Showing posts from November, 2012

...and they keep on successfully moving forward!

Successful movement keeps happening here at Cornerstone.....
and we are thankful! Very thankful!

It's not just homeless people signing their leases, getting their keys and moving into their own apartments; that's wonderful, but it's way more than just that....

So far, in the month of November....
We're thankful to have been able to help 19 people get their birth certificates and another 20 people get their State IDs. (Why's that important? read this: A Holistic Approach) We're thankful to have been able to assist people with 19 "7 Day" transit cards; (these are people who have got employed this month and need help with transportation until they receive their first paycheck)We're thankful to have been able to help people in different ways move into their new apartments; it could be financially helping them with their security deposit or ComEd bill, or it could be donating a bed or a box of food, or it could be physically helping someone move all their …

The Lingering Burden!

Sometimes... Life hits you exactly in the spot you don't wanna be hit! BUT, it hits you there anyway! AND it hits you hard!
The burden of the streets has been striking me so much recently. It's a deep burden! I'm seeing so much, way too much, pain and devastation rising to the surface. People are desperate; looking for answers and seeking answers. Tears are flowing, anger is brewing and the pain is palpable.
Walt's psychotic midday murder, where the killers still roam free, did everything to increase that burden. It was a senseless brutal killing; for no apparent reason, my friend was gunned down in broad daylight on a crowded street. The police have personally told me, Walt wasn't even the intended target. To phrase it another way, the killers purposely shot the wrong man 8 times; execution style!
Walter had just made it, he had fought and climbed out of the grips of homelessness, people were proud of their "brother"; he'd successfully moved into his own …

Captured: Crying to Be Set Free!

This morning, I attended a great meeting: we were able to hear a presentation and we were given a handout by Cabrini Green Legal Aid: more about CGLA at the end of this post...

I wanted to share some stats and figures from this meeting; as it correlates directly with a post I finished last week:Children of the Incarcerated Masses!My emphasis in both these posts is about how incarceration has a lasting or permanent impact. My emphasis is about how unequal and unjust the system is, mainly capturing those of certain races and those with little or no income. My emphasis is about how incarceration, arrests and convictions affect people well beyond the cold hard cells they were once trapped in; it causes a rise in recidivism, poverty, unemployment and homelessness. My emphasis is plain; Jesus emphasized it, and if we follow his ways and words, it needs to be our imperative that we help set the prisoners free!

CGLA is doing just that; they are helping the poor and disinherited overcome these…

A Veterans Day Reflection.

Happy Veterans Day everybody...

Today I write, reflecting on and remembering the many thousands of homeless veterans living in the USA. It is definitely a subject that saddens and depresses me; making me ask, "how can this rich country have so many veterans who are homeless?" Some statistics say that about a quarter of all homeless people in the US are veterans. That is far too many....

I am not writing this to provoke an argument over the rights and wrongs of current and past wars, armament, money and power. There are tons of opinions and thoughts about all that, and I definitely have my own, but this is about the men and women who, out of good intentions, decided to serve their country and are now suffering on the streets and in shelters. This is about loving our neighbors, this is about loving men and women who have seemingly been ignored and forgotten. This post is simply about putting aside all political agendas, and truly LOVING and CARING for our Homeless Veterans!


Encouraging Constant Movement

Often pictures speak more than words.

These happy faces show the constant movement that's been flowing out of Cornerstone and into their own apartments recently!

Yet, that's not all, because since the beginning of November, there are has been a few more people who have moved forward. They just didn't get or want to be photographed!

It's a reason to celebrate: Families, women and men have successfully transitioned from homelessness to housed.

We'd like to congratulate and acknowledge each and every one of them and may God bless each and every one of them as they begin their new journeys.

Lasting Connections

Just a quick morning reflection:

On Monday, we held a memorial service for Walter. He had been fatally shot the Monday before. It was a beautiful service, and many people came, shed a lot of tears and reflected on his short life. Stories were told, scriptures were read, prayers were prayed, songs were sung and there wasn't a shortage of hugs.

As people shared, a reoccurring theme kept rising to the surface: Family! The Cornerstone family. A family of people brought together, because of a bond brought about by homelessness and poverty.

.... and there is NO mistaking it; this family loves and supports each other, deeply! A group of ostracized people united, clinging to one another through both the grieving and the celebrations.

It's hard to explain all the beauty that rises in our Cornerstone family. It took a horrific murder to remind me, but it's there, every single day! I am able to witness an amazing community of people, struggling together and lifting up the weak. I …

Children of the Incarcerated Masses!

Two groups of preteens gaze up at their teachers. They'd all been asked exactly the same question, but each group responded with answers that were exactly opposite. Both sets of kids live in Chicago, yet they are from contrasting parts of our divided city and attend extremely different schools.     So, this mysterious question; what could it possibly be?   "How many children here, personally know someone who is or has been in prison?" This simple question, (excluding the rich and famous prisoners we see on TV; like Martha Stewart, OJ Simpson and Rod Blagojevich), triggers an avalanche of implications and inconsistencies! In one classroom, every single child personally knows someone who is or has been incarcerated, while across town, in an entirely different classroom, not one single child knows someone who is or has been in prison.   Think about this: Have you ever thought about all the implications of living in a ci…