Posted by: Lindsey Albertson | February 1, 2009

February Newsletter

The past few years in North Carolina, we have not gotten very much snow at all. The past month in Kentucky has made up for it though!! I absolutely love snow! It has snowed at least once a week for a few weeks but hasn’t stuck to the ground. That is until this week!! We have gotten alot of snow along with some ice. There are power outages everywhere from the ice but I still love the snow! We have been doing a lot of running around in the snow and having snowball fights! We even had a snowball fight with some of the day shelter guests after work one day.

As someone who has a place to go home to and sleep at night, I love
the snow. But for someone with no home to go inside and warm up or dry off from the snow, this weather can be unpleasant. We have been pretty busy the past few weeks with folks coming into Jeff Street to escape the cold. Overnight shelters have been under White Flag, which occurs when the temperature or wind chill is at 35 degrees or lower, or the temperature or heat index is 95 degrees or higher. A white flag flies outside of shelters, which signifies that you may remain inside and they can’t turn anyone away. It does not mean a bed will be available. There is an overload of people who come inside. When shelters run out of beds they pull out mats and when those run out, people have to sleep in chairs.

There are so many things that my eyes have been opened to since coming to work at a homeless shelter. One of these things is the different lifestyle of being poor. Growing up in a middle class home I have never understood or seen a lot of these issues. There are so many things that I have always taken for granted such as: having a car, having money to go out to eat at a nice place when I want, shopping at a mall, getting new clothes when old ones rip or wear out, or buying
something at a coffee shop to have some place to hang out.

I have recently started reading a book by an author that I enjoy. The book is called Letters to Manhattan by Tara Leigh Cobble. It is the sequel to her book Here’s to Hindsight which I have also read. In her books, the author writes about her life and walk with God. She is a great and funny writer. I absolutely loved her last book and was very excited to start reading the newest one. I like her new book, but as I have read I have noticed that something is different now. The author is a white, middle class, musician who lives in New York City. While reading I have begun to think about reading this book if I were in different financial circumstances. The author talks about things like going to coffee shops and having a car like they are the norm. With the individuals and families I have become friends with here in Louisville, they are luxuries. Luxuries that they aren’t able to afford and a lot of times have never even experienced. I have never counted these things as luxuries, but am beginning to view them as such.

Another issue among our friends who are homeless that my teammates and I have talked about is the luxury of recreation. Back in the fall when
it was warmer, we were out at Waterfront Park playing Frisbee and ran
into a few of our friends who were homeless. We asked if they wanted
to join us and they did. Afterwards, they kept talking about how much
fun they had and how they don’t get to do anything like that very often. When you are homeless, your life is more about surviving. Someone in the day shelter once told me that homelessness was a way to survive but no way to live. I agree.

These things, among others have caused me to ask myself: How does the Gospel impact my priorities? How does it affect my view of those who are in great need? And what difference does it make in my understanding of my resources? These are all things that I am experiencing and working through. I encourage you to ask yourself these same questions.
Please continue to pray for the safety of Louisville’s homeless as the winter months are not over yet. Please also pray for the new director of Jeff Street as he is being trained and transitioning in and our previous director is transitioning out and preparing for the next thing that God is calling him to. Thank you for your prayers and support.

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