bad. I never hurt anyone but it was still bad stuff I'm not proud of. Then I found out I was going to be a dad. I knew right that very second I had better things in life to do than sit around in a jail cell. I got off probation and never looked back. I have not been in trouble since then. The reason I never mentioned it here is because it really is not relevant to the topic or really my story. If I could not find work because of that then I probably would have mentioned it. It has never been something that held me back after I left it behind. I landed a good good job and people hired me on my work ethics, if they ever knew about my criminal past they did not care. With all this I now say - so what! I did my time, I was forgiven, I made change, life moved on.

Are you gonna tell a Christian he cannot go to church because he did some dad things? Have you not done something wrong in your life? Please, if you are perfect then I'd really like to meet you in person some time. A cop told me a few days ago the only difference between him and me was that he did not get caught. LOL!

No I have never claimed to be perfect. I never claimed to be a role model. I never thought I could inspire (if indeed I do). Yes, a long time ago I did some stuff. Between then and now I had a good life and things were all together for me. But homelessness hit me and if you ask around you would know that homelessness is all about a life that has fallen apart. If my life with my kids, job situation, and my current finances were all together, I wouldn't be in this mess. Neither would anyone else for that matter, if their lives were perfect. But once again, homelessness can happen to anyone, even if you are a "homelessnessrob personal hater". Yes, even you. The trick to it all is pulling it back together and making it right again, despite the odds. Which is clearly what I am trying to do. Not with this blog, this is just a story, but with my actual life. I'm sorry it's not to your liking or that I'm not doing well enough for you.

What you are after is what I call "the capitalization of the homeless market. This is directly what you are accusing me of, in a bad fashion. This is when an individual or organization exposes a homeless person, or homelessness as a whole, for their own personal profit. I does exist. Just not here. I've mentiond this a few times myself.

You do seen relentless. I see you are of age to (because you actually friended me on Facebook). I have to tell you that I do admire that some. I do not care for the way you approach me with your cause (if that is the right word), but nonetheless, I do admire it. I just think you are a little confused.

I'll tell you what. If you are really so adamant about all this, you can feel free to continue your attacks on me, I do not mind. Or, you could change your tone, re-think a few things, get your facts right, and approach me again in a respectful manner. I'd be more than happy at that point to introduce you to any one of my friends. Every one of them is all about doing good things in life, far more than myself. They are all great people, and I can tell you that if any of them thought for a single second I was someone like you describe,  I would not have the pleasure of their company.

You got the right relentless attitude, you are just aimed in the wrong direction.

This is, and always will be a 

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Homelessrob with Jessica, Sami, and Christina !

Yes, Lance's packages have arrived. Very grateful. I honestly have not seen Lance in about a week. I can't help that. I got my hooks into Lance and landed a job and a place to live all in the same week. How could have I  have known? Even for as grateful as I am for my job, it slows me down in what I was trying to do for the man. It would not be so bad if the job was not so out of the way, but it is. So, I hope I have not lost steam with him. I think he understands though.

So lets look at what we have here. LOTS of good stuff!

Socks are gold to homeless people. This clearly makes Lance a very rich man now. Shoes - I bought the shoes with some money from the Lance fund. These should make him feel much better. Some new pumped up kicks.

I got a lot of medical stuff here too. This should help him in the times he gets hurt. He can keep his cuts clean. The last time I saw Lance he had some fresh wounds. They where dirty and dried up all down the middle of his shin. I think he said he fell.   So now he can clean those up and use the bandages.

Some emergency blankets, which I have never seen before. They look like light tin foil. Pretty cool! I think at some point I'd have to get my hands on some more of those. I know some people who would find them useful.

A new jacket. Nice, I have to say. Its heavy and thick. Tampa stayed pretty warm here in the winter. I have only really seen a few mornings when it was cold enough for me to not want to come out of my tent. However, it still gets cold here at night and for Lance, this jacket will come in very handy. Nice call Jessica!

Hygiene stuff! Yes, very good. I got a lot of it too. Tooth brushes, tooth paste, soaps, shampoos, the works! I even have a few towels for Lance too.

Lance has a bunch of new stuff now, this is all great. Amazing what a few good people pitching in can do.

These are all the things Lance needs right now. I got him some clothes too. A few pairs of pants and a couple of shirts. I also still have some things I can get him from his Lance fund, like some razors, some underwear, and some other odds and ends. This is all good. I will bring this to him in the morning. I have the day off for him. I'm gonna try to get his I.D. thing going a little better. I have made some progress on that matter. Not much, but I did manage to get somewhere. In the morning I'll be following up on some of the resources that some people helped me with regarding that problem.

In the mean time I want to thank the ones who made today possible for Lance!

My cousin, Sami. Sami, you did awesome on this stuff. I can't wait to see you. When that time comes you and I are going to smash homelessness into pebbles, I can all ready tell. I can't wait! Thank you, Sami! Thank you so much!

A special thanks to my two friends Jessica and Christina. Actually, I want to rephrase that. The fact of the matter is this: These two very wonderful, special, ladies did not know me or Lance from a hole in the wall. They still took a chance and rolled the dice, and because they did so, Lance is gonna be much better off for a while. It would be a privilege for me to call them friends, and have that be so.

I might not get Lance off the streets. Maybe because of him, or maybe because of me, I just can't say now. There is still some work to do, but I'm going to do my best. What I can say now is that Lance is better off today than how I think he has been in a long time, because the people above took the time......... and cared!


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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day - 133 Homelessrob, Shay Kelley, and Starbucks

In me there is always room to grow. It's amazing what a few cups of coffee and a short conversation with Shay Kelley can do. I was defiantly privileged to find myself in the presence of project 50/50 recently.

What made this event such a growing experience for me was the fact that Shay Kelley and I are not on the same page when it comes to some things. She and I have different takes.

If we did not, how then would I have learned anything? Despite our different takes on things I still VERY much respect her and project 50/50. Its OK to have a difference of opinion. And if you allow yourself to have an open mind about the difference of opinions, you might learn a thing or two. And grow a little. I certainly did.

I know a guy who works with homeless people. He is effective. He and I are on the same page about almost every aspect of the topic. Over the last few years he has done some wonderful things in his work. However, he has no heart when it comes to homelessness. He leaves no room for love, friendships, or compassion. For him, the work is simply business. At least this is what he would have you think.

Shay Kelly, on the other hand, will tell you (as she told me) that she leaves her heart and friendships in the streets. She is a complete opposite of my other friend. Me, I'm somewhere in the middle of the two. I'll say to you that I don't care to have friendships in the streets.

What I mean really is that I don't care to have friendships while I'm in the streets myself. I'd like to tell you that my relationship with Lance is simply work and that he and I are simply helping each other out (as Lance has done far more for me than I have done for him). But I also have to tell you that Lance has grown on me. I care about him much more now that I have taken the time to know him. We talk off the camera and in these moments a good friendship has begun to form. As non-personal as I would like our relationship to be, or tell you it is, I simply can't help but like the guy. I care a lot.

A few days ago I was working. I was walking the sidewalk doing my thing with my sign. In the parking lot next to me a man drove in and honked his horn at me. I walked over thinking it was something about auto window glass repair. When I got to the car I realized there was no crack in the windshield. I asked the man how I could help him, and this is how it went:

Man: Hi
Me: How can I help you?
Man: I want to help the homeless! ( I never lie to you, this is all true and exact)
Me: You want to help the homeless, well that's good.
Man: I have money to give them.
Me: Well, that's good. I'm sure if you drive around here a little you will find someone that can use it.
Man: I just want to help.
Me: Are you a part of a group or organization or something like that?
Man: No, it's just me
Me: Well, ok! You will find someone if you just drive around a little.
Man: No, you do it.
The man then reached into the center of the seats and pulled out $1. He handed it to me and said....
Man: here, you do it, I trust you.
Then he just drove off!

I have to tell you, I had a pretty bad attitude about this. One thing is that I was left standing with a feeling that somehow homelessness had found me, in my "off homeless time". LOL! You have to see the irony in this from my prospective. I don't have to even be doing anything, and here comes homelessness. Next, why could this man have not just done it himself? Now, I'm in a situation where I have to go out of my way to help out a homeless guy, for someone else That's taking up my own time to do things, something which I can't afford to spare. I'm sure that if you know me and you read my blog you can see why I felt this way. It was a bad attitude to have, over a single $1 bill.

Some time later I was on my break. I stepped outside while my computer was loading, and what's the first thing I see?  You guessed it, a homeless man. Just standing there, in front of the laundry mat that is beside my office. I took a few minutes to check him out first. He looked hard. He had the face that said "street tough". I sucked it up, walked over, and handed him the $1 bill.

His face lit up! All of a sudden it was nothing like I had expected. I handed him his money, turned, and started to walk away. He thanked me 3 times before I got back to the office. After the last "thank you" I looked over my shoulder and saw that he was still smiling, brightly! "Greatfullness" is the key word here.

Yes, I had a bad attitude about this. That's OK though. Sometimes I'm allowed to have these moments. I'm only human. But I did not let it stop me from doing what was right. I could never have simply have kept the $1. I can't help but think the whole thing went exactly the way it should have. I did not just give the man the money. Instead I sent a message. The message was "people care". And it was a message well received.  For the record, I did not tell him the money was not from me. I did not say anything really. It all went so quickly and I was really too caught up in the look on his face. I just know that I had learned a lesson in life. I had to take a few to think about what had just happened.

Mark Horvath uses a video camera. There is no alleyway, corner, or tunnel that Mark will not go into to show people the reality of the homeless  problem. 

Carey Fuller, is a constant reminder that one should help another, no matter what. My friend Kathryn Harris uses pictures to reach out to people. 

My friend Milky_Way is always on the homeless forums offering his advice and kindness (Milky_Way, if you see this... you need to get your butt on FB. I keep telling you this). 

Tracie Ysaguire is always telling me that she wishes she could do more to help, but every time I turn around I see her supporting someone's work. She's always encouraging someone, always!

Julia Gray does awesome work in Canada. She starts sports programs and a whole lot more, for homeless people. Very cool. On a personal note I have to tell you, Julia Gray was been a huge inspiration to me. I can honestly say that I might not have ever made it this far in my own work if I had not stumbled onto her story the day that I did. Her story inspired me VERY much, and still does. If you want to see why, you can check it out for yourself here:  I just so much respect why she does what she does. 

My friend Jeanine RM has been relentless in her willingness to help me with Lance, along with a few others. Shay Kelley travels from state to state helping people, relentlessly. I also know a group that simply makes sandwiches for the homeless. My 14 year old friend (Ben) in Australia, would rather spend his video game money on the homeless people here in America, just so they know that people across the globe care. A few weeks ago I told you how an employer would not hire me just because I was homeless. My current boss loves hiring homeless people, because he feels that is a way to give back to the community and make difference. It does. I don't make great money, but I make enough to afford my own apartment, and a little more. My current boss is pretty cool.

Me, I blog my stores.

My point is this: you can do things your own way when it comes to the homeless cause (or any cause, for that matter), and still be effective. There really is no right or wrong way when it comes to helping out your fellow brother or sister. The small things make big differences too. You might not have the ability to hop in a truck or van and travel the states. You might not like to write blog posts. Perhaps you don't have a video camera or have an eye for picture art. Maybe you don't have a business to employ the homeless. Maybe you're just a person on his or her way to work and from time to time along the way, you like to drop off a spare buck or two. Maybe your gift is encouraging others. Maybe your gift is support. Use the gifts God gave to you and be yourself.

These people I mentioned above all have a few things in common. 

One, These are people that do not consume their lives with the "wells..." and "what ifs" and "buuuuuuuts" in life. These are all people that take action and make a difference, no matter how it gets done. 

Second, they are very passionate about what they do. They all put their hearts into their work and because of that, positive change happens.

I hardly scratched the surface of all the good people I know. I wish I had the time to tell you every name and every bit of good work they do. But that list would be VERY long. Instead, I'll encourage you, consider what I'm saying here today. You can do something. You can make positive change. You do not have to do it like everyone else. You do not have to be a big organization. You do not have to be extreme. You don't even need to leave your home. You can do your own thing.  

I encourage you to think this over. Allow yourself to grow through learning and an open mind. Consider all the wonderful things you could do, and when you decide what that great act is, come and join the circle of compassionate people. See all the great people who play their parts. Its an awesome group of people. Admission is free. They just ask you to bring your heart.  

I did not get a chance to see Project 50/50 before they left. But I hope to see them in the future. I'm sure I still have much to learn. I'm willing to do it!

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