Introduction

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Introduction

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 have started to write an account of their daily lives. I intend to turn this into a book and have it published. That is my goal.

I am writing articles and biographies of Joy and other street people. Identities and locations have been changed to protect the usual suspects. All profits will be used to support the Ottawa Innercity Missions 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 at: https://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPages/GivingPage.aspx?gpID=36449

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Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi.

Comments
  1. Now, this is a noble and noteworthy reason to blog. Kudos to you Dennis. And you are using one of my favorite word press themes. Best of luck to you with the book.

    • Hi Eve, thanks for your kind words. I love your blog about dreams. I believe that dreams open us to another dimension where we are in cntact with a universal mind. Many inventors have used dreams as a tool to solve problems. ~ Dennis

  2. temikelani says:

    An interesting goal. In my story blog, I am about to start writing a series about killings etc. The aim is to write like I was there and I knew each person killed and could see how they died, like I’m death…..like the book thief. Maybe send a message along the way.

    So I’d love to see more. Good luck.

  3. Alex says:

    Thank you for continuing to read my work you’re one of the first hours appreciate your presence and support.
    Generally I communicate on an iPhone since there’s no Internet at my house.
    I expanded your face today to full width of my screen so I could see your face more clearly. My heart tells me that we have something in common; that our laughter and tears, both wholehearted
    Feel the world quite deeply both its joys and it’s tragedy.
    May this find you well,
    Alex

  4. Thank you for stopping by my blog and introducing me to this blog! I guess you have more than one! :-) What important writing here — thank you for your contribution! Thanks for the follow and I look forward to receiving your posts. I am happy to find another kindred spirit :-)

    • Hi Kelly, thanks for your kind words and for introducing me to The Charter of Compassion. I agree compassion “is the one thing that will save us as a global community and that without it we will not survive as a species.” ~ Dennis

  5. The title of your blog caught my attention because I not only was homeless for many years, but I’ve always had a “homeless complex” which means I never have felt that I belonged anywhere. I know there are many people who can identify with that feeling, and need people like you to be their voice.

    Thank you for your work here. I will be back to visit from time to time.

    Peace & Grace,
    Olive Twist

    • Hi Sister Olive, thanks for your encouragement and support. I also have a “homeless complex” or abandonment issues from childhood. I have just downloaded your book “This World is Not My Home: A Spiritual Journey”. I can’t wait to start reading it. ~ Dennis

  6. Michelle says:

    Thanks for the follow. Best of luck in your mission.

  7. Kate Rauner says:

    I have a friend whose father-in-law lives on the streets of a large city. She says, friends and relatives chide her family about “how can you let him live like that.” But it is his choice and he refuses offers to live with anyone else. It is not a simple issue. Good luck with your writing.

    • Hi Kate, I agree, people on the streets make their own choices. We must respect that. These people are all individuals with different needs and different goals. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for homelessness. They all deserve our love and compassion. ~ Dennis

  8. Mari says:

    Thank you for following my blog. Reading this, is confirmation for me of just how true it is that crossing paths with those we do, is always for a reason. I am moved by your intention of giving the homeless a voice and taking the time to write their stories. I read a book not long ago that has totally changed the way in which I view helping the destitute and made me realize that it isn’t only about money. You would probably enjoy reading it too. The book is titled Same Kind of Different as Me. It is in part written by a homeless man and the other part is written by a millionaire who befriended him. It is among some of the best books I’ve read.

    • Hi Mari, I too agree that we are guided to meeting with those people who are meant to help us in life. Coincidentally, or not, the book you mentioned is on my Kindle. I haven’t read it yet, but based on your recommendation I will start it immediately.

      I have found your posts to be very inspiring. Thank you, you have touched my heart. ~ Dennis

  9. This is incredible! I cannot wait to see more of your blog, you have a heart of gold and that’s quite admirable ^_^.

    • Thank you so much. I enjoy your blog especially your post “READING UPDATE: MUTUAL AID”. It illustrates a principle that we need to see more of in order to survive as a species. ~ Dennis

  10. philip_wikel says:

    You might like this: The Jungle: http://wp.me/pRJmb-g2

  11. anchorRock4 says:

    I know first hand that one of the most fulfilling things in life is to give to someone from whom you expect nothing (whether it is time or money or love). It actually has benefited me countless times, in a way. A kind of healing takes place within me. Thank you so much for being you.

  12. Hardik says:

    Thanks for the follow and the like. Keep up the inspiring work.

  13. EvolutionMan says:

    I wanted to stop by after having read some of your blog entries. I live in Chicago and I am torn with so many pan-handlers and trying to do the right thing. Sometimes I give change or left overs but I always wish I could change their lives in some positive way. You are so correct when you say it could be any of us. I think of the proverb: you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day but if you teach a man how to fish, you feed him for a life time. Or maybe they just lost there fishing pole and they just need help until they find it.

    • I agree, some of my street friends have degrees in agriculture, have been competitive boxers, commercial fishermen, war veterans. They need help to get their lives back on track. They need kindness, encouragement and affirmation that they are worthy members of society. ~ Dennis

  14. Thanks for finding me Dennis! I’m glad you’re here!

  15. ncduhalde says:

    God bless you! Good to meet you, and thank you for following!
    Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ – Matt 25:40

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I enjoy reading your blog, especially your post, “The Question That Changed My Life Forever”. I will return to this often for inspiration. ~ Dennis

  16. Hi, thanks so much for following my blog. I am going through some of your posts and feeling a human connect with what you have written. How we take life for granted, giving importance to trivial things. Well this is real life. Unless you face it, you live in your bubble.
    Please do keep writing!
    Best, Ruchika

    • Hi Ruchika, thanks for your kind words. I enjoy your blog, especially your poem “My Autumn Song”. It is so refreshing after the cold winter we have had in Canada. ~ Dennis

      • :) Here in Delhi it is the onset of summers. The poem took me back to the beautiful Autumn.
        I am so glad to know that you enjoy my blog. It is certainly good to connect with you. Best, Ruchika

  17. Hi, Dennis . Thanks for following my blog and, by so doing, introducing me to yours. I commend you on the premis of your blog and book…a very worthwhile work! I look forward to seeing more!

    • I am honored and humbled by your words of praise. I have just downloaded your blli, “Life Is Full of Sweet Spots : An Exploration of Joy”. I can’t wait to start reading. ~ Dennis

  18. Wow! 3,362 followers! Wonderful!

    • I am blessed more and more each day. I enjoy your blog especially the following: “our soul and pleads with us to help bring others into this light; allowing them to know they are loved, they are important, they are special, and that we all have a beautiful purpose of being here on this earth.” This is how I try to be with the homeless. ~ Dennis

  19. Terese says:

    I admire your heart for the homeless.
    Thank you for stopping by to read and follow my blog. I look forward to reading yours as well!

    • Hi Terese, thanks for your kind words. I enjoy reading your blog especially your post “Teaching God’s Word One Verse At A Time Teaching God’s Word One Verse At A Time” and the quote:

      “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,if you love one another.” John 13: 34-35.

      ~ Dennis

  20. stacilys says:

    Can I just say, AWESOME! Writing is a relatively new thing for me. Writing articles and poetry that is. I have written songs for quite some time and one of the songs I’ve written, yet not published yet, is about the realities of certain girls/women. One being a poor 10 year old girl in north-east Brazil that was selling her body for a measly piece of bread for her family. Another is an old woman, without shoes, also in north-east Brazil, sitting on a street corner panning for change. And one other girl. A regular teenage middle-class girl. Why her? Because she also is poor. Poor in spirit.
    Good on you Dennis. I want to know when the book comes out.
    =)

    • Hi stacilys, thanks for your kind words. The women you mentioned have similarities to the homeless women I talk to every day. Their countries of residence are different, but their problems are the same — hunger. I enjoy your blog especially the way you describe yourself: “Just a simple girl that is passionate about being relevant and making a difference in this world.”

      My books (three) are with the publisher now and should be available in a month or so. They will be available in both print and digital versions. ~ Dennis

  21. You have some of the most inspiring works I have ever read! Thank you so much for following me; had you not done so, I may not have found you!!! :)
    Namaste! -Sarah

    • I am honored and humbled by your words of praise. I loved your post “The Significance of Insignificance”. I have always wanted to see the the General Sherman Tree, the largest living tree on Earth. It must, indeed, have been a humbling experience. Namaste ~ Dennis

  22. onebumps says:

    Thanks for following.

  23. Thank you for liking my pages on my blog Move Toward Freedom Dennis!
    Love & Light, Peace & Harmony, All Ways, Always :)

  24. Rich Green says:

    Thanks for liking some posts on my photography blog. Best to you.

  25. Capt Jill says:

    Hi Dennis,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m glad you liked it.
    I admire your willingness to take on such a project. Most people don’t care enough to do anything. I hope you’re able to make a huge difference in the world with your attention.

  26. This is a very worthwhile blog and makes me feel quite humble. I will follow your blog to learn more about the homeless.

    • Thank you very much Carole. I feel humble when I sit with my homeless friends. Their problems, like having something to eat, are monumental compared to mine. This book has gone to the publisher and I’m waiting to learn the release date. I have just downloaded your book “Tissue of Lies”. It sounds fascinating. ~ Dennis

      • Thank you for downloading my debut book. I wish you all the best for your book and I’ll certainly watch out for it. Will it be a physical book or an e-book?

  27. ashawilliams says:

    Thank you for being an inspiration. Thank you also for the follow.

  28. kennymack2 says:

    That is funny. My first smile of the day.

  29. dreamkey says:

    Thank you for stopping by again my friend, always glad to see one such as yourself doing so much to call attention to this plight. It is my wish everyone would try harder to understand we should to be good to each other, instead of looking down the nose at the suffering of others less fortunate. Peace!!

  30. breakdownchick says:

    Such a beautiful thing to do.

  31. pndrgn99 says:

    Hi Dennis, thank you for dropping by again and may the warm spring air and brightening light warm you and the hearts and bodies of those with who you share your love.

  32. Hello fellow blogger. This is a great cause. Just remember that it is important to give credits to the right person who wrote the words…be the change you wish to see in the world….Mahatma Gandhi . Live Love Be Enlightened…

    • Hi Helene, I do not wish to attribute another’s words to myself. Mahatma Gandhi has been my hero since I was a child. I would have attributed those words to him but for the following quote I found in the New York Times, “there is no reliable documentary evidence for the quotation. The closest verifiable remark we have from Gandhi is this: ‘If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.’ ” This is from the article Falser Words Were Never Spoken By BRIAN MORTON; Published: August 29, 2011

      In sentiment the words are Gandhi’s and I will attribute them accordingly. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. ~ Dennis

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