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“When there is no HOME SWEET HOME”

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John Eyster
March 11, 2013

“When there is no HOME SWEET HOME” was the headline on yesterday’s Gazette which grabbed my attention and then the sub-title pulled me into reading the feature article by NEIL JOHNSON, “Homeless experience open reporter’s eyes, heart.” Did YOU read the feature article? If so, what is YOUR comment? IF NOT, I hope you read it now and then comment.

THANK YOU for your commitment to live as a homeless man for a week so that you could share so directly and meaningfully with us, your readers, about the REAL HOMELESS MAN’s LIFE experience, NEIL! COMMENDATION to Scott Angus, Editor-in-Chief of The Janesville Gazette, for investing in this significant project as part of your occasion stories series, “The Poor Among Us” which reports on homelessness and poverty in Janesville. I am NOW watching for the next installment in your “The Poor Among Us” series.

The quality of this project was enhanced by the extensive and intensive preparation you all gave to it. To be honest, I would encourage anyone who is NOW going to read the article, turn first to page 7A to read the box, “Homelessness Notes.”

KNOWING that information enriched my appreciation for and confidence in Neil’s article. YOUR direct communication and planning with GIFTS was requisite to making the project open and honest.

My wife, Marilyn, and I have been much interested in and supportive of GIFTS since it was organized. I believe that YOUR report will enhance readers’ awareness of and appreciation for GIFTS. If you want to learn more directly about GIFTS, you can use this link to the website, “GIFTS Men’s Shelter” – Serving God and Homeless Men.” The website has numerous links, including: a full description of the mission (“About Us”), “Monthly Newsletters,” the list of “Participating Churches,” “Contact Us,” various newspaper articles, “In The News,” opportunity to support GIFTS, “Make a Donation,” and practical information, “How Do I Become a Guest or a Volunteer?”

With renewed awareness of and appreciation for the ministry of GIFTS, I made a contribution to GIFTS in honor of NEIL JOHNSON as an expression of my GRATITUDE for his sacrifice to GO ON THE STREET as a HOMELESS MAN for a week and write this feature story. THANK YOU, NEIL! YOU too may want to make a contribution to support GIFTS. Hint!

GIFTS has made the CONSCIOUS decision to NOT accept any Government funding.” Contributions are to be sent to: GIFTS, P O Box 788, Janesville, WI 53547-0788. GIFTS is a tax exempt charitable organization in compliance with IRS regulations.

I URGE you to read Neil’s feature article. It is published in yesterday’s (Sunday, March 10, 2013) issue of The Janesville Gazette on front page and p. 7A. I am NOT allowed to give you the link to read it online. IF, however, you are a subscriber to The Janesville Gazette, YOU will be able to access it online as part of your subscription. I assume you already know how to access the Electronic Edition. IF NOT, use this link “Subscriber Services” to get whatever information you need. I read the Electronic edition every single morning 7/7 and then my Print edition.

This feature article by NEIL JOHNSON is OUTstanding because it is OPEN & HONEST! Neil has dramatically share with us his feelings as a homeless man for a week. I note his candid report of “caffeine blues.” I KNOW I would suffer caffeine blues since I am a caffeine addict needed coffee first thing every morning. YOU had my empathy on that one, Neil!

I also know that NOT HAVING WHEELS (sub-heading, “No Wheels”) reflects one of the real demands on homeless men who are working and who want to work. I honestly do NOT know how I would function without my car. The whole feature article is permeated with STARK REMINDERS of what I take for granted day-by-day which would NOT be available to me IF I were a HOMELESS MAN. THANK YOU for reminding and sensitizing me, NEIL!

I think that a VERY SIGNIFICANT MESSAGE in the feature article is that MOST OF THE HOMELESS MEN WORK or WANT TO WORK! NEIL really invested himself to do his job as a Gazette journalist, including traveling to Milton to report on City Council meeting. Very difficult to travel to and from Milton without a car.

The message is meaningfully communicated as NEIL shares his conversations with GIFTS residents. I noted his conversation with Brian, an out-of-work journeyman carpenter who was being paid minimum wage to do a tile job in a house a local Realtor was flipping, who asked NEIL, “You see how desperate these homeless guys are to make a buck?”

I am thankful to NEIL for writing so well about his personal experience as a HOMELESS MAN for a week in Janesville because it truly informed me about the realities of these persons in our community and sensitized me to the NEEDS in our own JANESVILLE community.

COMMENDATION to the Janesville Gazette for its “THE POOR AMONG US” occasional series. Watching for the next installment!

For now, I urge anyone reading my WE THE PEOPLE blog to be sure to read NEIL JOHNSON’s feature in yesterday’s Gazette, “When there is no HOME SWEET HOME” now. I hope you will share YOUR comment on that article. I shall be reading.

Here we go…

Mr. E.



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