“U.S. Army veteran Jim Wolf hasn’t had an ideal life since returning home. He has struggled with poverty, homelessness, and alcoholism for decades, but two months ago he volunteered to undergo a physical transformation for Degage Ministries, a charity that aims to help veterans who have fallen on hard times and transform their lives.”
How many more “Jim Wolf’s” could we save? No doubt in my mind, 10s of 1000s more could be saved, if they were kept in our communities to thrive. And, not wind up in jail, hospital or worse…
Let’s see how Degage Ministries builds community collaborations to save lives. This non-profit business model is paving the way by building a community based partnership to save the lives of millions who suffer on the streets and die young.
We can duplicate this success story all over America. No one needs to reinvent anything. All we need to do, as a community, is love each other enough to care about others in need.
Transforming Lives, Restoring Hope
“Dégagé Ministries offers help and hope to homeless and disadvantaged individuals in our community.”
Dégagé’s goal is to assure that every man and woman we serve, knows that he/she is not alone.
Too many hardships exist in life and none of us are exempt from them.
For those 400-500 individuals servee daily at Dégagé, many of whom are homeless and low-income, the hardships can be overwhelming. Loss of shelter, loss of employment, loss of a loved one, loss of control and loss of opportunity is incalculable.
Most of us have food on the table, a beer or toke, and a TV to watch NFL Monday Night Football. And with due respect, most dont know what Jim Wolf or any of the 1000s of veterans like him go through.
Believe me when I say, “it is inhumane to put humans in jail when they are sick and need from their community.” There is no empathy or compassion to leave your brothers and sisters hanging out on the side street next to Starbucks in Newport, Oregon or anywhere else in America.
The homeless are by and large, good and decent people who care about each other just like the rest of us. They suffer, just like the rest of us with serious physical and behavior health problems.
The homeless live with emotional pain along with other health care issues, that go unattended. These health care problems get far worse when there is no proactive community based services to help them.
It also no surprise to me to have learned while working with my colleagues in Lincoln County and elsewhere, the cost is enormous. Federal, State, County and local municipalities all pay big without community based services.
There is one worse case example I know about awhile back. A homeless man visited the local hospital ER about once a week for emergency care for almost one year. The cost of care was upwards of $1million!
Sadly and tragically, this man was found dead in the parking lot of a local supermarket early one morning. This scenario repeats itself all over America, each and everyday of our lives.
These are the forgotten ones. Your, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, and dear friends are in the mix. These are the ones who are alone. There is no love in this, sadly and tragically.
In my view, it’s inhumane to expect humans to survive on the streets, without a home or food on the table. Our furry friends cannot survive long without food and shelter either.
Imagine what it might be like for you if left homeless tomorrow… Or, How would you feel if your neighbors furry loved one was lost. Imagine, your 6 month old Golden Doodle lost on the streets alone somewhere in the dark…
Degage’s programming is designed to address immediate and long-term needs such as overnight respite for women in crisis, food, referral services and hygiene facilities. And, with these hardships, they lose much more. Many feel unworthy and hopeless. Society has looked down upon them, or they have been rejected after repeatedly trying to move forward on their own…
One local non-profit I have had the privilege to work with over the years is CHANCE, Albany, Oregon. CHANCE serves three counties in Oregon, Linn, Benton, and Lincoln. LBL for short.
For our region, we have built a ‘public private partnership’ that funds community based partners, including law enforcement, county behavioral health and public health, healthcare providers, federal, state, county and local municipalities. Yes, it’s a long list.
www.stepuptogether.org is the business model. Please bookmark as a reference and resource, especially County .gov officials.
All 3000 Counties in America either do the Degage’ and CHANCE models or are ramp-up with smaller steps to get ready for action. This is the future.
That’s why it is critical to transform communities to fit the criteria for funding and sustainability of such an enormous undertaking. Too many communities have old business models that serve as “barriers.” The hard part is breaking down barriers…
“It’s a very tall order,” a colleague told me in 2016. She also said, “many have tried and failed.” “Steve, we can do this, I know! I believed her, and we did, indeed, make it happen. I know this too…
We made it happened because we loved our community and each other. This is who we are, a community that loves and cares for our most vulnerable citizens.
This is who we are!