Friday, March 18, 2011

Ending Homelessness in Howard County

Last month while I was visiting my family in NC I drove quite a bit between my mom's house (where we were staying) and my sister's house (where the kids were playing).  I went through the same intersection near the mall a lot and noticed a group of homeless men who were rotating between medians with their "Please Help" signs.  In general I don't give money to people at stoplights and I didn't this time, but the weirdest thing happened at one of my stops.  I'm not really superstitious and I'm not a true believer in signs - although I also don't dismiss those things, especially if they are really in my face (like how UNC seems to lose every time my husband wears a UNC shirt, so he isn't allowed to do that anymore on game days). 

I was easing up to the light and a man I'd seen several times already that day was turning away from me with his sign to walk back up to the top of the median.  Just as I was passing him, a bird flew by us and was struck by a pick-up truck going the other direction.  It seemed to happen in slow motion and was really disturbing, I think to me and the homeless man.  My light changed just then and I didn't even come to a complete stop before moving on, but I've thought of the incident off and on for the last few weeks.  It felt ominous.  It felt like a sign to do something, but I haven't been sure of what until today.

HoCo Rising is celebrating his second anniversary as a blogger by starting an effort to eliminate homelessness in Howard County.  You can read about his effort here but basically he has found that "it takes approximately $1,500 to subsidize the rent for one individual who is looking to get off the street and into a "Sober House."  These Sober Houses are a proven vehicle for taking people out of the cycle of homelessness and into recovery and a new productive life.  Said otherwise, for every $1,500 raised, we can effectively end homelessness for one person."  In that vein, HCR is asking for $15 donations through Crowdrise to raise the first $1,500 by June 24, 2011.

There are many people in need in our world.  With all the things happening in Japan, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain - the list goes on and on - it can be completely overwhelming.  I'm going to use this opportunity to "think globally and act locally".  You can change a life with your $15, too. 


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