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12.31.08

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Annual letter from the streets

I am one of few voices of the homeless in Marin County. Most of the needs of the poor and homeless in Marin go unnoticed by society and by the churches. Most of the churches have turned their hearts away from the poor. If churches knew God's mind, they would know that God is not very happy, because homeless people have nowhere to go to get out of the rain and cold. The only homeless shelter in Marin holds 30 people. There are about 2,000 people in Marin who are homeless, and there hasn't been adequate shelter in Marin in over 20 years.

The people of Marin are heartless to the poor in Marin. There is no light or hope for the homeless, since Father Martin was discharged from St. Vincent de Paul's dining room for being on the side of the poor. The poor loved him, and he loved the poor from his heart. When he said the Lord's Prayer at lunchtime, he filled the room with God's angels. When Father Martin was discharged three years ago, a dark cloud fell over St. Vincent's; it has never been the same. The light has never come back.

As you judge the poor, the light in your heart goes out. So as you pass the homeless in your warm car, going to your warm houses, know that the homeless don't have anywhere to go, even on Christmas day the homeless are not welcomed anywhere by society, no where.

If you want to go to heaven, you have to change your views on how you see homeless people. The poor are God's favorites. They are worthy like everyone else. It is not a sin to be homeless. It is a sin to think that you are more than the poor. The war on the poor is equivalent to the war on drugs. It's not God's war. It's man's war against himself. Half the people in prison are innocent and should be set free. Their only crimes were to get high on drugs. Three strikes and you do life. We as a nation have lost sight as to what is right and wrong in God's eyes. In the end, as a nation we will be judged for doing nothing to stop it, when in our hearts we knew better. All of us.

Only when you walk a mile in the footsteps of a homeless person, and sleep in his bed at night in the rain and cold, with nowhere to get out of the rain—when you have to hide from the police, who want nothing but to hunt you like a wild dog and give you a ticket for sleeping in the woods—can you feel our hopelessness and despair.

We are all on trial for the way the haves treat the have-nots. God sees everything. I am inspired by my wife Joan. We were homeless and living in our van (she in a wheelchair) for five years.

Robbie Willis

San Rafael

  A quick call to Homeward Bound of Marin easily refutes Robbie's claim that there are only 30 beds in Marin. Those who need assistance can contact the following agencies:

Homeward Bound of Marin  199 Greenfield Ave., 2nd Floor, San Rafael. 415.457.2114.

Mill Street Center  190 Mill St., San Rafael. 415.457.9651 or 800.428.1488.

New Beginnings Center 1399 N. Hamilton Parkway, Novato. 415.382.3532.

Voyager Carmel Center  830 B St., San Rafael. 415.459.5843.

Fourth Street Center  1111 Fourth St., San Rafael. 415.457.0125.

Marin Housing Authority  4020 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. 415.491.2525.

MAWS – Marin Abused Women's Services  Hotline: 415.924.6616; in Spanish, 415.924.3456.

The Ritter Center 16 Ritter St., San Rafael. 415.457.8182.

Meals may be had at

St. Vincent De Paul  820 B St., San Rafael. 415.454.3303.

Salvation Army Community Center 351 Mission Ave., San Rafael. 415.459.4520.


   

big bully business

Obama's plans for the future offer some real hope at a rather dismal holiday time, but our troubles are far from over. Our biggest problem—as a nation, as a civilization—is the runaway political preeminence of large corporations. Corporations are kingdoms, run from the top, their principal goal the enrichment of management and investors. They're the opposite of democracies.

The misdeeds of Bush and his cronies all stem from a big-business "ethic." Just ask yourself: Who is better off after these past eight years? What entities have benefited most from the monthly $10 billion that goes into occupying Iraq? Obama will have to be at least as tough a counterforce as either of the Roosevelt's or big bully business will go right on driving the policy vehicle.

J. B. Grant

Sebastopol


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