Those In Need

My son Sasha is homeless.

That’s a difficult thing to say.  I worry about him all the time, and it’s a rare that an hour goes by that I don’t hope he’s okay.  There are reasons he isn’t living with me.  They’re complicated and difficult and terrible.  The situation is the least worst of all choices.

After several weeks of days on the street and nights in a rotation of church basements, Sasha, who is 19, was finally given a bed at the Delonis Shelter in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan.  He’s trying to earn his GED, and he works a few hours a week a food distribution center.  He was mugged once for his driver’s license, but that’s the worst of it.  He’s been very lucky so far.

A lot of other people haven’t been.

Because of Sasha, I’ve learned a lot about Ann Arbor’s homeless situation.  Ann Arbor has a high homeless population, partly because Ann Arbor has, in the past, been kinder to its homeless than surrounding cities like Detroit and Lansing and the wealthy cities in Oakland County, who don’t tolerate homeless people at all.  In fact, police from other towns have been known to put their homeless people on a Greyhound bus to Ann Arbor.  This overtaxes Ann Arbor’s homeless system.

Because the shelters don’t have infinite room, an impromptu campground recently sprang up on wooded state land on the outskirts of Ann Arbor.  A large number of homeless people who couldn’t get into the shelters are living there.  According to Sasha, who is very outgoing and makes friends quickly, these people are homeless for a great variety of reasons.  A great many were laid off from their jobs and lost their houses or apartments. Many are veterans.  Women with children live there, too.

Now, the state has decided these people are a danger. It’s erecting a fence around the land and forcing the people out.  State officials claim that they’re going to find “alternative housing” for the people, but my contacts within the shelter system tell me there isn’t near enough housing to go around.  The Delonis Shelter, where my son is staying, is being flooded with desperate people.

Please help them.  I’m asking on behalf of Sasha and all the other children who have been kicked off the state land.

For the next year, I’m donating all the royalties I get from my ebooks at Book View Cafe and from Amazon to the Delonis Shelter.  Every time you buy one, you’re making a donation.

I’ve made a cash donation as well. Can you join in? Even a few dollars helps. You can donate on-line with a credit or debit card at the shelter’s web site:

Thank you for reading.

–Steven Harper Piziks

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Those In Need — 9 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing that, Steven. I’ve made a donation. And I hope and pray that your son will find his way out of his difficulty. I know what it’s like to be worried sick about your kid.


  2. The homeless situation across the country is an ugly black mark and a shame against this country filled with wealth and material things. There but for the grace of God would have been my son when he was 19. It’s a tough age. My thoughts are with you both.

  3. So many connections here – from donating towels and sweats to the local homeless shelter to supporting members of our Quaker meeting in their advocacy of homeless people’s rights to donating to the Homeless Garden Project to cheering on my daughter’s fiancee and their room mate as they distribute packs of food and toiletries through Random Acts of Kindness. Yet as the economy worsens, more people slip deeper into poverty.