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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What are They Worth to You and Your Community?

A Blog from Lance Greene – Founder of Straight Ahead Outreach (Taking Back Your Life) Inc.



Please consider this. As Community Members, what would the following be worth to you, personally. Many ask for "numbers" in order to validate funding. I ask You - What "numbers" can you apply to the following. What is it worth toYou as a Community?

Each person mentioned here is fully aware we speak of them over the web, online, and in direct conversations and each one gladly gives their full permission to do so. Each one of them were “Homeless” at one time, either for days, months or years. I do not typically put all this information out there and trust me there is much more. I don’t because of the time involved as I feel the time is always much better spent on concentrating on those we help. You may feel maybe I am wrong, maybe that is why we do not get more funding. However, the people we help are what are of most importance. Not me, not STA, not you. Them, our Friends In Need.

Kendal B. – 40 years old

1) Kendal: This photo of Kendal is dated 9/9/2010. One month after Kendal came to live with us here in St. Petersburg FL from Knoxville TN. It is a very good photo. I can show you photos of Kendal that are not so flattering; bloated from drugs, alcohol, anti-depressants her body cannot process, and ashen in color, but I choose not to. Not STA’s style. We helped her a number of times off the streets of Knoxville since 2007- She is a tough case. We first met her in late 2007 and received our first monetary assistance for her rent at the YWCA in 2008 of $250. We have intervened on Kendal with the Knoxville Police Dept and spent countless hours, days and about 2.5 years both in the streets and at our personal residence in Knoxville helping Kendal. It has been an ongoing Intervention since we met her. Kendal is tough. Kendal has been kicked out of or refused services at numerous programs in Knoxville, including KARM, VMC, Peninsula, Salvation Army, and Lakeshore due to her use of alcohol, drugs and more. Kendal has been chronically homeless, or as we say a "Friend In Need" for over 15 years. She has lost her housing twice at Summit Towers whom VMC helped her get via voucher, but did not provide the much needed guidance and social support. Kendal held a job at the Crowne Plaza for 2 years in housekeeping until approx this last January. People like Kendal, "the homeless" do drink in excess, do use drugs in excess and do pretty much everything in excess including talk, walk, and use each other.

Orgs like us, homeless assistance orgs, are in the business supposedly to help these very people. YES, they will be drunk and or high. THAT, is when they are in crisis and need our help,,,,,,,,NOT the time to kick them out. Kendal is one of them, one of many. Kendal has been in and out of the Knoxville Court system numerous times, on different charges. We have gone to court with her in the past. We have picked her up from the Knoxville Police drunk and disorderly or found her the same in the streets, brought her to our home there in Knoxville and stayed up with her all night, literally, on our front porch in Knoxville and had her sleep at our home until she was sober, calmed down and sleeping, then gave her a ride back into town in the morning so she could go to work or she would just stay at our home.

NOW, since AUGUST 10th of this year, we brought Kendal from Knoxville to our home (which we rent) in St. Petersburg FL to live with us here, detox her body and thought process as much as possible and re-socialize her. She is doing better then she ever has. Kendal since August 24th, 2010 has been going to school preparing for her GED and she volunteers at an Assisted Living Facility. Kendal will test out for her GED on Dec 8th & 9th, 2010 We, STA have removed Kendal from the Knoxville System. The courts don’t have her, the KPD are not dealing with her, and VMC, KARM, Salvation Army, the Cherokee Health System and the rest do not have to deal with her. We, STA, Lance & Pat, have Kendal here in our personal home and are working with her 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. I could go into more detail. Do you need more? How much is this worth to Knoxville? How much is what we are doing, we being STA, Straight Ahead Outreach (Taking Back Your Life) Inc., how much is it worth to you as a Community?  What would someone like Kendal be worth to your community?

Donna F. – 40 years old

2) Donna is the one in the Wal-Mart wheelchair scooter, my fiancé Pat, V.P. of STA is with Donna. Donna, was sleeping in Knoxville in Market Square nightly in front of The Tomato Head restaurant so she could plug in her electric wheelchair from October 2007 when she was evicted from Cagle Terrace. Donna did this until we took her off the streets at 2am one night in June 2008. Donna would not stay at the local Mission if she could help it because of the violence and theft. Donnas’ daily routine is detailed on our website.

We took Donna, who has a brain injury, physical disabilities and is confined to a wheelchair into our personal home in Knoxville in June 2008 which we rented. Mayor Haslam should personally recognize Donna. Our home in Knoxville was most definitely not wheelchair friendly. Donna stayed with us for just about 4 months. Donna has many outbursts and many different needs. We cared for and helped Donna out of our own personal funds during this time. We hauled Donna around in our van using a piece of plywood to load her chair into the van. We provided transportation everywhere Donna needed to go. We got help from no-one. We asked VMC for glasses for Donna. I called them as Founder of STA and they refused me because Donna had missed a “Staffing Meeting” “some time ago.” I actually begged them. Still they turned me down. I never asked again. When I was in Knoxville this plast September 2010, I went to see Donna in Oak Ridge where we obtained housing for her in 2008. To this dang day, she still is wearing MY fiancés’ old glasses. Wow!

STA, has done favors for VMC, KARM, Salvation Army and more at their request - without hesitation. To make a very long story as short as possible, we had Donna in our personal home for almost 4 months giving her 24/7 care, attention, support, transportation, housing and housing location assistance. We took her off the streets of Knoxville where the patrons of Market Square, in particular the Tomato Head and Preservation Pub employees knew Donna and always seen her everyday. We took her to Oak Ridge. We obtained a Payee for Donna and she now has remained at her apartment since Oct 10th 2008 until present. I flew to Knoxville on September 19th and brought Donna to ORHA to get her on their assistance list for the second time as we had received a generous donation which enabled us to do so. It was an extremely difficult trip for me. That’s a story for another time and place.

Bottom line, we took Donna from Knoxville, relieved Knoxville of her burden, relieved the restaurants and patrons of Market Square of her constant requests for cold drinks, cigarettes and more. Currently, Donna lives on and pays all of her expenses including rent, utilities etc out of her entire $673/month SSI/SSDI and $174 in Food Stamps/month. She has approx $20-$30 left per month for incidentals. Donna is one we would house permanently in our STA Facility were we able to obtain one. In all reality, Donna is and has been for quite some time a positive contributing force to both the Knoxville and Oak Ridge Communities So, for 24/7 care for almost 4 months, transportation, and taking off the streets of Knoxville and away from the City and its resources. What is it worth? What numbers would you or can you apply to it? What is that worth to a community like Knoxville? What would it be worth to your community?

Dusty F. Standing behind Kendal & I

3) Dusty, Dusty, Dusty - What an awesome story. She was ready, still a handful but ready. Kendal referred us to her back when we first met Kendal. Dusty was living under the bridge on the Salvation Army side where all the drug dealers are. “Fish” we will call him, a big drug dealer there, was “her man”, or more like it, she was “his girl”. Kendal asked us to please help her. Dusty was a hardcore crack addict.  Was.

With Kendal cowering in our van scared to death, my fiancé Pat, Kendal and I went under the bridge in the late night of July 1st, 2008. There were drug dealers and users every where and ”Fish” was right there next to Dusty. I pulled my van up onto the sidewalk and left it running locking Pat and Kendal inside. “Fish” has beaten and been known in that world to beat & kill others and he still roams the streets. He would be selling drugs in daylight right there under the bridge, and a Sherriff sat 20 feet away in his car guarding the construction workers. It goes on all day long, 24 hours a day. We have sat across the street in a parking lot watching drug dealers make deals in the Salvation Army lot. With the support of Jesus standing beside me I got out of the van and in my normal fashion walked right into the den of wolves up to Dusty. I asked if it was her. “Fish” stepped into my face and asked what I wanted. I stated I was not there to speak to him or anyone else for that matter other then Dusty. They all dispersed. Everyone. Dusty and I were left alone to talk. She cried. I listened. She agreed to allow us to help her. It was her time. I listened and did “my thing.” It was what I talk about in my printed material and on my website. It was Jesus at work using me as a tool. Period.

After that night, we requested Pastor Mike of KARM to allow Dusty into the Volunteer program at KARM even though they were full, he agreed. Because of his assistance, STA will always do whatever we can for him and KARM.

To this very day, we still stay involved with Dusty also. We talk to her every day. When I was in Knoxville in September I made sure she was able to see one of her homeless friends in the ICU at St. Mary’s and brought her to see her friend there. She lives in a small apartment we worked hard to locate for her, meeting with the landlord on her behalf so she could make room for someone else at KARM. Dusty worked extremely hard also to get in to the apartment as she had to prove she had been clean for 6 weeks. It was at the YWCA. Dusty stayed there almost two years and since has moved out of the YWCA this year into her own very nice, 1 bedroom apartment. Dusty has been “clean” now, 100% free of drugs ever since that July 1st 2008 night. Over 2 years! She works at Market Square Kitchen and has been for over two years. Stop in and say hello to her please. The photos with Kendal and Dusty were taken there this last January 2009. Dusty has told us numerous times, if we would not have stopped to see her on that night in July she does not believe she would be alive today. She has worked so very very hard. We, STA, got her off the streets of Knoxville in 2008 and she still is a positive contributing force to the community. She shops like crazy! She keeps a beautiful apartment. She does excellent. What is a person like Dusty worth? What is this worth to a community like Knoxville. What would it be worth in Your community?

John S. on right - Lance Greene on Left

4) STA was instrumental in helping CAC get John off the streets and into housing. John has spent the last 18 years or so sleeping in the woods. Although, John really was not ready for housing and struggles to this day, he is still in housing but has been moved three times since 2008. John is a long and confidential story so I will not go into much other then to say John is very close to our heart. We believe in John and spent countless hours all thru the day and night for months on end helping CAC keep John in line so to speak. We continue to this day even though we have never been the main case manager for John. No one will ever be able to truly understand what we went thru with John unless maybe you heard it from him. When I was in Knoxville in September, myself and Miss Mary Hawk went to court with John on his behalf and won the case against him. He was relieved and very pleased and STA is now working on a major case for John to try and relieve him of some other situations which I am unable to talk about at this time. We continue to provide emotional encouragement and support to John via phone primarily when we can reach John and or when he can get to a phone to reach us as he does not have a phone in his home or a cell phone. If it had not been for STA at the time, CAC would not have been successful in getting John off the streets of Knoxville. I know this. No doubt in my mind and I can explain further in person if you like sometime. It’s a very long story. Again, when we were helping CAC with John, everything we did came out of our own personal wages and funds. In fact, we spent a good deal of funds bringing John to PILOT Travel Center on Lovell Rd to get him Showers, smokes, snacks and ,meals weekly for quite some time. Those funds came directly out of our personal funds. If STA was Johns main Case Manager he would do much much better then he is now, nut none the less he is doing very well due to our involvement with him. I am sure he would be glad to let you know. What is he worth to you all? He is now a positive contributing force to Knoxville. What would someone like John be worth to your community?

5) Kimberly B. No photo available – Kimberly is another awesome lady – She was fresh out of Prison and staying at Salvation Army in Knoxville and going through their program as mandated. We met her through OLA at Salvation Army. I was manager for a high end carpet cleaning company at the time called Eco Clean Carpet Solutions in Knoxville. We hired her to answer phones and make sales calls and I spent extensive time coaching and listening to Kimberly about all her situations. Her job with us helped her to pay her way at Salvation Army and gave her the confidence to stay straight and get her life back. She was able to stay straight and able to move back to Atlanta with her parole officers blessing and approvals. To this day we keep in contact and she is doing excellent back in her field of law as an Admin and is looking at getting into Insurance Appraisals, got married and more. What is Kimberly worth?? Kimberly is not in Knoxville any longer and is a positive contributing force big time in her community in Atlanta. What is she worth to you all as a Community? What would someone like Kimberly be worth to you and your community?

Jennifer H. – St. Petersburg, FL

6) Jennifer H - St. Petersburg FL. – Tomlinson Adult learning Center of St. Petersburg FL called us on this family for help. Jennifer is a 26 year old Mother of 3 girls and one boy. WOW. Try to find safe emergency shelter and or housing in our society today for a young mother of 3 girls and one boy! It is disturbing. First the shelters know that they are not typically safe enough for a family like this, the women shelters are not big enough, all the shelters are too full annnnnnnnd not to mention I typically will try everything in my power NOT to bring anyone to a shelter unless I have absolutely no alternative. In fact I will leave someone on the streets before I will bring them to a shelter if at all possible. In this case, I did try to find a shelter for Jennifer and her kids. I have never had this type of situation before with a family of this size and the “type”, 3 girls and one boy. The one boy being the issue. I couldn’t even locate a Domestic Abuse center to help. No one. I called everyone in the area including meeting with the Mayor of St, Petes office. I met with Catholic Charities, called over 30 service organizations and stopped at over 20 churches. I was either refused or not returned my calls. The photo of her and the kids was taken in the motel we placed them in for 4 days. We also let them all stay in our personal home for one night where we also have KENDAL staying. Keep in mind we rent a 900 sq ft 2 bedrm 1 bath house and we have two dogs. So we had 8 of us here including Pat and I plus our dogs.

Long story short, we were able to do a lot of “talking” and secure a temporary living situation for her and the kids. I located both the Executive and Assistant Directors Homes and phone numbers from a Domestic Abuse Center her in St. Pete and called them at their homes and pleaded with them pitifully. After many calls and meetings Jennifer and her 4 kids were accepted by the organization and her transitional housing is being readied. She was to move in already but it had been moved to November. She is still ok at her temporary housing for now. See, the issue is this: She is a female, she has 3 female children and one boy. The boy must have his own room according to DCS laws and he may not share one with the Mother. So the shelters and all the programs here were not big enough or willing to stretch the boundaries at all. Just one was able to accommodate but it took a lot of stress and work. I refused to let this family of great kids and a worried Mom end up on the streets. I fought with her and fought to get her in somewhere.

We, STA made sure she was able to get where she needed to go to keep up with her commitments, drove, and picked up her kids from school, to the grocery store, Mom to school, to the Employment end of Pinellas County, provide ongoing emotional support and coaching and more. STA, normally handles single individuals or pairs, not a whole family especially like this ones makeup. BUT, we succeeded. They were homeless as of 9-15-2010 after being kicked out of a family members home. Tomlinson Adult Learning Center called me and I dropped everything immediately and went to the school where the Mother was sitting in the hall crying and had no clue what to do. Her kids didn’t even know yet that they were homeless. They never had to live in the streets, or a shelter. And now, they have been reunited with some long time family friends via a conversation I had with the family friends and have a safe place to live until their transitional housing is readied in November. WE, STA, prevented FIVE more homeless statistics and 5 more tragedies to our world. You may call Tomlinson Adult Learning center to validate this if you like. I will be glad to provide the contact name and phone number if you wish. What is this family worth to the St. Petersburg FL community? What would a family like this be worth to you and your community?

Ms. Edna - Back to the camera & our vans mirror - Lance talking to her.

7) Miss Edna: Pictured with her back to our van and Lance talking to her. Miss Edna. To date, My failure. STA’s failure. The one I beat myself up about probably the most. Daily. However, will always hope to help her more. Why a failure? Because simply, she is an over 70 year old female on the streets of Knoxville and STA just does not have the funds it takes to help her. Miss Edna needs continual care in an assisted living, nursing home type facility. We could do it. We are willing and we have the people in line waiting to help us with Miss Edna. We do not have the facility or the funds. I have spent extensive time with Miss Edna. I am mad at myself for getting involved with her, because STA just isn’t big enough to help her like she needs. We can be and will. She was hit by a drunk driver while sleeping in a bus stop on Chapman Highway in Knoxville. IN KNOXVILLE! Not acceptable. Yes, it angers me. It takes creativity and money, yes, yes yes, I know, a lot of money. We are willing to do the work to take care of her, not many others are that I know of. Ask Them. Ask all of them. KARM, Salvation Army, VMC. None of them will help her as she is and with all her belongings. We, STA will. We know her. We know how ugly it will be and what we are in for. It takes You All and people like you to be able to provide us the funds to do so. If Not You, then Who?

I could go on and list more, but then this would become so much more lengthy then it already is.

To be honest I realize this email has a tone of frustration. I, Lance Greene, have done this work since 1985 primarily out of my own and my fiancé Pat Mishler’s pockets. It was not until 2007 that I made Straight Ahead Outreach and what we do public. It was not until 2008 that we started seeking donations. I do not like the process or even the thought of having to ask for funds. I know I am not good at it. I am excellent at helping people “Take Back Their lives.” That is my specialty I guess you could say, just like you all have yours. It is understood we will need to obtain someone who is a “fundraiser” so to speak, however until we can do that then I must be the one to do it.

If you can imagine what we must have spent over the years out of our own pockets, never claiming it on taxes because of how I believe. Since 2008, we have received approx $10,000.00 in donations total. Our last donation was received on July 24th and used up on our beneficiaries by September 15th and we still have Kendal from Knoxville, TN staying with us in our personal home and we are covering all costs out of personal funds so she can succeed. Again she is almost done with her GED schooling and tests out on Dec 8th & 9th. Today, 10/27/2010 we were just approved by Tomlinson Adult learning Center for Kendal’s Scholarship to pay for her classes and testing. Jennifer H above also was approved for the same Scholarship and has already tested out for her GED and will find out her results in about 4 weeks.

Although Jesus is where I know I get my talents and direct guidance from, I am not the type to say “God Bless” to everything and everyone. I do not mean to offend anyone, it is just the way it is. To be sure, I am a tad hardcore I admit, but that is why we get the results we do. We literally and directly do everything to satisfy our Mission Statement keeping the IRS in mind as they are who granted it based on what we said we would do. If we do this, we know the Mission Statement will be accomplished and those we seek to help will benefit.

STA needs your help, personally.  Monetarily.  We need it today.

Thank you all for your time and energies in reading this info, our website and my blog.

Lance Greene/Founder
Cell: 865-964-1461
Straight Ahead Outreach (Taking Back Your Life) Inc.
Knoxville, TN 37902 & St. Petersburg, FL 33710
501c3 Public Charity - EIN#: 27-1534584
TN Corporate Control #: 620488

My hopes for you today: That you take time to laugh. That business or work has been good for you today. That someone has made your day enjoyable.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Critical Need: Mobile Crisis Unit/Office

We need to obtain the following critical piece of equipment. The photo shows what the graphics would look like which are being designed by Creative Edge Graphics of Knoxville, TN. This would be a "Closed Door Unit." Available to those truely showing they want help and to "Take Back Their Life." This unit would be outfitted with 3 showers, 3 toilets, 2 stackable washer/dryers, handicapped lift, handicapped accessible shower & toilet, office capabilities, 3 beds and a kitchen. This would enable "STA" to have a Mobile Crisis Unit/Office where we can interview our homeless "friends" right in the streets where they are, allow them to take a shower, launder their clothes and give them a meal all at one time at any hour of the day or night. The perfect fit. We need to raise $400,000 to purchase this unit and for operating costs for one year. It will be Designed and built to our specifications.

**5/27/2010 UPDATE: The company that was going to build this for us has gone out of business, but the salesman who quoted us is still in the business.  We can have it built by any RV builder so that is not an issue.

***  Also, we can put a lower cost unit on the road as the white one pictured here, but we do need to get something on the road soon.  A lower cost unit could be put together by purchasing a used bus and reto-fitting it for a total of approx $50,000.00 - $60,000.00.  We would also need to raise funds then to operate it for 6-12 months so we would need to raise a total of $100,000.00 for this unit.  When we say "to operate it" we are including all our services which we make available 24/7 including meals, clothing, interviews, one on one intensive support, showers, laundry, transportation, haircuts, and more services all involved in our Mobile Crisis/Intervention program as described on our website


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Where Did The Homeless Come From?

Are YOU a Friend In Need?  Are YOU Homeless?

IF, you are Happy Living in the Streets.  That is YOUR Business. 

IF, You "Think" You are Happy living in the Streets, Want to get off the Streets, or are Trapped in the Streets.  THAT is OUR Business!

So, where do these as we call them.....our "Friends In Need" and the "Homeless" come from?
They are viewed as the bottom of the Earth, they are Over Looked, Turned Away from, Ignored, Scoffed at, Heckled, viewed as "Losers", beaten, murdered, set on fire, prostituted, "used" (smoke & mirrors) for funding sake, to support high nonprofit salaries and luxurious homes and more.

THEY used to be members of a FAMILY.  Maybe even YOUR family.  They used to be NEIGHBORS.  Maybe even YOUR neighbors.  Literally.
They do not just appear like some slug under a rock.  They are REAL people.  With feelings, desires, needs. They have had their personalities, their tears, their smiles, their laughter all "Stolen" from them by us as a Society.  We as people hurt each other terribly and think we do not have to be accountable.  We ARE accountable, YOU are accountable.

By the way, a Friend In Need can be anyone, they do not have to be what Society labels as Homeless.  That is why we are trying to change from using the "Homeless" term to using Friends In Need.

What we say, What we do, and how we treat others can do a great deal of "damage" and it is just a "cop-out" to remove ourselves from accountability and to put the blame on the "Friend In Need" or the "Homeless." Yes, there are "bad apples" out there in the streets, just like there is in your neighborhood, 2 blocks from you, yes, even in the gated communities, no matter what color, race or culture origin.

Do you know what got them there, sleeping under that bridge or in those woods?  Do you know why they are drinking or drugging until they cant see, hear or breathe anymore? Until the snot is running out their nose and they are defecating all over themselves?  Do YOU? Do you know?  Most likely not.  Because you Turn Away.  Because you Heckle, Blame, Scoff at, Ignore and just plain call them a "Loser."  "Ahhhh just get the Hell up and go get a job" you say!!  How about most of America right now that have been trying for the last TWO years to get jobs.  Even those with experience, educations, and homes cannot locate jobs.  Are they, YOU losers? NO.  But i tell you this, many, many of you have and will end up Homeless soon, I could end up a "Friend In Need" - and myself and my crew juuuuust might come upon YOU in the Streets and In Need --- "How Would YOU Want To Be Treated?"  How should We Treat You??

How often have you seen those on the streets crying? I mean on the streets, not in the shelter where you just came from having fun helping serve them.  I mean on the streets as you drive by.  Have you seen them crying?  Most likely not.   The tears are not there.  They are numb from the World as we know it.  They have given up and given in to the thought that this is what their life has to be now.   IT DOES NOT.  IT WILL NOT, if we have anything to do with it.

Again.  THEY used to be members of a FAMILY. Maybe even YOUR family. They used to be NEIGHBORS. Maybe even YOUR neighbors. Literally.
They do not just appear like some slug under a rock. They are REAL people. With feelings, desires, needs. They have had their personalities, their tears, their smiles, their laughter all "Stolen" from them by us as a Society. We as people hurt each other terribly and think we do not have to be accountable. We ARE accountable, YOU are accountable.  We help them to "Take Back Your Life" we say, really, to "Steal" back their life from those who stole it from them in the first place.

The old style "Mental Institutions" as we knew them are now the "Streets" and have been for many years now.  The thing is, there just is not enough being done in the streets to help.  It takes money, and lots of it. And it takes people to use that money properly.  Do you feel comfortable donating to an organization that operates 9-5? And supports executive salaries in excess of $100,000.00 per year and supports the executives $300,000.00 - $900,000.00 or more homes?  Do You?  I invite you to check up on those salaries of the nonprofits you Donate to.  They need a salary yes, i most definitely agree, because the work, IF done properly is intense and very difficult and draining. However, in excess of $100,000.00 is the average salary of a nonprofit Executive?  And how many of those levels of executives are employed by the nonprofit you Donate to?  Why did those people get into the business?  Was it for the benefit of the beneficiary?  The Friends In Need, the Homeless?  Could an executive live good on say $85,000.00 max?  Absolutely.  It does not matter if the org is a 10 million dollar org.  The bottom line is the money has to be properly spent for the intended reasons, those in need.  IT IS NOT.  THAT is why we have so many in need out there.  I shudder to think how many we could help if we had $200,000.00 of one of their salaries.  And many people donate to support those salaries and lavish homes.  The executives of nonprofits should not have salaries the same as the millionaires donating to their cause. It just doesn't compute. 

So, you see. It is not the fault entirely of the "Friends In Need."  There are many many factors.

I am asking that from now on, you look at our "Friends In Need" and the "Homeless" differently.
Look at them with concern.  Concern for, do they want to be off the street? Do they know they do not have to be on the street?  Do they know there are people who care? Do they know they deserve to be off the streets?  Do they understand how deep they are in? Do they need medical care? Are they dangerously hungry? In dehydration?  Have they given in and given up to the streets?  Why? Why are they on the streets?  What got them here?    Why? Why? Why? What? What? What? 

Ask, Ask YourSelf.  "What can I do Differently, to help this Friend In Need." What will maybe give a more permanent result to this "Friend In Need?"  It is NOT always a bag of socks.  It is NOT always a sandwich.  It is NOT most definitely NOT always that $1 or $5 you just gave them from the window of your car.  It is more, much much more then all of that.  It is TIME, lots of one on one time.  And the follow up with them and to back up what you, we just got them to agree to try and do.  THAT my friends is where the money comes in, LOTS of $$.  For example: Just like if You were going to rent an apartment.  ALL the same things are needed.  How much does it cost?  Think about that. You know what it is.  It is ALL the same.  The needs are ALL the same.

So, please.  Look at Charity Differently.  Look at our "Friends In Need" and the "Homeless" differently.

Start TODAY. Start Right NOW.

Thank You.

Lance Greene / HOMELESSCRISIS and Founder of Straight Ahead Outreach (Taking Back Your Life) Inc.
Knoxville, TN

And the Clock Stopped at Six O'Clock

For a Friend, our Friend, Your Friend, A True Twitter Friend. A Friend to Many. @brendamantz

Brenda on this April 12th Day was like any other day, doing what she does.

Enjoying life, being a wife and a Mom to her pups.

Fluffing this, admiring that, looking forward to her friends, being her comfortable, caring, sharing self.

On this particular day, this mover & shaker of a woman, this talented writer and lover of people is herself shaken.

On this particular day for our Friend Brenda, at Six O'Clock, the Clock Stopped .

One of her Dear Candles was whisped out and taken from her. One of her Dear Friends, Tancy.

Hmmmm,,,interesting, the new Candle Stand Miss Brenda?  Yes, Today Light a candle on that stand and relax on the deck by it with Tancy.  She will be there just like before.  Maybe even more.

Today, right now as i write, i light a Candle for Brenda, and for her Tancy, the candle holder says: The Lord Bless You and Keep You.   I pray that the Lord Bless and keep both of these Souls.  Tancy to her place.  Brenda, safe, here with all of us.

So, to You our Friend In Need, Brenda, our Love goes out to You. Take some time, rest, rest your Heart, rest Your Soul.  Let your Heart catch up to you now, Let your Soul Heal. 

Tancy is gone only from this place we call Earth, but she continues on in her Journey and will always be there when you talk to her, when you reach your hand to her. 

She will Always be there, Look for her as you sit on your deck, light the candle, watch for her, She is there.

We Love You Brenda.

Lance Greene and Pat Mishler
(@Homelesscrisis and @patmish2004)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The "Streets" are the "Institutions"

I have been working intensely for over more then 8 wks via Twitter and phone with a sister of a lady in Indy who has extensive mental health issues & was to be evicted from her Fathers house due to him passing. Evicted via Sheriff last Thurs, sent to hospital for evaluation, then to a mental health facilty, where she was released after the damned 72 hr rule. Where was she released to? The Streets! Exactly what i was afraid would happen. Happens everyday, YES, in YOUR community TOO!  We, we at Straight Ahead Outreach (Taking Back Your Life) Inc., spend endless hours with these who we call our Friends In Need who end up on the streets homeless.  We would like to prevent this from happening and in the case i am talking about above we could have prevented someone from being homeless.  We made numerous calls to the county for assistance in this situation, to other outreach organizations in the area, the mental health facility and to the Sheriff's office.  The other outreach orgs were either unwilling to assist or out of business in the rural area, nobody could help or even wanted to help.  Nothing.

It is a simple fact.  We do this kind of work, we spend 24 hours, 7 days a week if needed and when needed.  THAT is what is needed when we release these with mental health issues to the streets.  Working with them in the streets when they need it at any hour in order to gain their trust and boost their confidence. Since we as a society have deinstitutionalized America, then it is orgs like ours that are left to help these Friends In Need.  The "Streets" are the "Institutions."  Families cannot handle it as it is much too close and many are unwilling.  We do the work, we enjoy the work.  It is our "CALLING."

In order to help in situations like these, we need to travel to the persons location.  THAT means money is needed or we cant help in the way that is needed. In other words, anytime of day or night.  In the case above, we have not been able to physically travel there and so we were not able to prevent this case of homelessness. The family has gone through extensive unnecessary stress. We need to be there.  IT takes money. Period.  It is a simple fact.  We still need to and are willing to go and provide our services to see what we can do for this lady, she needs the help, she deserves the help.  Since the medical community does not want to help, that is their business.  This lady needs to be secure.  We DO help! We DO the WORK!  We get them to "Take Back Their LIfe."  THAT IS OUR BUSINESS!

I am angry over this, yes, i am angry, so don't even go there with me.  I am tired of seeing it done this way, practiced this way, being accepted this way.  We are NOT your typical outreach organization.  We are only three.  We do not take things lightly. We do not take any bull! We do not work 9-5 Monday through Friday.  I have seen people released to the streets this way for 25 years now.  It is NOT acceptable.  Organizations like us that are willing to do the work and help must, must have the funds in order to do it. 

Help us Do The Work.  DONATE TODAY!
$1500-$2000 needed for this trip. Could be one to two weeks. Includes airfare, car, motel, food and unexpected incidentals.

Thank you!

Lance Greene / HOMELESSCRISIS and Founder of Straight Ahead Outreach (Taking Back Your Life) Inc.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Would YOU Give Up Your Birthday or Anniversary to help Others?

I am copying this idea from charity: water    Out of respect and concern for the organization, charity: water.  I contacted them by email and asked if they would mind me copying their idea of giving up birthdays and the like in order to raise donations for our organization.  Scott Harrison's (Founder) response to me through his assistant, Elise, was "Go For It."  So, our sincere Thank You goes out to Scott Harrison and his organization charity: water.

We, Straight Ahead Outreach (Taking Back Your Life) Inc. are now carrying out this campaign through Twitter, Facebook and beyond!

Will YOU please give up YOUR BIRTHDAY/ANNIVERSARY and ask your friends, family and aquaintances to instead DONATE to our organization to help our "Friends In Need?' 

A Twitter friend of ours @brendamantz did just this.  She was the first one to do so, giving me the idea.  THANK YOU Brenda Mantz!

We Thank YOU all in Advance!

Lance Greene ( Founder) of  Straight Ahead Outreach (Taking Back Your Life) and @HOMELESSCRISIS on Twitter.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How We Do What We Do (In A Very Tiny Nutshell) :-))!

1) We go into the streets “looking” for one to help, one that stands out or we are referred to one by another Friend In Need. They can be someone in the streets and homeless or just even someone who is in a tough situation and is having some sort of trouble and is in need at home.

2) We see if the person wants to talk. If they are not ready, we will come back again another day. If they will talk, we ask if they are needing any help, what they are needing help with, what they may need, if they are hungry and so on. We do a lot of “observing” to see if they are dehydrated from too much alcohol etc and lack of food for instance. We observe their body language and actions. We observe their conversation. We are not here to just hand them something and leave and not come back. We are there to determine if we can give them permanent results. Once we have observed enough, we attempt to advise our “friend In Need if we feel we can be of help to them. We are mainly after permanent results. If they want to live in the streets and are satisfied there we look further and maybe end up coming back to them another day. If they seem dangerously hungry then we will give them a meal or if maybe they are just to depressed and hungry we may take them for a meal. There is a lot of energy that goes into this visit and it must be done with a sense of urgency.

3) If we have determined we can help the friend in need we will ask if they would like to go get a shower. If they do, then we will take them to a truck stop and pay for their shower and maybe a snack, smokes etc. This keeps them comfortable for the night so they feel good the next day and have something to look forward to when we see them again in a few days or sooner if needed.

4) When we see this friend in need again, we ask if they would like a haircut. If so we either take them or make a time to do so for the next day.

5) We ask again what they are needing, wanting to work on, like maybe ID’s, SS card, food stamps etc and determine if we can help them with that and make a time to do so.

6) If they are hungry on this visit we might take them and sit and have a meal somewhere with them. McDonalds, Subway or whatever they feel they could eat or like to eat within reason.

7) From here we see if they are still serious about getting off the streets. If they are this is when we start our more intense one on one daily contact with the friend in need, and when we say daily we mean in the morning, afternoon, evening and middle of the night contact like midnight or 2am if needed and we do not let up until we have gained what we are after for them, which is……

Permanent Results—Self Reliant-UP&OUT of the Chronic Assistance Cycle , including free of us at Straight Ahead Outreach.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Our New Newsletter

Please Click on the link below to view our New Newsletter.


So, YOU Want To Help The Homeless?

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