Writing a feature about the homelessness issue in Wayne and Pike counties, which appears in this edition, was moving for this writer.
I have heard about it and written about it in the past, but it was remarkable to hear the passion and devotion in the voices of those who were interviewed, people who are selflessly working to help those in need.
It was also moving to receive a first and report from a woman in the Hawley area who experienced a time of homelessness when she fled from an abusive relationship.
One of my best friends, who has since passed away, was a dear man by the name of Lucius who lived at Barker Street Apartments in Hawley for several years (early 1990’s). One time I interviewed him about his story and it was published in a local paper. He had lived on the streets of New York City. (I use his name because he was very open and agreeable, and wanted people to be encouraged by his story.)
His life situation wasn’t by choice. He had met some hard times and had some special needs; one thing led to another and he found himself alone on the streets, not a dime to his name. He was bitter and angry.
Thankfully, his life was turned around. He was eventually taken to a homeless shelter where another man, George, who came to encourage the residents. He befriended Loucius, and took him in. It was an amazing transformation.
No longer alone and with a roof over his head, Loucius walked with love and thanksgiving. He showed off his cupboards in the apartment, and the food inside. He had a decent place to live, and he had found he had friends.
Circumstances differ widely. There are many reasons for homelessness. One of the things startling to hear from these interviews was that homelessness could occur to anyone. Forget the stereotypes. It’s really true.
The good news, there is always hope, and agencies and nonprofit groups - made up of caring people right in our backyard, are here to lend a hand. The message is to never give up, and if you have a decent place and other advantages, be blessed and thankful. See what you too can do to care.