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To the editor:
We are tired of hearing there aren’t homeless in Brunswick County. They are there if you look.
In large cities, the federal government identifies homelessness based on the number reporting to shelters. With no overnight shelter, federal and local governments don’t have a way of knowing how many people are homeless.
Some people don’t like to think of themselves as homeless. They say they are down on their luck. Rural people are tough, and pride gets in the way of asking for help. They’re more likely to hunker down in the woods or abandoned buildings.
That’s exactly what we witnessed recently.
A man in his early 50s sat on the side of the road. Volunteers gave him a bagged lunch, a sleeping bag, words of encouragement and prayed over him.
As the van readied to pull away, he began to cry. He had labored all day, looking for work, had no dinner and nowhere to sleep. The few dollars in his pockets weren’t enough to rent a motel room.
He wanted to apply for food stamps but has no address to give. He wanted to give up because he cannot free himself from this miserable cycle. His body is failing him. He knows he will not survive on the streets until he is old enough for senior housing. He was tired and wanted to sleep.
Tears were running down the volunteers’ faces as they argued over who would help.
Many homeless people struggle with emotional and mental illness, eviction and transportation issues that prevent them from gaining employment and the basic necessities to live.
Garry and Donna Phelps
Building Hope Ministries / BCSTR