PRLog - June 10, 2009 - CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. -- Rural Homelessness is a big problem in America...The poorest of the poor are being neglected..
We rush to help those in need after a natural disaster..Billions in aid arrive..The nations resources come together. No stone left unturned...Wrong..
We see them all the time. Victims of Katrina and many other hurricanes.Victims of the economy, victims of circumstances. Walking aimlessly around with no real place to go. No real home, no real place to call their own.Advocates and researchers often refer to people who experience rural homelessness as the “hidden homeless.” Many rural homeless people live in places we do not see; they often are sleeping in the woods, campgrounds, cars, abandoned farm buildings,or other places not intended for habitation.Many more individuals and families in rural areas live in substandard housing or are doubled up.These households are at risk of homelessness.The same structural factors that contribute to urban homelessness—
The Mission in Citrus Homeless Shelters are located in Citrus County Florida… Our Mission is to help all in need regardless of their Faith or lack of. While we encourage and teach and preach the Gospel, we force it upon no one. It is not a requirement for our services. We lead by example as a shining light. We follow the parable of the Good Samaritan.There are many kind and loving people helping out at many of our local churches, and food pantries,but the real problem is not being addressed. Outreach is the only answer..We spend billions of dollars on prevention and helping people avoid foreclosure, but far too little dollars on those who have already lost everything .
Citrus County has a total of 773 square miles of which 25% is water… The water includes swamps, rivers, and the Gulf. The County has only four homeless shelters which can house less than 10 % of the homeless population. Our rural area makes it very difficult for those in need to reach service providers. In some cases a walk of 15-20 miles is required just for showers, or a hot meal. Many are denied help or benefits as they are hard to reach. Many are disabled Veterans, hardened women and children, and men who feel that they have lost their dignity that do not have access to services. The problem is getting worse due to our present economy… Medical help is next to impossible. Many will not come into the shelters because of forced religion or institutional settings. They are poor and homeless but need to retain their dignity and respect. Too many shelters are run like prison where all activities are mandatory.Many are not being reached. Our goal is to reach all in need of help.By using formerly homeless men and women as staff ,we will not only create jobs for those in need , but also create a bond with those who have given up on trusting our society.
Imagine this: No hot meals , No showers or baths for days on end, no clean clothes , body sores ,lice,soaked with no way to get dry,cans and bottles and abuse thrown at you all day.Some life huh..The rural homeless live it everyday.
Angels on Wheels will allow mobile services to all of the homeless population of Citrus County, and once proven effective… Across America. Many rural populations around the Country are suffering.
Design is now underway by a major disaster relief vehicle manufacturer. The Unit will combine two showers, four washers and dryers, food pantry and soup kitchen, and a counseling center all in one self contained vehicle. The vehicle will have generators, water tanks, and propane tanks to enable it to be set up and operated at any location. The counseling center will have satellite phones, TV, computers, and more to provide much needed services. It will also allow for on site medical treatment from volunteers in our medical and professional community. Our research has shown the need for this vehicle… Mobile service is the only cost effective and realistic answer. The rural homeless population is not being effectively helped by any current method in use. Enough funds have been wasted on ineffective methods.. Missionaries use good old common sense… If they will not, or cannot come to you, go out and reach out to them…
Locations will be identified that will serve the entire County. This will be accomplished through cooperation with the Homeless Coalition,area shelters, food pantries,Churches,and County service providers.
We will also be asking our medical and professional community for donated services. We will provide a treatment room on site or set up transportation to their facilities. The need for medical and dental services are overwhelming , as many do not have insurance. By donating just a few hours per month will enable the homeless in Citrus County to become healthier and more productive.
Angels on Wheels can:
Provide goods and services in five different locations weekly and effectively help the entire homeless population in Citrus County.
Provide food pantry and survival items - Food, toiletries, blankets, shoes, grills, bicycles, tents, and much more can be properly handed out and accounted for.
Provide postal service - Pick up and deliver mail and provide supplies enabling contact with their loved ones.
Weekly showers and laundry services - Enabling them to job search in proper fashion.
Computer services to include - Job searches, applying for food stamps or SSI, emailing or finding their loved ones, resumes, and other needed services.
Provide on site anger management, Alcohol and drug, and other counseling services.
Schedule and arrange County transportation.
Provide two vans for appointments, grocery shopping, and other need items.
Provide on site medical and dental help.
Haircuts and cosmetology services
Help applying for Medicaid, Social Security, or other benefits available.
Supply newspapers and other news and job search materials.
Provide an accurate homeless population count and other statistics to the proper State and Federal agencies.
Provide information to other County service providers and utilize their services.
Provide donated clothing, coats, and other needed items.
Police and monitor the homeless communities. Currently the Sheriff Dept only investigates reported crime or fires during a burn ban… Many homeless residents are abused, beaten, or bullied by others… On site services would allow us to weed out the homeless communities and put criminals where they belong. In jail or receiving treatment…We would also deter scam artists who panhandle daily and abuse the kindness of others.
The only way to end homelessness is to bring the homeless population and the community together through volunteerism, awareness, kindness, and most of all action. The entire homeless population must be reached for this to happen. In rural areas you do not see the homeless as you do in the city… They live in the swamps, woods, under bridges, abandoned homes, and other areas out of sight. They are more often arrested, harassed, and abused due to the lack of help and services. It must end.
Pastor James Sleighter / Founder and President
The Angels on Wheels was God inspired..Man never could figure out the solution
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The Mission in Citrus Homeless Shelters are located in Citrus County Florida… Our Mission is to help all in need regardless of their Faith or lack of. While we encourage and teach and preach the Gospel, we force it upon no one. No one is denied help.