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Originally posted on readers+writers journal:

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Telling The Stories of Those Too Often Ignored

 

Throughout the past four years I have met many people, now friends, who for various reasons are, or were, homeless.

Antonio, slept on a park bench and was beaten, had his teeth kicked out, for no other reason than his choice to sleep outdoors. He is a small, gentle man who has a phobia about enclosed spaces.

Craig, slept on the sidewalk in the freezing cold. I saw him every morning,  was never sure if, when I lifted the corner of his sleeping bag, I would find him dead or alive. Sometimes, he confided, he would have preferred never to awake.

Joy,  fell on hard times. She slept behind a dumpster in back of Starbucks. I saw her with blackened eyes, bruised legs, cracked ribs, cut and swollen lips. I usually see her sitting on the sidewalk ‘panning’ for change.

I can’t do much for these people except to show them love, compassion, an ear to listen, perhaps a breakfast sandwich and a coffee. I want to do more. To know them is to love them. What was seen cannot be unseen.

I am  writing an account of their daily lives. Identities and locations have been changed to protect the usual suspects. My book, Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People, is published by Karenzo Media,  http://www.karenzomedia.net/index.html.  I thank publisher, Karen Silvestri for helping to realize my dream. Release date was June 4, 2014.  All profits will be used to support those forced onto the streets and the Ottawa Innercity Ministries, Street Outreach Program.

Purpose: OIM’s Street Outreach teams come to walk alongside the poor and homeless in the downtown core. Volunteer teams provide relief provisions, pastoral care, crisis intervention and referrals. Street Outreach is the main component of OIM’s work. Through Street Outreach our trained volunteers meet men and women living on the street, create trusting relationships, and can work to filling both physical and personal needs. Last year (2012) OIM connected with 7,672 individuals on the street in downtown Ottawa, 2,735 of whom were youth.

The Red Vests If you see two or more people walking down the street wearing a bright red vest with the OIM logo on it then you have run into one of our mobile outreach teams! OIM’s Street Outreach volunteers are out meeting with people and handing out snacks and toiletries six days a week. We have teams on the street Monday to Thursday nights (7pm – 9pm), including late Wednesday (9pm-Midnight). Additional teams are out during the day on Wednesdays & Saturdays (10am-1pm) and Thursdays & Fridays (1-3pm).

 

You may donate Directly to Ottawa Innercity Ministries by clicking on the following link:  

 

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Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi.


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Comments
  1. sfhopkins says:

    Dennis, You’ll find my review on Amazon’s UK site (I’m Canadian and live in the UAE but I buy Kindle books with my UK bank account debit card; I have an apartment in London but no home in Canada). I’ve also posted on my blog http://www.sfhopkins.com and my Facebook account and Mandrill Press has tweeted it for me. I hope the book soars in the charts. x Suzie

    Like

    • Hi Suzi, thanks so much for the review. As an author yourself you know how much this means to me. I am honored and humbled that you wrote such glowing words about Gotta Find a Home.x Dennis

      Like

  2. Astro Adam says:

    Your book sounds great. I bet it’s a good read for those who volunteer to help the homeless and for those who want to start helping.

    Like

  3. freulernino says:

    Hi Dennis, thanks a lot for following my blog. I’ve just seen yours and I’m glad to have found someone who is willing and able to report, demonstrate and give a voice to the daily struggle of the destitute and downtrodden. Great work, and serious respect for your book!

    Like

  4. aelmorgan says:

    I posted this blog to my facebook page. Thank you for finding a way to make a difference.

    Like

  5. You are an inspiring individual … Keep up the awareness. I don ‘to know is you are aware that my blog has a new address https://lifeloveandothercatadtrophes.wordpress.com. I would love you to joking me Theresa I think you already follow the previous blog :-)

    Like

  6. Brandon R. says:

    I like your blog’s facelift, it’s befitting of the content. I enjoy you giving a voice to the voiceless. My interactions with the homeless have been positive, although one gentleman in particular, being one I’ve seen on countless occasions, denied my attempt at cordiality. I can’t blame him though, if I was in his position I would be suspicious of my motives too.

    Like

    • Hi Brandon, homeless people are often suspicious, sometimes paranoid. I’ve experienced what you describe on many occasions. One man I mistook for being homeless, but he was just waiting for a ride. Another hadn’t seen me before and was suspicious of my motives. Another just didn’t like me. Another, who I’d known for years, went into a fit, and berated me because he wanted money for beer, not the meal card I offered. They’re the same as us, they just aren’t coming from the same place. ~ Dennis

      Like

      • Brandon R. says:

        I agree with your last sentence, shelter being the difference. If I were homeless, I would be suspicious too. I’ve heard or read about incidents of homeless people being beaten to death, when they were just trying to get some sleep. One that stands out in my mind, although finite details escape me, what I can remember was that a few military students beat to death a homeless guy after a night out. Canada’s finest, protecting us from the tyranny of homeless. I’m pretty sure it happened in Toronto too, sometime in the winter. I’m glad you’ve found repurposing for what society has discreetly discarded.

        Like

  7. P.S – Dennis, Do you have some place or online site where you show more of your artwork?
    I’d like to see more of your drawings and paintings.
    Susan

    Like

  8. pndrgn99 says:

    Thank you Dennis for dropping by to read my work again. I have watched your growth and progress giving help to those who need it on the street over the past several years and am unsurprised by, and immensely gratified at, your success.

    Alex

    Like

  9. Marie Abanga says:

    Dennis, Thanks once more for writing that book. if you had time only to acknowledge my awarding you this: http://marieabanga.com/2014/07/11/one-lovely-blog-award/

    Like

  10. Wonderful blog Dennis! I have shared your work on Twitter and Facebook.

    Like

  11. I just downloaded the Kindle edition, Dennis. All the best with the book! (It sounds a bit like my book on street work, http://www.amazon.com/My-Address-River-Belong-Closer/dp/1450566367/ref=la_B002BMBU36_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405913477&sr=1-9).

    Like

  12. pndrgn99 says:

    Thank you again Dennis.
    Alexander

    Like

  13. ~ Sadie ~ says:

    I have nominated you for the “One Lovely Blog Award” – please see the link for details.

    http://justsomethingiwasthinkingabout.com/2014/07/30/one-lovely-blog/

    I think you sharing stories of people who are homeless is so important!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m new to this whole blog thing. Please check out mine and give me your feedback…

    http://dhericscorner.wordpress.com//.

    Like

  15. Saw this video too and wanted to send to you. http://www.lifebuzz.com/rethink/

    Like

  16. I had to refollow you again! WordPress keeps doing that to me, but no worries. :)

    Like

  17. Eliza says:

    Hi Dennis, I always love reading your blog. One of the great things it has taught me is the importance of listening, to everyone. I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Award blog http://elizaworner.com/2014/08/21/very-inspiring-blogger-award/ because you have inspired me to keep my ears (and heart) open. Thanks.

    Like

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