Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Behind Bars--and aftermath

Another unfortunate fact of life is that some people flout our laws and after paying their debt to society often have nowhere to go but the streets.  They have no money, no family to support them and do not know where to look for a helping hand.   Most of their problems are drug related. 

Mervin is one of the lucky ones.   He served several months in a Canadian jail and afterwards was able to make his way back to the U.S.  His family are in St. Louis where they found a job for him in the trucking industry.  He needed help to return home.  The bus fare was $195 and with a pledge from us and the other churches within the Community Resource Network, he was assured of a passage to the Midwest.  As we pointed out, the rest is up to him.  He set off--with the blessings of all of us in the network. 

Marcus was well-dressed and well-spoken and had the good fortune to have the support of his mother.  After his release from prison, he was offered a place in clean and sober housing.  He needed help to secure this bed and we were happy to give him a pledge.  The house had telephone service and so we gave him information on employment opportunities and agencies which he could access after he completed the clean and sober intake process.  He arrived at Humanitas in the company of Charles who also needed our assistance to secure a place in which to maintain his sobriety.

These houses are to be commended upon the work they do to help men and women reclaim their place in society.  They provide rooms for a low rent, the means whereby the addicts can attend meetings, find mentors and encourage and support each other through this very difficult period.  Most post-incarcerated people are not that fortunate.

Donald was just out of prison.  His only means of identification was his prison number. 
As well as showing him where he can find a daily hot meal and giving him some free bus passes, we referred him to Access ID, an adjunct of Street Lawyers, who help people obtain the necessary documentation, a birth certificate for example, so that they can apply for a State Identification Card.  Without this, it is impossible to get a bed in the Lighthouse Mission, obtain a driver's license, apply for a job or claim any kind of assistance from the city or state.   Without the help of friends or family, Donald will probably have to live on the street until his interstate documentation arrives.   At that time, we will help him pay the fee for his ID. 

As always, we listen, encourage and offer our blessing to the folks who find us.  We have a list of places that are sometimes available to help former prisoners, but without friends and family plus the added problem of addiction, it is a difficult path for them to walk.   However, we know that some are successful and that is what we continue to strive for.

We thank you all most sincerely for your continued encouragement and financial support in our clubs--both the 10-bucks-a month  and our one-client-a-month for $35.