Monday, September 15, 2014


That’s an old saying from the 1960s.  It has been that kind of a late summer/early fall at Home Van Central.  But now I’M BACK! and glad to be
speaking with you all again.
Grace Market Place is continuing to face challenges.  This project was woefully underfunded by both the City and County commissions.  They have had to close down the Pavilion, where many people slept, and the chapel, in order to save on their utility bill.  They can’t afford to  hire needed staff members.  Joe Jackson is working with the city on a new contract with the Homeless Coalition that will hopefully address some of these issues.  In the meantime, community support is very, very, important.  Donate to Grace Market Place.  Volunteer there if you can.  Do not be complacent that this facility is up and running so our homeless community no longer needs your help.  If we all pull together, we will get there, but it’s going to be a long pull.
When Grace Market Place opened, Freeman and I were still not clear what our role would be or if we would want to continue offering services on Williston Road and downtown.  We decided to wait and see how things evolved.  Now it is clear that there is still a need for services at this end of town and will continue to be until Grace is better funded and does some growing, so we are going to continue as we have.  We are the ‘go to’ people for tents for those moving out to Grace.  Many thanks to all of you who have donated tents or money to buy tents.  It is an ongoing need so one way to help Grace is to give us money for tents, especially now that the Pavilion is closing. 
Joe Jackson reports that the threat of further evictions of people camping outside the gates of Grace (now doesn’t that sound like a country western hymn somebody needs to write – “I’m a campin’ outside the gates of Grace...”) has been averted!  People are diligently establishing a tent city that they have named Dignity Village, after the tent community on the west coast that has become a model of self-governance and upward mobility for homeless people everywhere.  I encourage you to Google Dignity Village and learn more.  There are weekly meetings, also attended by Occupy folks and other grassroots activists, where rules and goals are being established.  People beset by addictions are camping together, in a designated area.  As Grace evolves, there will be more hope and help for them.  In the meantime, I think it would be a good idea if there were 12 Step Meetings out at Dignity Village.   The idea of bringing meetings to people has fallen out of favor in AA – or so I am told – but it is something that was done by Bill W and Dr. Bob and I think for this special population it would make sense. 
These are our two greatest needs.  The many rains have caused an explosion of mosquitos out in the woods.  We’re about out of soap and shampoo also.
On August 12 Kirk Stender, a gentle, wonderful man who was homeless in a wheelchair for at least four or five years, left this world.  We were very fond of Kirk.
We hope to plant a tree in his name out at Grace Market Place.  Grace needs trees so maybe other people can plant trees there, for homeless or housed friends who have moved on. 
Peace and blessings to all of you,