Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Would you give away all your lottery winnings?

If you were lucky enough to win a lottery (any lottery), would you give away your earnings to a homeless person you had just met? Well, that is just what this woman did. The story is too good not to share.

You can read the whole story here:


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Formerly Homeless Vets Help Currently Homeless Vets

CONCORD, Mass. (AP) — Not far from where the Boston Massacre helped sow the seeds for the Revolutionary War, David Dyer points toward the underpass where he'd score crack cocaine by day and the train depot where he'd sleep some nights.
Now, he has a family, a home and a job — helping homeless veterans get off the streets, like he did.
Dyer is part of a team of veterans, some formerly homeless themselves, that the state of Massachusetts has hired to get veterans off the streets in the Boston area. Typically, they spend one day a week roaming the city's storefronts, alleys and shelters, which is what he was doing one recent morning outside Boston's South Station. "I guess you could call this my home for about a month," he reminisced.
The rest of the week is spent making sure those who have found housing are staying the course. The Veterans Affairs Department, which funds the effort, is considering doubling the size of the team in the coming year.
President Barack Obama's administration has pledged to eliminate homelessness among veterans by the end of 2015. And while the rate has been dropping, time is running short.
So communities such as Boston are aggressively hitting the streets with offers of housing, treatment and hope. Using formerly homeless veterans such as Dyer and team leader Christopher Doyle helps them make inroads with a community that often is distrustful of people who haven't experienced what they've been through.
"When they say, 'Oh, you don't know what I'm talking about,' I can say, 'Yeah, I do, because I was there myself,'" said Doyle, who at one point lived in a VA homeless shelter with about 180 other veterans before landing a job with the state.
James Harrington appears to be one of the program's success stories.
Harrington estimates that he was homeless for nearly a dozen years. At first, he said, he lived in vacant apartment complexes that were under construction. Then he spent most of his nights at Logan International Airport.
He arrived at his new one-bedroom apartment in February with nothing but his door keys and a backpack.
It took him about a month to get used to the feeling that he could stay — if he wanted to.
"You're so used to living so many years in someone else's domain," said Harrington, 66, an Army veteran who served stateside during the Vietnam War. "There was this expectation that someone's going to be coming through the door because they really own the place that you're in."
Harrington takes great pride in turning his new apartment into a home. He found a couple of Ethan Allan end tables that neighbors were going to throw away. Carly Brown, a VA social worker, drove him to a local furniture bank where he picked out a sofa and a bed. And Doyle chipped in as well, giving him an RCA television. Now just look at the place, Harrington beams.
"Where are you going to find something better than this?" said Harrington. "You're not."
A voucher from the federal government pays $981 of the veteran's monthly rent. He uses his Social Security and a VA pension to pay another $221 himself.
Doyle checks on him weekly to make sure he's OK. "I sometimes just talk to him about the last movie he watched," Doyle said. "It's to show I have an interest in his life."
Doyle said he believes that regular visits from a fellow veteran make it harder for his clients to give up and go back to their old life.
"It's easy to put someone into an apartment, but it's not as easy to keep them in one," Doyle said. "A lot of these guys do have mental health issues or substances abuse issues. Sometimes, that's the reason they do the right thing because they know I'm going to come see them."
The federal government estimates that the homeless rate among veterans has dropped by about 25 percent in the past three years, but nearly 58,000 veterans remain on the streets or in temporary shelters on any given night.
"I have said from the beginning, the climb will get steeper the closer we get to the summit," Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said earlier this year in Washington. "All the easy cases will have been housed. In the end, we will have the toughest, most difficult cases to solve — some prior failures, some behavioral problems, even some serious mental health issues."
VA officials point to Boston as a model for what can be done when local and federal organizations work together. Their focus is to get chronically homeless veterans into a house or apartment as soon as possible instead of putting them into temporary or emergency shelters for months at a time. Then, once the vet gets into a house, officials arrange the support services the veteran will need to stay there, such as substance abuse counseling and job training. Typically, the federal government pays most of the cost for the home through a voucher. Local officials and nonprofits also help coordinate the support services that are, again, mostly paid for through the VA.
"When you put housing as the priority, the treatment and everything else comes along in a much more effective way because they're getting their most basic needs met first," said Vincent Kane, director of the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, which conducts policy analysis and research. "They're not worried where their next meal is coming from or what roof will be over their head that night."
To estimate the number of homeless veterans, the federal government relies on an annual count that takes place in January. Thousands of volunteers, government employees and nonprofit workers search their local streets, parks and shelters in an effort to count the number of homeless people. The latest count in Boston estimated 458 homeless vets on any given night in 2013, a drop of 15 percent over the past three years. That's not as steep as the national drop, but VA officials in Massachusetts said that's partly because their outreach efforts have helped them find homeless people who previously would have gone uncounted.
Kane said veterans are key members of its homeless outreach teams in communities such as Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Detroit and Denver.
Doyle and Dyer met each other at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Doyle, who served in the Army during the first Gulf War, overheard Dyer speaking about his experiences in Afghanistan and decided to approach him and offer a friendly ear.
Dyer had drug problems before he entered the Army. After his discharge, Dyer said, his drug use intensified.
"It's just so much easier to use, you think, because you've totally given up on yourself," he said. "You've given up on life. You're pretty much pissed that you woke up."
His health went downhill and he eventually was hospitalized with kidney failure. He woke up to find his father sitting next to his bed. Dyer said he saw how badly he was hurting his family and resolved that his spiral was over.
Doyle, meanwhile, kept tabs on Dyer's progress and eventually asked him to join the veterans' homeless team. Dyer said the job helps him stick with his recovery.
"If you're not out there helping somebody, the chances of staying in recovery and staying clean, really, aren't that good," he said. "I found that out personally."
Most of the team's clients have drug and alcohol issues that require counseling and treatment. Harrington said he's never had a problem with drugs or alcohol and said his problems were financial. He said in recent years he spent most of his nights at the airport. At dawn, he'd head over to the Boston Public Library.
One night, an airport worker brought in a social worker from the VA to talk to him. The VA helped him get a pension to supplement his Social Security. It also helped him land a government voucher. He marveled at the support he's received.
"They had a whole team of support people, like, if you need furniture, they get you furniture. If you need food, they'll bring food to you," Harrington said.
But other cases are much tougher — the chronic homeless that Shinseki referred to.
At Boston's Emmanuel Church, Bryant Draycott says he's been told he is No. 5 on the list to get a government voucher that would let him live in an apartment. The Navy veteran said he'll take help, but only on his terms.
"I'm the vet. They're not," he said. "You want to give me a room? You want to give me an apartment? OK, I'll stay there for at least a couple of days. I'll give it a try for a week. If I don't like it, I'll tell you what you can do with it."
And another thing, don't use the word homeless in his presence.
"To me, personally, I hate that word. I refuse to use the term homeless. With me, I'm on vacation."
Draycott estimates that he's been on vacation for about eight years.
"And loving every minute of it," he said.
Then there's Thomas Moore, 79, who has no interest in getting a government-subsidized apartment. He said he was willing to accept a blanket from the social workers who visit him, but when they broach the idea of housing, "I try in a kind way to back off."
He demonstrates just how difficult it will be for the Obama administration to reach its goal, despite all the assurances that it's on track. Sitting on the sidewalk a block from Boston's most luxurious shopping boutiques, Moore described having a "nervous breakdown" as a 17-year-old serving on the front lines in Korea. He said he feels responsible for the death of his best friend during one firefight and spent months afterward at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. He said he underwent numerous shock treatments.
When he gets tired of living on the street, he said, he'll rent a cheap hotel room for a month.
"There's something about the rough edge of living out here that distracts me from my inner life," Moore said.
Despite Moore's insistence that he doesn't want their help, the veterans' homeless team doesn't plan to quit asking him if he's changed his mind.
"You don't know when it's going to be that day when somebody says I'm done living like this and accepts the help," Dyer said.

- authored by Kevin Freking
- published by HuffPost Impact

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wishing all a blessed Christmas!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dear H2 Helper Blog Readers:

Recently, my life has become quite overwhelming with new responsibilities at work and a number of activities at home along with an increasing desire to finish writing my next book, Raising God's Rainbow Makers, which, I guess, means that I really should be working on it more seriously than I have been able to do up until now. I find that I cannot keep up with posting on a regular basis. For that reason, I will be taking a hiatus of at least several months. I refer you to the links on the right-hand side of this blog page, where you can continue to read about ways in which to help the homeless and hungry of our world, as well as about those who are working hard to help them.

Thank you all for being loyal and interactive readers. I have enjoyed getting to know you, and I will continue to pray for the well being of you, your family, and friends.

Elizabeth Mahlou

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

May the new year bring you much of what you want and more of what you need! Thanks for taking the 2012 journey with me. Looking forward to what 2013 may bring. (I actually stayed awake through the passage into 2013, the first time in more than ten years. I hope this is a good portent of things to come -- for me and for everyone else.)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Four More Days to Help a Hungry Child

NO KID HUNGRY - SHARE OUR STRENGTH - End Childhood Hunger. Your Gift Will Be Matched.

Help Kids Like Austin. Donate Now. Dear Friend,

Ending childhood hunger is so important to me that I needed to send you this reminder.

If you've been waiting to make a tax-deductible gift to the No Kid Hungry campaign, the time is now. There are only 4 more days until we kick off the New Year, and we're counting on you to make sure we hit the ground running in 2013.

You don't have to take my word for why ending childhood hunger is a priority; hear what 17-year-old Austin has to say about his struggle with hunger:

"Childhood hunger in America is important to me because it happened to me. It hurts and I hated it and all I wanted was to eat. Too many kids today go home from school and are not sure if they will have a meal that night. It is no joke and we need to do something about it because no kid deserves to go without food."

Austin's right: we must end childhood hunger. Too many of our kids are facing hunger. How can our nation's children succeed if they continue to suffer?

That's where you come in. I urge you to make your tax-deductible gift to the No Kid Hungry campaign today and take advantage of our special matching gift offer.

A generous Share Our Strength donor is personally matching all gifts, up to $500,000, making your gift go twice as far in making a difference in the lives of children struggling with hunger. For example:
  • $46 can connect a child with a summer of meals and a year of school breakfast. Your $46 becomes $92!
  • $100 can help deliver mobile meals to a child in need for three months. Your $100 becomes $200!
  • $250 can help provide meals to a child in an afterschool program for a full school year. Your $250 becomes $500!
When you give to the No Kid Hungry campaign, you do more than connect a child with healthy meals. You bring hope to children like Austin who are struggling with hunger. Thanks for all that you do for No Kid Hungry.

Best wishes,

Jeff Bridges

P.S. Please give as generously as you can today — and remember every dollar you give will be matched dollar for dollar to make twice the difference.

No Kid Hungry
©Share Our Strength, 1730 M Street NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
Website: www.NoKidHungry.org
Contact us: contactus@strength.org
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Saturday, November 10, 2012

This Thanksgiving, folks can help hungry children by setting a place at the No Kid Hungry Table. This table is not physical, but it exists on playgrounds and in classrooms, kitchens, and cafeterias, where hungry kids are being fed by the No Kid Hungry organization. They do this not only at Thanksgiving but also all year long.

This organization has fed millions of kids by funding school breakfast programs, expanding summer and afterschool meals, and teaching families how to shop for and cook affordable, healthy meals at home.

To make this possible, they need help from everyone who can afford to spare some money. Their goal is to raise 300K by Thanksgiving. A donation of $46 will provide 220 meals in the coming year for a hungry child.