About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Allentown Homeless Fundraiser - "We Need a Miracle"

Eugene McDuffie with Allentown's homeless
Allentown resident Eugene McDuffie wants to reduce the Queen City's homelessness problem. He'd like to establish a community welcome center for the homeless, but before I tell you about that, let me tell you about him. Unlike most on the "First Lady's Commission to End Chronic Homelessness," he was homeless himself for several years, and knows what it's like. He knows what works and what does not  Let me tell you his story.

McDuffie's Story

I've always heard that being homeless adds years to you life. Eugene McDuffie, who looks a decade younger than his 55 years, must be an exception. His life includes several years on the streets of NYC, where at age 14 he ran away from alcoholic and violent parents. He also dropped out of school and slipped into drug abuse. For several years, he slept on park benches very similar to the one on which I interviewed him at Bucky Boyle Park. If it was cold, he'd climb into a dumpster, hoping he'd wake up before a truck came.

To survive, he ate out of garbage cans. On his 16th birthday, he recalled seeing a man walk by with a hamburger and just toss it into a garbage can. "That man's garbage was my birthday dinner that day," he told me.

During blackouts, he'd slit his wrists. "I just didn't care about life anymore," he admitted. But somebody cared about him. Thanks to Teen Challenge, he turned his life around. After learning how to eat regular food again, he got his GED and also spent several years at a bible institute. He got a college degree in psychology, located to Allentown, and worked at three different jobs to provide for his two daughters. He beamed with pride as he described them.

But something was missing.

Allentown's Homeless: "We Need a Miracle"

Mark Matthews was a shopping mall Santa Claus
In addition to writing his story, Missing Love Child, he's been spending a lot of time dealing with Allentown's gang problem. Kids are getting involved with the Latin Kings, the Bloods or the Crips as early as age 11. He has also been volunteering at the jail, where he has taken a religious message to men and women alike. "Every one of those women told me they are homeless," he reported. "We're paying a lot of money for women to stay in jail only to have them come back again."

According to McDuffie, Allentown has done a good job of making some downtown buildings look better. "But the only people who are going to come to this area are the rich," he noted. He cited his own experience at The Hamilton, where a friend recently treated him to a lunch that cost nearly $20.

He'd like to see Allentown use the same energy for its disadvantaged that has been used for the wealthy. Specifically, he'd like to get a vacant factory building and convert it into a community center that could also provide transitional housing, especially for women.

"We need a miracle," he flatly stated.

His calls to State Representatives Mike Schlossberg and Peter Schweyer have gone unanswered. He hasn't bothered with Fed Ed. "He seems a little busy right now," McDuffie noted.

Government is doing what it does best - ignoring those who lack the means to make campaign contributions.

The Lehigh Conference of Churches and Allentown Rescue Mission have demonstrated pretty clearly that they ignore those they are supposed to help as well. Allentown Rescue Mission has no facilities at all for women, and the Lehigh Conference of Churches buries applicants in paperwork until they just give up.

There has to be a better way.

This is what homeless advocates like Diane Teti and Chris and Amy Cocca have been saying for the past two winters.

Fundraiser on October 17

In order to do anything, they need to form a 501c3. But to do that, they have to raise $400 for the filing fee. To that end, McDuffie has scheduled a banquet to help the homeless on Saturday, October 17, from 1 pm to 5 pm, at the Ramada Inn in Whitehall.

If you'd like to attend, or just send a contribution, you can send a check to Eugene McDuffie, 124 1/2 W. Liberty St, Allentown, PA 18102.

In contrast to the misrepresentations made by Miked Fleck about his transition committees, this is NOT a tax deductible contribution. It will be once enough money is raised to form a 501c3.


Anonymous said...

A welcoming center for Homeless people? Just what this area needs, a red carpet for more of the street people. Don't we have enough already? This is the dumbest idea. How about buss tickets to NY.

Anonymous said...

He shouldn't take it personally,
Schlossberg doesn't answer my calls either.

Anonymous said...

If Schlossberg and Schweyer don't respond folks should remember come election time.
Why did these guys even bother running for office if they don't respond to calls for homelessness?

Anonymous said...

Schlossberg doesn't answer my calls either.

6:09 AM


Michelle Collazo said...

im going to say being homeless i have sat with Mike and Peter and was givibg resources to help my situtation funny is all you got to do is show up to their offices n make apts they do listen n provide the right direction thats all i will say !!!

Anonymous said...

If you don't "Tweet" to the "Twit" you get twat!

Anonymous said...

If you leave a voicemail message to Schlossberg, tell him you want to buy his book and want it autographed, he'll meet you where ever you want. After all, he will write off the miles and probably get a free meal on the taxpayer as well. That should complete his full day of politicing!

Anonymous said...

Michelle you have a great set of sweater meat that is why those clowns met with you

Bernie O'Hare said...

4:42, Why don't you just come out and say you hate poor people? There are places like Allentown, which periodically clean out homeless camps, ostensibly for their own good. Essentially, it criminalizes homelessness. A community center for the homeless should make them feel welcome and give them real help. They already get enough hate, as your comment makes clear.

Anonymous said...

Excellent report ! We all should have learned from this story.

Anonymous said...

Is Mark a former politician?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I deleted an anonymous lie about one of these homeless guys. Some people are just full of hate.

Anonymous said...

People have the nerve to make negative comments about the homeless yet they are in their homes and have no idea what life is like living on streets. Any politician in office is a Public Servant and if a Politician cannot take time to return a phone call then he doe snot need to be elected by the people. Because he does not put the people in this city needs before his own personal agenda or needs! Get out of your Political office and quit!If you are to busy and cannot return phone calls to people that help put you in office!

Anonymous said...

Schlossberg runs unopposed.
The GOP has pulled out of town and headed to the leafy suburbs.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be so sure about that one.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if just sending money to this guy is a good idea. There are no guarantees it will go anywhere but in his pocket. It is not to an existing organization or group, it is money sent directly to him personally. You are endorsing this action by endorsing and publicizing the action.

This sounds a lot like Unity-Pac.

Bernie O'Hare said...

... which you would support.

I am not going to deceive my readers, not does McDuffie want to deceive them. There is no 501c3. This is how it gets started. I'd trust him and know some of the people he has worked with. I would not trust an anonymous coward like you, who should be working on your discovery in the Martin case.

None said...

I think it is totally ignorant to make such dramatic statements as such that no one is doing anything to help the homeless I. Allentown. There are so many organizations, programs and people who are doing a heck of a lot without seeking publicity like Diane Teti. I don't have to tell everyone on my Facebook page everything I help someone who is homeless. I also usually don't distinguish my "homeless" friends from my other friends. There is so much room in the Lehigh county for different social service programs. Why can't we all just do what needs to get done without all the negative back stabbing that seems to be going on????