How I got involved in helping the Homeless in Prince William County, Virginia

William Bill GoldenI come to learn about the homeless in a unique way.

Sure, I’ve seen the blue tents and some homeless standing on street corners. Yet, it was not that long ago that I went for medical treatment every day for seven weeks. Each day at 9AM there was the same person on the same street corner with a sign that said: ‘Just lost my job. I have two young kids. Please help!’ Sure. OK. I have also been approached a number of times by another person in the same parking lot over a three year period that zooms in on people just getting out of their car. Her story: ‘I forgot my purse and $5 will help get me enough gas to safely get home.’ Sure. OK. You have a great day until you corner me in the parking lot again!

It can be easy to write some folks off as scammers.

Back in October 2014, I was at a committee meeting for a local civic association. They are all good people. They want to help. They want a better community. The topic of homelessness came up and how that would be a good topic for a community information and education panel. Truthfully: I was indifferent. However, it bothered me greatly that the discussion quickly turned into almost an attack on the homeless and somewhat on the person (strong disparagement rather than an attack) that proposed the topic for us to focus on.

As the committee chair, that set my hair on fire. Admittedly there did not seem to be much enthusiasm for the topic from the committee, and my own experiences had jaded me. However, every idea needs examination when the proposer went to the effort to put together pages of supporting data.

If only to determine the viability of the idea of homelessness as an area of concern in our community I agreed to personally assist the topic proposer in learning more about the topic and to personally investigate.

One other committee member challenged me to do more than just to learn more. Go meet with homeless groups and go meet the homeless. So in early December, just after Thanksgiving I did. I got out and started meeting the homeless in person. It has been an education. I have learned that ‘I just lost my job’ and ‘I forgot my purse’ are anomalies. Our community is full of people in real need. Hundreds. The official count is almost 500. The real number is undoubtedly higher.

After failing to get my civic association to do more than to just talk about it, or to show much interest in wanting to learn more, I made the decision to start PWCHomeless.com. My goal is simple: enable those that are trying to help those less fortunate to be more successful.

The homeless are not out there scamming and mooching their way through life. Most have some major challenges and most face it humbly without seeking handouts of any kind. In fact, one of the things that I discovered is that an amazing number of homeless may live in tents on whatever piece of land they can squat upon … but they also have jobs. Those jobs just do not support them well enough to live in the housing that is available to them.

I am not an activist, at least not in the traditional sense. There is nothing specific that I am seeking to change.

I am not an advocate. I am not asking government for anything, other than maybe some creative alternatives to services that it provides to other citizens.

I am continuing to learn and in the process I have discovered members of my community exist in their daily lives at great risk. Hopefully, PWCHomeless.com can connect those with need with those that can help.

Bill Golden
aka Bill4DogCatcher.com


Got news about helping those less well off? Send to Bill@Bill4DogCatcher.com

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News and Notes from Around the World

#RELIGION / Why #Iceland Is Building a Temple to Its Pagan Gods  … The God of Thunder is making a triumphant return to Iceland. After 1,000 years without a temple of worship to the Norse gods, Iceland is resurrecting its pagan roots. A collective of followers called Ásatrúarfélagið has started construction on the shrine to Thor, Odin and Frigg, that will overlook the capital city of Reykjavik—for the first time since the Viking religion was superseded by Christianity. It is now the second largest religious group in Iceland.

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USA News Snippets and Factoids

Got something interesting that doesn’t require wearing a tin foil hat or is a conspiracy theory? Send to Bill@Bill4DogCatcher.com or visit me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bill4DogCatcher or on Twitter: @Bill4DogCatcher

#SKILLS #EDUCATION / U.S. millennials post ‘abysmal’ scores in tech skills test, lag behind foreign peers … In math, Americans ranked last. U.S. millennials performed horribly. That might even be an understatement, given the extent of the American shortcomings. No matter how you sliced the data – by class, by race, by education – young Americans were laggards compared to their international peers. In every subject. Even U.S. advanced degree millenials with master’s degrees and doctorates did better than their peers in only three countries, Ireland, Poland and Spain.

#DRONES #POLICE #PRIVACY / Few Privacy Limitations Exist on How Police Use Drones  … Police departments across the country are asking for and getting federal approval to use drones for law enforcement. Most departments use them for missions like search-and-rescue or for photographing a crime scene or an accident site. However, only 14 states that have passed privacy legislation limiting how police can use drones. … Drone UAV Jobs

#JOBS / Ten Best Metro Areas for #STEM Jobs … it’s a great time to be a tech worker, as STEM professions are expected to expand 1.7 times faster than non-STEM occupations between 2008 and 2018. From a compensation standpoint, these careers present great appeal: The average annual wage for all STEM positions is $79,640, well above the national average wage for all jobs of $46,440. … INTERN jobs

#EDUCATION #RACE Black Students at Top #Colleges / Exceptions, Not the Rule  … Few Blacks Students Attend America’s Top Colleges, and It’s Not Getting Better. Black students make up just 4% of undergraduate enrollees in the top decile of the nation’s four-year colleges, ranked by mid-career alumni earning figures. By contrast, 26% of students in the bottom rank of colleges are black.

#CYBERSECURITY #PRIVACY 80 Million Anthem Insurance Customers Hacked … Anthem Insurance, formerly known as ‘Blue Cross, Blue Shield’ has been hacked and much of your medical and personal info is included. … We live a world where moving data is dangerous. Storing data is tricky. Protecting it is darned near too big a challenge. // Cybersecurity Jobs

#VOTING #CULTURE #POLITICS … Can North America can be broken neatly into 11 separate nation-states, where dominant cultures explain our voting behaviors and attitudes toward everything from social issues to the role of government? A Tufts University professor outlines his view of the 11 American nations as reflected in many different types of maps — including maps showing the distribution of linguistic dialects, the spread of cultural artifacts, the prevalence of different religious denominations, and the county-by-county breakdown of voting in virtually every hotly contested presidential race in our history.

North America as 11 different cultural nations

North America as 11 different cultural nations
Map is fromTufts Magazine

#PRIVACY #TERRORISM / #Government Privacy Board Tells Obama: Shut Down #NSA Mass Spying Now … The bipartisan Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board issued a Jan 29th progress report charting the administration’s efforts to comply with recommendations it made exactly a year ago to overhaul the NSA’s surveillance apparatus. That stern review last January also deemed the bulk collection of U.S. call data illegal and ineffective at countering terrorist plots— conclusions that prompted the board to urge its dissolution.

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Factoids impacting Prince William County, Virginia

Got some interesting PWC or Virginia stories? Send to Bill@Bill4DogCatcher.com @Bill4DogCatcher

#JOBS #PWC / County facilities bring science and tech jobs … the article says “The Prince William County Department of Economic Development has seen an uptick in capital investment, which will bring $513 million dollars and hundreds of jobs to the county.” … Lucy, explain to me where the jobs are that go with that $513. The article doesn’t. The math doesn’t work out.

#LIQUOR #BOOZE / Why #Virginia Lawmakers Like the State’s Liquor Monopoly … in the most recent fiscal year, the ABC Board brought in $140 million in profit and $250 million in taxes for the state.

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Virginia Factoids and News

Got some interesting Virginia stories? Send to Bill@Bill4DogCatcher.com @Bill4DogCatcher

#LINGAMFELTER #CONSTITUTION / #Virginia House, Senate delay votes on a U.S. convention of states championed by Del Scott Lingamfelter http://ow.ly/IyIEG @PWCounty … The chances of Virginia joining the three states that have urged Congress to call for a convention of states appear to be decreasing rapidly … for the third consecutive time, Del. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William County, asked the House of Delegates Wednesday to put off consideration of his resolution that would urge Congress to call for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution.

#VIRGINIA #PRIVACY ‘Sneak and peek’ bill rolls quietly through #Richmond General Assembly  …  Virginia lawmakers want to give local and state authorities the same sweeping search-and-seizure powers used by the FBI and other federal agencies under the Patriot Act. Senate Bill 919, by state Sen. Jennifer Wexton, D-Leesburg, passed 39-1 last month. A similar measure, House Bill 1946 by Delegate Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, awaits action. Bypassing the regular search warrant process, law-enforcement agencies could rifle through financial transactions, phone logs, computer records and other personal data without obtaining a judge’s approval.

#LIQUOR #BOOZE / Why #Virginia Lawmakers Like the State’s Liquor Monopoly … in the most recent fiscal year, the ABC Board brought in $140 million in profit and $250 million in taxes for the state.

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Children receiving food stamps has doubled since 2007 per U.S. Census Bureau

All info on this page comes from the Census report cited below.

The rate of children living with married parents who receive food stamps has doubled since 2007. In 2014, an estimated 16 million children, or about one in five, received food stamp assistance compared with the roughly 9 million children, or one in eight, that received this form of assistance prior to the recession.

Other highlights about the 73.7 million children under 18 in the United States:

  • 10 percent live with a grandparent (7.4 million).
  • 79 percent live with at least one sibling (58.5 million).
  • 15 percent have a stay-at-home mother (10.8 million), and 0.6 percent have a stay-at-home father (420,000).
  • 38 percent have at least one foreign-born parent (28.3 million).
  • The share of children who live with one parent only has tripled since 1960, from about 9 percent to 27 percent.

These statistics come from the 2014 Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement, which has collected statistics on families and living arrangements for more than 60 years.

Read the full report from the U.S. Census Bureau 

Children parental status

 

Children and Foodstamps

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Mark Twain – Travel is good for what prejudices you

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
— Mark Twain

Some would say that all of the above still pervades our world. Yes, but things are ever so much better than the good ol’days.

Mark Twain

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The Interview, a Christmas Day Viewing

Never in my 58 years have I wandered out on Christmas day to go to a movie.

Bill Golden - The Interview

This year I decided to put on my Red, White and Blue suspenders and go out to support independent theater owners that took the risk of showing the movie called ‘The Interview‘, which has earned the ire of North Korea, a hacking group called the Guardians of Freedom, and from which corporate America ran away from as quickly as possible.

I chose to view this movie based simply upon the principle of embracing free speech … and poking back at those who would dictate to us what we should/should not see, read, think or be exposed to.

Our local independent theater, the Manassas Four which is owned and operated by Bunny Khorana, fancied itself up for the film’s Christmas debut.

Manassas Four Theater

And yes, people showed up. So many people showed up to see the movie that they moved its showing to the largest of the four theaters in the complex.

Manassas Four - The Interview Crowd

America came out to see this movie. The young, the old, and those of every hue … plus there seemed to be a healthy number of Koreans in the audience.

The Review 

Quick Review: Oy vey! Rude, crude, lewd and embarrassingly very funny.

The audience laughed … they/we laughed a lot. I noticed that women’s voices were often the loudest and most often to be heard laughing. Two of the film’s main characters were women and both used their bodies as weapons … on the soft minds of men and male weaknesses (which are legion!). Sexual innuendo on the level of young males overdosed on testosterone trying to gross each out was woven into every major scene of the movie … and there was a strong gay humor streak as well.

No one escaped insult or stereotyping. Yet I cannot help but believe that the audience walked away having laughed at itself.

We laughed not only at the fun poked at Kim — but NEVER was there a moment when the laughs were at the expense of Koreans or Asians — we also laughed at America. American media and corporate values were just as much poked and embraced for every laugh and gagline imaginable.

‘F’ Bombs: this movie was a continuous carpetbombing of that effing word.

At moments I felt embarrassed to have laughed so loud and so often because … this film is so rude, crude and lewd in a mischievous foul-mouthed American juvenile kind of way. I admit it: the laughing felt good … and I should have taken a rosary with me to keep count and to ask forgiveness for each smile that crossed my mind.

Supposedly this movie was ‘low budget’ but the videography and the acting and the scenes were all very well done. There was no cheese anywhere … except in the low brow humor.

God bless America and fresh popcorn. Go see the movie! Do it because we’re Americans and no one tells us what to do … except our moms … and that doesn’t always work out so well either.

So was the movie worth it? Was it worth the money that I spent?

On the way home I stopped off to get some milk for my coffee. Prominently displayed were some suggested unique Christmas gifts for those in search of something … anything … for those desperate … to spend some money on anything just so they could show that they remembered you … or whatever. If you would buy a Chia Willie then you need to get your willie to the theater and show that you really believe in America and free speech.

Chia Willie

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The Rebel Jesus – Christmas, kindness and … oh yes, the Sermon on the Mount. Maybe.

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgement
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There’s a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

+++++++++++++

Full lyrics:

All the streets are filled with laughter and ligh
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
While the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call him by ‘the Prince of Peace’
And they call him by ‘the Savior’
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgement
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There’s a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

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Brentsville – Early Voting through December 20th / Read Candidate Positions on Issues

Election: December 23rd

Early Voting: through Saturday, December 20th
Brentsville-early-voter-registration snippet

The three candidates in the race are: Jeanine Lawson-R, Scott Jacobs-I, and Eric Young-D. The three have given statements outlining their positions on land use to Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth (PWCBG).

Lawsonhttp://pwcbg.org/LawsonStatement2PWCBG.html
Jacobshttp://pwcbg.org/JacobsStatement2PWCBG.html
Younghttp://pwcbg.org/YoungStatement2PWCBG.html
or
Supervisor Positionshttp://pwcbg.org/SupervisorPositions.html

You may be able to vote early if this describes you:

  • You commute and work long hours
  • You are a student or spouse of a student attnding school outside Prince William County
  • You are traveling outside the County for business or personal reasons
  • You have an illness or disability
  • You are a first responder
  • You are a military member or spouse of a military member

Brentsville Early Voter Registration Flyer for you to share and to distribute 

A thank you goes to Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth (PWCBG) for providing this information.

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