About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, January 25, 2016

LV Street Medicine: "Sreeting" Homeless In Face of Blizzard

Everyone at Zion had a sandwich for the road when
they returned to the warming center. 
On Saturday, I told you that the Lehigh Conference of Churches "streeted" about 30 human beings who had spent the night at their Martin Luther King Blvd warming station. At the time this occurred, winds were blowing at about 20 mph and there were already about nine inches of snow on the ground. Fortunately, these souls were taken in by the Zion's Liberty Bell UCC Church, where they remained and were fed until it was time to trudge back to the warming station.

Corinne and Brett Feldman are certified physician assistants whose vocation is to provide what they call street medicine for the homeless. They also have a blog called Street Medicine Lehigh Valley, and make some interesting observations about the shut-out, in a post entitled "Whose Job Is It Anyway?"

First, though we all know that the freezing point for water is 32 degrees, but human flesh can freeze at 40. The Code Blue designation used by Lehigh County Emergency Management is set at 32 degrees, and should probably be higher. The LC Emergency Management website fails to list the Code Blue designation, even when the temp is below 32 degrees.

Second, the Lehigh Conference of Churches, which receives public funding and claimed to have plans for these kinds of contingencies, needs to be held accountable. But we are all accountable.
In times of trial when human lives and dignity are on the line it is ALL of our responsibility to care for those in need. If you’ve accepted the public commission to care for the most vulnerable, you can’t abandon that post in the worst of times. At the same time, if you haven’t accepted that post in an official matter you aren’t absolved of your moral responsibility. This weekend in Allentown that is exactly what happened. Although not bound by grants or funding, Zion Church opened their doors to those most in need of sheltering from danger, just as they did in 1777 when they “housed” the Liberty Bell, keeping it safe from the British during the Revolutionary War (www.libertybellchurch.org). Let it be a lesson learned; that true responsibility comes from within.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would like everyone to remember that the Honorable Mayor of Allentown has a personal relationship with Jesus, and the First Lady of Allentown has already addressed the situation of the homeless in Allentown and declared it resolved.

I know you're reading this, Mayor Pawlowski, and I salute you kind sir.
Hold the course, we the people are counting on you.

Anonymous said...

The warp and weave of Allentown has been frayed. It will be a generation or more before lt recovers.'
Mr. Riley, Mr. Butz--- you too Mr. Malcom Gross, your name is forever attached to this sorry, sad, disastrous state of affairs.

Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

The Churches are doing the best they can. How do you expect them to keep up with the demand? So many people today are on the street. Are you trying to make everyone feel guilty about that?
We pay taxes on top of taxes. We give to charity and still you want more. What about the responsibility of the homeless themselves? Howe many accept no responsibility for their own lives? Are those of us who work day in and day out on multiple jobs expected to carry these people forever?
Their numbers grow and grow as living off the producers is easier then working for your self. This is not a heartless statement but one of fact.
You can try and guilt shame working people all you want but if you care so much take a homeless person home with you. Stop trying to shame good people over this.

Anonymous said...

4:07:

Do you know any homeless people? Most of them are on the street because of mental health issues, and would gladly trade places with folks who have their own mental health under enough control to stay housed. It's not about living off of the producers. It's not about working people versus non-working people. Read up, or better yet, get first-hand experience. Your perspective will change.

Anonymous said...

Blah, Blah, Blah.. Give it a rest. You want to be a self-loathing liberal, go ahead. I work hard pay taxes and give at church. If people want to have things given to them, that is their problem. People like yourself are enablers and get played by these people. A few are needy, many are just lazy and irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if these bums had an ounce of ambition and resourcefulness they would have used this act of god as an opportunity and hit the streets looking for sidewalks and driveways to shovel.

Tea Party Foot Solider

Anonymous said...

The homeless are shiftless.
WWJD

Anonymous said...

Your church affiliation will not exempt you from judgement. You, who sit in your arrogance and contempt of your fellow human beings. To tell those such as you to go to Hell would be a waste of time. You are your own Hell.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Pawlowski should have been in a city-owned SUV all day Saturday checking on anyone walking and made certain rides were provided. Where was he? Why wasn't he at city hall with his staff serving coffee and sandwiches? He can't leave soon enough.

Anonymous said...

A hungry stomach is the best motivator in the world

Anonymous said...

The Churches are doing the best they can. How do you expect them to keep up with the demand? So many people today are on the street. Are you trying to make everyone feel guilty about that?

In this particular situation this organization agreed to fulfill a pledge and they took $25,000 for their good deed. No one forced them.

Anonymous said...

Well said Bernie

the other Ron said...

Everybody leaves the overnight warming center at 7:30 a.m. anyway, and everybody there knows which church is serving breakfast (there is 7-day coverage, by volunteers). And, each day (Sat. and Sun.), that church served breakfast AND stayed open for warming.

gruntled said...

I find it fascinating that Ron DelBacco, a whacko right wing Easton conservative, and Marcie Lightwood, a whacko left wing Bethlehem liberal, both work hard to help these people in need.
Any statement trying to inject partisan politics here might be out of place.

alfonso todd said...

Politics and the belief in "non-profits". The term non-profit used to mean community organizations / agencies that put the less fortunate first through programs and initiatives; nowadays the few that are all about salaries and tax write offs are giving those still in the business of helping people a bad name.

I read some of the comments on here and weep for humanity. There used to be a time when we tried to put ourselves "into another's shoes", show empathy, or at least try to halfway give a damn, but I guess those days are gone also...

Alfonso Todd

Anonymous said...

I ask how many people/ agencies/non profits are involved in the homeless industry in Allentown. The homeless seem to be covered 24 hours except for transportation between aid locations. How many homeless are we talking about? Call up Google maps and look at the actual distance from the warming place to the next stop. Where can I get the numbers ? I believe the amount of public and private funds thrown at this problem must be staggering!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Todd.
A few of these comments excuse the walk along Martin Luther King Drive as a short jaunt to the next Starbucks instead of an ice-filled wind swept struggle. No one has to support a nonprofit but a nonprofit that pledges to fulfill a grant's stipulations and fails to do so should apologize and resign.

Anonymous said...

OK Bernie, we need a Pawlowski story today so we can talk about how Chicago Eddy is hawking "Ban the Box" on the "Allentown: City Without Limits" page without the discussion being off topic. I guess he's thinking he doesn't want his rap sheet checked if he's looking for a city job when he's 70 and on parole.

-Jeffrey Anthony

Chris Casey said...

Jesus told his Apostles : "Feed my Sheep."

He did not draw any distinctions between the homeless sheep, the mentally ill sheep, or sheep of different colors. He told them to go forth and tend to all without judgement. Yes, there are always be those who take advantage of charity, but that never excuses a lack of compassion for our fellow men and women, and their personal circumstances are not important. I have more respect for those who do the Lord's work anonymously than those who constantly stand up and say, "Look at me! Look how God fearing I am!" It is been my lifelong experience that those who brag of their so called good works are more interested in promoting themselves than in actually carrying out the work. That some of Allentown's neediest were turned out into the storm when it was at its' worst exposes those Pharisees for what they truly are.

Anonymous said...

What happened to Obama's "rising tide to lift all boats"?

Just askin'.

Anonymous said...

I believe the amount of public and private funds thrown at this problem must be staggering!

I'm confident that the people kicked out into a blizzard could give two shits about whatever amount is being spent on the problem. Have a nice day in la la land.

Anonymous said...

12:07 you don't have a clue. You will never need sunglasses.

Anonymous said...

Like most nonprofits in the LV:

All style.
Zero substance.

If you need a pretty document, good speech, crafty press release or snazzy website, they are on it.

Doing something meaningful? Just nervous looks.

There won't be as much outrage as you think because the same people are all on the same boards at all the same mixers, golf outings etc.

Chris Cocca said...

The Conference is now claiming they didn't stay open because they didn't have volunteers. They REFUSE volunteers! I know many, many people who would have been there with bells on.

But no. The senior-most leadership wants to control everything. Offer a training based on national best practices for sheltering volunteers? No thanks, we'll just take the City's money and do it ourselves and send people into a blizzard and then lie about it later.

My note to senior-most leadership, if senior-most leadership is reading:

I can't believe your leadership is doubling down over what happened on Saturday. The Center did not close because of a lack of volunteers. Your leadership at the highest levels refuses volunteers for this project. Arrangements were not made by your organization for Sunday. The Mayor did that with one of your member churches, and good for him. But be honest. Why does your senior most leadership refuse volunteers? Why does your senior most leadership not find one of the MANY best practice volunteer training programs out there (no need to invent a new wheel) and get ready with volunteers for emergency situations. Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

I'm setting myself a's a non profit,After paying taxes that's what I am.I won't have to pay for police or fire coverage but I'll call when needed! I won,t pay for anything but use it all. 12:46 right on .

Anonymous said...

This Conference .How about the person locking the door behind them. Maybe they could have stayed awhile. What a bunch of soft slime.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the homeless should be directed to the many sidewalks of seniors and the truly disabled in Allentown. They can then be given a shovel to clean the sidewalks. When finished they should be given a hot meal and a cot in a warm building. That is how you change homelessness.

No white liberal guilt here, keep for your self!

Anonymous said...

Hey 309 how dare you suggest that these people should work. But then again just think of all the government workers we can hire to fill out charts, drive them around, supervisors to well of course supervise, employee of the month awards vacation time, prevailing wages etc. We will be able to remove snow from your 20ft. Sidewalk for $753.87. Double time on Sunday's.

Anonymous said...

3:09 - guess what? lots of the region's homeless ARE seniors, disabled, veterans, people struggling with mental health issues, and so on. Many of them fit into more than one of those categories.

they aren't homeless just for the fun of it. there are many chances to volunteer with them, and I hope you will. Sadly, there is no such volunteer option at the shelter in question.

Anonymous said...

What we need is a new WPA program to put these people to work, building dams and roads and fixing federal parks. Instead of privatizing all that work out so some business makes a fortune for shitty work, we can pay wholesale direct and get the same results and solve out homeless problem. Of course the self-hating white guilt liberals will still whine..

By the way many of these "homeless" look like pretty strong and healthy young bucks and does. Enough already. Give them a shovel and they will learn self-respect.

Anonymous said...

8:22 -

I would agree that we need a new WPA.

I would not agree that this is all about self-respect. But let's split the difference.

Anonymous said...

Bernie you've asked us not to use names so won't but today front page Call story about Allentown councilmember that states he won't point names regarding the Warming Hut situation. Well in the workplace we always have our name pointed out if we do wrong. Who is accountable for these 30 people being tossed out in a record blizzard? No one?

Anonymous said...

Day old news so maybe no one will see the following but a very important point:

"Anonymous Chris Cocca said...
The Conference is now claiming they didn't stay open because they didn't have volunteers. They REFUSE volunteers! I know many, many people who would have been there with bells on.

But no. The senior-most leadership wants to control everything. Offer a training based on national best practices for sheltering volunteers? No thanks, we'll just take the City's money and do it ourselves and send people into a blizzard and then lie about it later.

My note to senior-most leadership, if senior-most leadership is reading:

I can't believe your leadership is doubling down over what happened on Saturday. The Center did not close because of a lack of volunteers. Your leadership at the highest levels refuses volunteers for this project. Arrangements were not made by your organization for Sunday. The Mayor did that with one of your member churches, and good for him. But be honest. Why does your senior most leadership refuse volunteers? Why does your senior most leadership not find one of the MANY best practice volunteer training programs out there (no need to invent a new wheel) and get ready with volunteers for emergency situations. Unbelievable."

1:32 PM

Monkey Momma said...

4:07 AM says the "churches are doing the best they can."

Really? Who locked that door behind those people and told them to walk half a mile uphill in an actual blizzard? Who did that? God's servant?

If that's the best the churches can do, they are in the wrong business. (And it is, apparently, a business when $150K is spent on two employees.)

Anonymous said...

Understand that regardless of what has been said in the Morning Call, the Conference of churches did NOT work with Zion's to create the plan for Saturday, or with St. Paul's and Ripple to create the plan for Sunday. Well after people were sent into the blizzard, concerned advocates contacted City Council. Council contacted others at City, and City worked to make sure a third church was also open.

Opening Zion's BEYOND the breakfast hour was a contingency enacted by Zion's because the Conference HAD NO CONTINGENCY.

Volunteers and advocates are REPEATEDLY told by the current Conference regime that they don't know what they're doing when it comes to helping the homeless, and so now suddenly that same regime says Zion's was always the contingency and they're totally cool with that? That's a line of BS from the powers that be, unfortunately.

here's one place you can go to express your displeasure. But you should also contact City Council and express your belief that there needs to be a community advisory committee helping to oversee these shelter operations. The shelter is on City property and operating in part with a grant of $25k from the City. Council is not at fault here, by the way.

https://www.facebook.com/The-Lehigh-Conference-of-Churches-153541371367630/reviews/

also, call the Conference's offices, call their Directors, and encourage people to do the same.

it's going to snow again on Thursday.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie you've asked us not to use names so won't but today front page Call story about Allentown councilmember that states he won't point names regarding the Warming Hut situation. Well in the workplace we always have our name pointed out if we do wrong. Who is accountable for these 30 people being tossed out in a record blizzard? No one?"

I ask you not to use names unless you use your own. The person who is obviously responsible for this decision is Jack Felch, who needs to step down or be replaced by the Board.

Anonymous said...

The people that step down are never punished. They move to another useless position and continue to get money for nothing. When will it stop, my guess is never. Last year this same outfit had an employee steal hundreds of thousands fom these poor people. These poor people must have some income to steal. What the hell is going on?

Anonymous said...

The conference of churches is beyond corrupted. There leaders, including the board are so detached from reality. They do not have the skills to operate a homeless shelter or any other program that deals with people. What they did this weekend was inexcusable and someone needs to be charged with endangering the lives of others. Besides this incident over the weekend someone needs to really investigate their government contracts just like the FBI is with the city of Allentown.

Anonymous said...

Where the hell were Jennings and CACLV during this crisis? They are the "Community Action Committee". More like "Inaction".

Anonymous said...

Again I ask how many homeless are we talking about divided into the salaries / benefits of all the agencies staff, directors etc. Involved in the homeless industry. The numbers are probably high enough to give each homeless person a per diam to cover a nice motel and a few good meals . Bernie I don't expect you to do this work but perhaps somebody does have this information.

Anonymous said...

Let's all stop the politically correct BS, OK? Everyone knows and you do to Bernie that many of these people are just p0lain lazy bums. I can't believe how able bodied some of these people are that ar4e constantly panhandling on Hamilton Street, all year round.

Please stop trying to guilt everyone into giving more and more money to the addiction of lazy!

TF

Bernie O'Hare said...

Your failure to attach your name to your hate says all that need to be said.

Anonymous said...

As someone who works with the homeless population through another organization I can attest that most of the people I work with are homeless because of two reasons: mental health issues and the lack of affordable housing. I can also attest that I do what I do because I feel it is our duty as human beings to help the less fortunate members of society. I make less than half the salary of a teacher and because of the low pay there is a lack of qualified and educated people who are willing to work within this population. The Lehigh Valley has a serious problem that needs to be immediately addressed by the local mayors, city council members, social workers, and community members and unless something is done it is just going to get worse.