I arrived in Houston on April 23rd, 2004.
I was directed to the Star of Hope on Ruiz St. for shelter, stayed there for 5 months as a part of their work program and got kicked out. . .not because I wasn’t following rules but because I needed an hour more than they were giving me to fulfill the work requirements. The job was eight hours, but I needed one hour travel time for a nine hour day. . . (30 minutes to and from work). That led to a heated argument that I lost. I spent another 2 months living and working in a place I did not need to be in the very environment I left Louisiana to get away from. After a couple of weeks I was at my wits end and able to see for myself if I didn’t make some changes in habits, I would be on this dead end path forever. I got involved with 1000 Hills Ministry and Church Under The Bridge. It was there I met Pastor Steve Hope and eventually David Hill.
They encouraged me to find Bible study Groups as often as I could and participate. At that time there were many more day centers available to the homeless where we could just talk and be directed to places that could help us in our search for direction and identity and have one meal, either breakfast or lunch, laundry, and occasionally showers would be available as well.
It was back toward the end of 2006, and the beginning of 2007 that the rules started changing and some of the day centers started closing. One of the main arguments in getting places to shut their doors to the homeless was duplication of services. Too many groups were receiving funding to do the same exact thing someone else was doing. Within a year a number of groups were forced to close their doors due to pressures being placed on them by government monitors put in place to provide answers that were to enable a better control of the homeless population.
I do not suggest that change was not needed, but what is happening now is adding to the problem rather than helping. Yes, the overall numbers of the homeless population are down somewhat but increasing is the number of people becoming dependent on third party resources to live their lives simply because the emphasis has changed from better yourself to take advantage of the entitlement at large.
This is a disastrous approach because everyone is not homeless for the same reason. There is no such thing as one size fits all in clothes and neither is there one answer to all the problems people live with daily. Every aspect of life must be dealt with within the framework of its own existence and not another’s. Literally, it’s the choices we make that dictate the lives we live. To end homelessness and all that goes with it we need places where those choices can be identified, and the necessary adjustments made. In the same way that one cannot reach the top of a ladder in one step neither can one without completing the applications necessary to make change without first going through all the steps that lead to freedom. I was able to read, talk, listen to, meditate upon, and eventually see myself and life from a wholesome perspective. This made it possible for me to receive instruction and correction and seek out the well being of others through offering the same introduction to living life as I had received.
James Watson III Founder and CEO