“Seven out of 10 Americans are one paycheck away from being homeless.” – Pras Michel, American Rapper
Homelessness begins as a location challenge (losing one’s home for any number of reasons). But the loss of a place to live is not the real cause for the homelessness crisis across our country. It’s the mindset formed over time when people lose hope of ever overcoming their circumstances. It also happens when they get caught up in the gaps of a complicated and often struggling community system that falls short of lifting someone out of the cycle of homelessness.
Clarksville Now, a local Clarksville, TN news site, recently featured an article about a homeless man who took a big step to get off the street. Keely Quinlan wrote the article after attending a YAI (You Are Important) Outreach event where he heard Jerry Pace share his story of the many years he spent living on Clarksville’s streets or sleeping in the backseat of his car.
Pace’s story began when untreated substance abuse led to a traumatic divorce that resulted in the loss of his home. That life event became the catalyst for a downward cycle “amplified by mental health issues, criminal history, a broken support system, and substance abuse” – which is often the case for many homeless individuals.
Quinlan’s article showcases the struggle people have to get off the streets, because unless they have access to bathrooms and showers, the “street smell they carry prevents them from being hired to earn enough wages to qualify for another home.” In addition, mental illness in the form of severe depression caused by the loss of a home, can worsen into destructive coping patterns leading to additional mental illness issues – until that person loses him/herself all together into their homeless circumstances.
Jerry Pace’s story is typical for how the community responded to his unhealthy behaviors: they put him in jail for trespassing and public intoxication situations, instead of looking behind the criminal actions to uncover the “why” to create a plan to address the traumatic circumstances that led to his downward spiral.
Much later, the YAI Center became a lifeline for Pace. Over time it helped him get into a recovery program which has begun to transform his life. His story can become the story of homeless people across the world… because you, too, have the power to make a difference in the life of someone who is lost their way, regardless of why it happened.
To read more about Pace’s story in Quinlan’s article, click here.
We, at Sheltering Grace, make a difference every day in the lives of the homeless mothers and babies we serve. Would you consider partnering with us? Please contact us at 678-337-7858 to learn how you can help. Each mother and baby will be truly grateful for your kindness.
Sheltering Grace Ministry, Ltd. is a 501(c)3 Ltd. non-profit ministry. We resolve the initial crisis of homelessness by providing mothers with a safe place to live during pregnancy. We also equip them with the tools they need to improve decision-making, enhance employment options, and increase family income to act responsibly as the head of their household. All of our services develop their self-reliance to progress to permanent independent living. Please join us in renewing and rebuilding the lives of these brave women – #Be1of5000.