THE BIG PUSH FOR TENTS, TARPS AND CAMPING EQUIPMENT
Our major project right now is furnishing tents for people who want to move out to 39th Avenue, to the woods near Grace Market Place. I’m usually pretty conservative about spending money on items other than food and water, especially in the summer, but this is our big chance to help people move away from lives of misery, sleeping on pavement, or in illegal campsites where they have uncertain access to water, no place to dispose of garbage, may be far from services, and are subject to eviction at any time. When the City came up with 2000 one-year bus passes, that was the turning point. Every day this week someone has come to me for a tent, and there is an air of optimism among our friends. This is the first big break the unsheltered homeless people have received. In bad weather people near the market place will have a place to go – not just in winter when the temperature goes below 45 degrees. There is a horror in people sleeping outside when it’s 46 degrees and raining, or during violent thunder storms, or when hurricanes are on the way and they may be bashed by a tree falling on their tents. This horror is ending for those who move! As time goes by more services will be added and as more members of our community get involved with their homeless neighbors, more people will make their way out of homelessness altogether. So this is everyone’s big chance to make a real difference. If you can donate a tent, if you have some camping supplies you don’t need anymore, if you can donate some money for buying tents –please do this! Although people moving from Tent City may already have tents, many of them are so old and ratty they can’t be moved without falling apart. The whole community needs to come together and make this happen!
In the meantime, we are doing our summer water outreach, and will continue to do so as long as it’s needed. The move to 39th Avenue is going to be in stages. It will not be, as my hilarious husband says, “The Homeless Rapture.” So we need water donations also. And BUG SPRAY! All campers, in town and out on 39th Avenue, are being tortured by clouds of mosquitos. Every can of bug spray donated is an answer to prayer at this time of year.
THE FUTURE OF THE HOME VAN
The Home Van is not going out of business (some people heard that rumor). We will continue to do what we can, as long as we are needed. Freeman and I are Taoists and we will be following the Tao of this change, seeing where we are needed. To the best of my knowledge, the Williston Road encampment is not being closed down. The portion of Tent City that is along the bike path will be closed down on June 1, so far as I know, as the owner wants to sell the land. We are hoping that the people there will move to 39th Avenue, and will do whatever we can to to support that. Some of the folks from Occupy Gainesville are also very active in supporting this move. They have been scouting out good campsites on 39th Avenue and furnishing transportation for people and their belongings.
peace and love to everyone,
The Home Van needs tents, tarps, bottled water, insect repellant, Vienna sausages, creamy peanut butter, jelly, candles, white tube socks, batteries, and games. Call 352-372-4825 to arrange for drop off. Financial donations to the Home Van should be in the form of checks made out to Citizens for Social Justice, Inc., earmarked for the Home Van, and mailed to 307 SE 6th Street, Gainesville, FL 32601, or can be made online at http://homevan.blogspot.com/
THE HOMEVAN IS A PROJECT OF CITIZENS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE, INC. (FDACSREGISTRATION #CH35643). A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE.REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.