Tuesday, June 2, 2015
I work for a non-profit in Daytona Beach,FL, that primarily caters to alcoholics and addicts. We house up to 80 clients at full capacity, and as bad as it sounds, it really is a community. Each person is expected to clean up after themself, and help staff keep it as clean as it can be. We, as a staff, are really proud of most everything, especially the building. Built in 1897 by a sea captain, it was a railroad and seafarers hotel for many years. Since then, it has been a flop house, crack house, whore house, and just about every other kind of house known to man. The current management took posession about 20 years ago, and it has been an uphill struggle to get it where it is today. I perform the maintenance on this 118 year old structure, and for all its faults, we're still in pretty good shape. I, myself was heavily involved in drugs in the 1980's, but May 26th was 29 years clean, and although you will never hear me say I am an addict,(I quit 29 yrs ago), I have as many problems as the people we provide oportunities for. People from all walks of life, all occupations and professions, all shapes and colors living under 1 roof. So for me to hear someone say, "It just does'nt work", I beg to differ. We are a shining example of what can be done with a little hard work, from a lot of different people, and we are not the only "sober house" in this area. But I think we are the best most affordable option, if someone really wants to change their life. That's the catch. The first step in the process is the individual's desire to improve their life. It's not an easy path, but the path is there. Along with as much support and assistance as humanly possible. Keep in mind that the homeless population in Daytona is well above the national average, even for some larger cities. Warm weather draws more and more people south in winter, only to find that FL really does'nt have many programs to help the indigent. As we are still considered a homeless shelter, we see and hear from at least 25 people daily needing assistance. That's just over 9000 people yearly, and sometimes it gets disheartening to turn them away. There are fees that a client is responsible for paying, and we have shared rooms and private rooms, 44 in all. Area churches come every night and provide an evening meal, but they can only do so much, as can we. Zero tolerance, random drug tests and breathalyzers, are included in the fees. Responsibility, and accepting why you are where you are is a big deal here. I made my share of stupid decisions, and look at me now. But for so many people, there is nowhere to turn. Why can't we take some of the abondoned buildings, schools, offices, anything, train these people into a workforce, and let them start living? Why do people have to sleep outside, or beg for money or scraps, when we are still the greatest country on earth? Somebody has to explain to me, why we can not do more. If you give a man or woman, the skills to better themselves, the vast majority will. There will always be the freeloaders, and neerdowells, but we should cut them off. If you don't work, you don't eat. That may sound harsh to some of you, but the truth is, in our society, there will never be a balance of classes, because people are inherintely greedy. Let's just do what we're capable of doing, and let the America I grew up in come back. We can be great again, after all, it's why every other nationality wanted to come here to begin with. America, stand up and tell our leaders that enough is enough. We don't really need a revolution to change things, just a clear head and new ideas, without profit being the motivating factor.