What I’ve Learned from Greenville SC’s Homeless

homeless

I started helping out with Greenville SC’s Homeless population a while back with Project Care.  They are an organization that helps individuals with disabilities who are experiencing chronic homelessness get back on their feet.  I started helping with fundraising and career counseling but I wanted to get closer and do more.  After a huge article in the Greenville News about Tent City, a friend of mine started an organization called the Tent City Relief Effort.  I thought this would be a great area to focus my efforts.  They vowed to provide a hot meal to Tent City (just one of the many areas of Greenville’s Homeless) every Wednesday night.  I thought I could help.

I started going down there a little over a month ago and it’s been a life altering experience.  I have met so many amazing people and learned a lot about our city’s homeless.  There are some characters down there and I have really grown fond of some of them.  We have built relationships and I look forward to spending time with them every week.  I’ve learned so much and would love to share it with you.

Not all homeless are addicts/alcoholics…

I know that this is a common idea…that people down there are there because they spend their money on drugs and alcohol.  While this does happen and is the case with some, it’s not the norm.  There are plenty of people down there that do not have any kind of addictions.

We are all one paycheck, one illness, or layoff away from being homeless…

A lot of these tent city residents had a layoff and couldn’t get ahead or had an illness they couldn’t afford etc.  I’m lucky enough to have some family that if the ish were to hit the fan, I would have a place to stay…but not everyone is like that!

Our countries foster care program needs help…

One of the residents down there is a 20 year old who was in different foster homes his whole life.  He didn’t stay at anyone long enough to learn how to drive, or how to fill out job applications, open a bank account or even do laundry or cook meals.  At 18, he was just sent out into oblivion.  It’s not hist fault…he’s a product of the system.  And now, he doesn’t know where to go.

There’s a disconnect between organizations…

I think a lot of people miss the point of helping.  We aren’t there to make things easy on them to live, we are there to help the ones who to get out…out.  I have been told by so many that they hear conflicting information from different people and they never know what’s true or not.  Police just want to arrest them to get off the street.  And then what?  They are put back out there with a record and even more difficulty finding a job.

They don’t need any more toothpaste…they need work…

If you’re a business owner…consider hiring someone in this position.  They really just need a chance!  Most of them want to work…they just can’t.  We need to find positions for them in our community and resources to help them get on their feet.

I am lucky enough to be able to help out but I know that I could be in that position at any moment.  They constantly thank us for the food and resources but honestly, I need to be thanking them.  They have really put things into perspective and I am extremely thankful for the friendships I’ve made.  There’s a link to the right if you would like to donate.  At this time, we are just working off of our own finances and donations of others.  We would really appreciate the support. 

What kind of causes are important to you in your community?!

NAME

The following two tabs change content below.

Just a 30 something southern girl living life as a “Fat Girl”. Learning to love and laugh more than ever and share the adventures that is her crazy existence! Blogging about dating, weight loss and acceptance, funny stories, quirky family, Greenville, SC and some fashion. Come hang out!

If you like this articles, share it with your friend! Digg it StumbleUpon del.icio.us Google Yahoo! Reddit

More related articles

4 comments on What I’ve Learned from Greenville SC’s Homeless

  1. Cindy says:

    Hi Courtney. The TC previously referenced in NJ is the one that I serve. While serving, i stay in camp and have been on and off for the last 17 months. . However, I live in SC. I have contacted organizations about visiting this camp but have been unsuccessful with my attempts. This is the only TC that I am aware of in SC. Would it be possible to talk with you about this camp. I agree with you whole heartily about the stereotyping of our homeless and am trying to bring awareness that we all may be one paycheck from homelessness. If you have time, i would like to see what i can do to serve this community. Sincerely, Cindy.

  2. Jen says:

    Bless your heart for the work you’re doing on behalf of your community’s homeless population. The county I live in in NJ has several tent cities. There is a very large one in Lakewood, NJ with over 50 residents. I feel that while there are wonderful people like yourself helping out, the county government really needs to wake up and smell the coffee instead of turning a blind eye to the problem. I’m so glad Megan nominated you for the Liebster and in turn, I found your blog.

    • Courtney says:

      Thanks for the kind words Jen. It’s been difficult but very rewarding. We were able to get one guy reconnected with his family and out of Tent City but would love to do more. At this point, we are in “sustaining” mode, just trying to supply enough for them to survive. I’m hoping that Greenville doesn’t adopt the policy of Columbia, SC where you have to have a permit to feed the homeless. It’s like they want to keep them down and it’s a vicious cycle.

      Glad you found me! Excited to learn about the Liebster award and honored to be a part of it. 🙂