I had nowhere, but the streets, to go…

2024 May #1
By a Joy Junction Staff Member (JBF)

It’s nice to feel the warmth of the sun, after the passing of cold weather, now that we are in the spring season. Our winter seasons are not as cold as many other states, but we still have our share of “below freezing” nights.

When our temperature gets that low, many homeless people choose to stay in their own tent or make-shift shelter and bundle up in sleeping bags…wishing their circumstance was different as their bodies shake from the cold all night long.  Freezing to death is a real concern for them.

On the other hand, there are those who choose to find a shelter organization one night at a time, just so they can get out of the weather for that particular night.  They have no intention of staying for a longer duration; nor do they want to receive any kind of help.

Then, there are those who truly are terrified about being out on the street – for any length of time. Their life’s circumstances have caused them to be without any kind of home and they simply have no idea what to do or where to go. 

We feel a deep compassion for those who have fallen into the homeless category, even when they have tried their best to be self-sufficient enough to make things work out.

We know, from past experiences with our guests, that it is very frustrating to not be able to accomplish the goal of “making things work.” Losing everything is a very hard place to be in.   

Feeling like a failure in life can sometimes cause depression to set in. At that point, they have a hard time making wise decisions. We certainly do not want them to get to that point.

Thankfully, our shelter and program information gets spread to those on the streets by word of mouth – one person at a time. Eventually, most people on the street do hear about us. Some choose to make the trip out to our campus.

That’s what happened with Pamela (not her real name). Here’s her story:

“I had nowhere, but the streets, to go…”

“I am homeless because of the Covid epidemic. My finances were hit hard when I lost my job. I had no family to help me or depend on.

I applied for disability and the emergency rental assistance program. I had to cut back on my expenses but was able to make it with the help they gave me.

Then, it came time for my apartment lease to be renewed. The landlord declined to allow me to use the rental assistance a second time. The amount of money I had coming in was not enough to support me.

I became homeless and had nowhere, but the streets, to go.

I heard about Joy Junction from some of the people on the street and got a ride here. It’s a hard transition in my life, but, I still have hope.

I’m so thankful there are places like this for people like me.”

When our guests finally do arrive, relief overtakes the fear and they are able to think clearly for the first time after becoming homeless. We can see it on their faces.

We try to reassure their need to feel safe by letting them know they will have three meals a day and a place to sleep for as long as they need help. We also encourage them to join one of our programs so they will have a planned path to follow and look forward to.

Structure is important to all of us.  But, until our guests are stable enough to move out with a job and a home of their own, we know their main objective is to feel safe and secure while they work toward turning their circumstances around.

Becoming self-sufficient (with God’s help) is the main goal for most of our guests. Our Bible-based Christ in Power Program focuses on their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, which encourages them as they move forward. Once they graduate, they will have “tools” to take with them for the rest of their lives.

Feeling confident and stable is a good feeling! We want each of our guests who move out to feel empowered to join the mainstream of employment again, and to be able to enjoy a home of their own.

When you think of our guests, stop and say a prayer for them. They are working hard to overcome their homeless status.