Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Homeless in Suburbia

Markus, Gabriel, Sarah, Russell and me
Last Thursday night, January 27, at the invitation of Russell Head, I joined 100+ volunteers with the Collin County Homeless Coalition to make an annual count of the homeless in our county.

We gathered at City Hall about 8:00 p.m., and after an hour plus of training and assignments our team headed out with a Plano Police officer to look for those who are categorized as homeless in our city. We carried our survey forms and "care packages" supplied by local Scout troops, non-profits, and churches.

It had rained very hard two days previously, and the places where the officer knew people stayed--along railroad tracks, under freeway overpasses, and along the "creeks" that run through town--were empty. We also did not find anyone in the cars parked in store and office parking lots between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. that night.

Part of our team did talk to a hotel employee who "knew what we were asking" but did not want to give out any information about who he knew stayed there because they had to. We also stopped by the hospital in our assigned area, and the police officer on duty there said the homeless regularly came to sit in the ER or hospital chapel to get out of the cold, but no one was there that evening.

While we did not talk to anyone--see the reports below of those who did--I got a new perspective of the need in our City, called the The Pretty Much Perfect City. We walked places I drive by every week, and never see those who stay there as their "home."

Suburbia has homeless, and we who are the called-out-ones need to not only be aware of the homeless but work to serve them and partner with those who do.

The ways we do this as Legacy Church is our support of the Plano Food Pantry and Minnie's Food Pantry. We also partner with Dallas Providence Homes to provide transformational housing for abused women and their children.  This is not enough, but it is something, and I am pleased we have joined others to address the needs of those who have no place to live.


Here is the report from the Plano Police Department from the evening.

Here is a news report the following day from a local CBS affiliate.

The Face of Homelessness in Collin County.

What will you do today to help?

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