Did you ever take it to the street?

     (Emma Lee/WHYY)

    (Emma Lee/WHYY)

    John Watson shares his perspective on one man’s homeless journey.

    Here is John Watson’s commentary:

    Think about this, have you ever been on the street with someone and you had no warm bed to get some needed rest in; no healthy food for you or anyone else; totally homeless? I hope that those of you reading this will all be able to say, “No, not me.”

    Meanwhile, there are many people homeless and starving on the street – every day.

    The News Journal reports that Rev. Fredrick Allen took some time recently to help the homeless. He admitted being nervous and a bit fearful when he walked out of his city home, ready to spend a week on the street to learn more about those he serves.

    After seeing the daily homeless families he asked, “How can I help somebody if I really don’t know their struggle?” So, he began a week-long homeless journey.

    It’s reported that after he was out there a while, he felt less fearful, more at home, so to speak, living with the homeless. He was beginning to better understand their serious condition he says, “It’s a strain out here, I’m physically drained, it beats you up.”

    I can feel it myself, just listening to what Rev. Allen had to go through.

    Pastor Allen didn’t identify himself during his week long experience. He said he now understands what the homeless mean when they talk about always being exhausted because they are always afraid of being robbed or attacked. Most take cat naps, being deprived of a good sleep, which is a part of their life. (My lord, how can anyone live that way and survive?)

    Rev. Allen says he wants to use his ministry and this insight to speak for the voiceless living on the streets.

    The Homeless Planning Council of Delaware point-in-time survey, tells us that Delaware’s homeless problem has remained rather steady, for many years. Less than 1,000 homeless for the last few years, and 950 last year, “were fighting to survive while being homeless.”

    Pastor Allen says, “I decided I wanted to know exactly what they feel like because giving food to someone is just helping them one day.” Going on to say, “We (homeless advocacy) groups see them once a week. We feed them and we think we are doing some good for them. But that’s just us feeling great about helping them. They need more help than that. Some of them want to be here and some of them don’t want to be here. Some of them really need help.”

    You got that right.

    Rev. Allen said during his time on the street, several homeless men tried to help him survive. I won’t go into the details, but they were very kind to him, just like they are to other homeless people on the street. That’s what they do. Rev. Allen said he cried when a homeless man insisted on sharing his only meal with him.

    Since he returned home, Rev. Allen started helping 3 men that he met while on the streets, counseling them on what services could help them get back on their feet. He is helping one man who lost his identification get documents, to get a Social Security card reissued, and one to get a new driver’s license.

    After they have established themselves, Rev. Allen says he wants them to get back into the homeless community and help three more people. He hopes this can become an ongoing cycle.

    He said, “That’s the commitment I’m asking for. I’m not asking them to give me anything. I just want them to get back and give other people hope.”

    All I can say is Rev. Allen is a better man than most of us, including me.


    John Watson is a long time observer of Wilmington and Delaware from his perch as a radio talkshow host. You can write him: JohnWatson1506@comcast.net

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