Project: We See You – January – Houston Homeless Count
Me removing an elephant off my chest: I need to let you know (because it’s a weird feeling when people start sending you money) that my intention in writing these posts isn’t to ask you guys to give me money. Because, that seems icky to me, even if it’s for a good cause. Like, I’m not a put a Paypal link on my blog kind of gal (not that there’s anything wrong with that…people need help sometimes, and, shit, more power to them).
I think it’ll feel less weird when I get a non-profit approval? Will I put a Paypal link on the official Project: We See You webpage? YES!
These posts are merely my attempt to plant a seed in your mind, to nudge you on the shoulder, and to whisper psst! psst! in your ear; a reminder that you (and ME) can do a better job seeing people and their problems, instead of avoiding them because they make you (ME) feel so sad and helpless and guilty.
Put your hand out and help someone up.
With that said, I’m obviously not going to turn donations away…because I know how much of an impact they make. You are helping real people, in real time, in a very real way, and that’s real awesome.
Anyway, this is a learning process for me, but I’ve hired someone to help make sure I’m doing it right. Numbers and math make me panicky and sweaty and nauseous and, man, it’s a good thing I married a numbers guy.
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Now, on to the main course…
I had previously designated January as Metro Pass Month for Project: We See You! And, while I’d still like to collect some of these, I’ve now shifted my focus towards collecting coupons and $5 gift cards from McDonald’s.
You see, January is when the 2012 Houston Homeless Count takes place.
It’s just as it sounds. They send people out, four to a car, all across the city to literally COUNT the homeless population of Houston and surrounding counties.
Teams are assigned to different areas throughout the city, and are deployed by 5:30 P.M., remaining out until the assigned territory is completed or until 11:30 P.M.
Why 5:30? Because, that’s when the homeless shelters in the city close their doors for the night. The shelters hand in their numbers, which are added to the Count.
I just signed up to participate!
Why do they need a count?
Per the Coalition for the Homeless:
“The point-in-time count is a requirement of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the local Continuum of Care funding process which brought over $23,000,000 to the Houston, Harris County and Fort Bend County homeless assistance programs in the FY2011 application process. This funding provides transitional housing, permanent supportive housing and supportive services to our communities to assist homeless persons and families toward housing stability and self-sufficiency and provides homeless person with greater self-determination.
Each staging area will have highly trained volunteer Captains and Co-Captains who will be available throughout the night for questions and assistance during the count. There will be at least four people per team: one driver, one navigator and two counters. A map, with grid, will be provided to each team to follow along with a lighting devise, clipboard and all necessary forms.
Each team will have at least one homeless services person or formerly homeless person who is familiar with the population being counted and to ensure the safety of the team.”
This is amazing to me.
I hadn’t a clue it even existed.
I’m hoping to go out on count night and maybe chat with those willing, about the things they need the most…for our next round of bags.
So, back to the goal. The Coalition is interested in handing out 400 $5 McDonald’s gift cards on Count Night. I’m making it my mission to collect at least this many. I’m also going to try and get in touch with McDonald’s to see if they’d be willing to contribute a few coffee/breakfast coupons.
I will beg and say pretty please and put the biggest cherry you’ve ever seen on top. If they end up sparing some, even a few, to help Houston’s homeless, I’ll be forever grateful.
Because everyone deserves a sausage biscuit.
(I should make a t-shirt.)
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Today, I dropped the remaining toiletries off at the Star of Hope Mission – For Houston’s Homeless, Transitional Living Facility.
I played peek-a-boo with a baby and my heart ached.
The baby, of course, has no idea about financial status, homelessness, or where he’s temporarily living. And, evident by his happy face, sweet smile, and the way his parents interacted with him, he is loved. But, still, it killed me, because who knows what his future holds.
I’m just grateful that services like this exist for him and his family…and for all the families who have no place else to go.
Have a lovely weekend, everyone.
And, p.s., you can totally still bitch about stuff, just remember to also be grateful you have a place to call home.