Oh my gosh! it was hard for me to comprehend that we have been walking for so long a time and in so many neighborhoods when Mike mentioned when we were doing our walk that we have done over 140 neighborhood walks since we started our neighborhood walks over 3 years ago. And we spent most of our time on our walk talking and sharing with long conversations.
And during our walk last Sunday I was saddened and became irritated after we talked with the young man who was standing by the pickup truck he had rented and was loading up their family stuff as he and his wife were moving into a motel as they could no longer pay the rent which had been raised time and time again and now was taking the majority of their income and could no longer afford their family necessities and were because they were having to be vacating their rental were now being forced in affect to be homeless in that they would be living in a motel at least for a short time. But they want and said they will be staying in Longmont because their two children are autistic and the Longmont school’s good for their autistic children!
And as more and more rents are raised all over our city, many people in our community are confronted with huge and I mean huge problems to pay the rent which not only affects their being able to buy necessities but also are more and more threatening them with possibility of becoming homeless. The owners get more and more money and make more, and more profits with no regard to the hurt they are causing to those on social security and a fixed low income. Okay ENOUGH already!
And Mike you are so the very best! I mean for real the very best! And real tears in my eyes when shortly after I got back to my humble casa you were sending out too many, to help you to help the young man and his family with money and other things so they will not be homeless. WOW God bless you Mike! And God bless all l those who have already committed to help and thank you Jordan from Philanthropiece not only for walking with us again but offering to help Mike with an auto thing for the young couple You too mi amigo are one caring great person!
Thank you, Dan Benavidez
The misfortune and fortune of our community revealed themselves on our walk Sunday. In one case, we spoke with Pat who has lived in the neighborhood for 17 years. She said she is happy and content, feels safe, has nice neighbors and she is willing to help out with more in our community.
There was Harvey, a self-described mason, who was happily preparing to help a friend build a brick fireplace. He spoke openly with Dan about their military service and access to Veterans Administration assistance especially services for mental health.
Joe spoke of his role as an HOA Board representative and his level of responsibilities for a condo complex. Joe also spoke of raising HOA dues to help with maintenance of the property. One big concern we had was the amount of increase the HOA board was going to recommend. Which gives light to the following story.
We met Edward. Edward was packing a U Haul pickup with kids bicycles and a few other sundry items. We introduced ourselves and Edward said he was moving. When asked where he was moving to, Edward said he did not know and proceeded to tell us his story. Edward is married with two kids. The management company has raised the rent significantly over the last few years to the point that his family can no longer afford to live there. They are currently staying at the Super 8 motel. They have sold all their furniture and their car. Edward works as a security guard and his wife works at Walmart. Their two kids have autism and he wants to keep them in the St. Vrain Valley School district. He is meeting with the OUR Center on Monday.
Unfortunately, Edward’s plight is not uncommon. There are landlords willing to keep rental rates similar year after year but it seems the market allows landlords to raise the rents considerably and there are those who are either pushed out of their homes and/or pushed out of our community. I am sure this is not new information for any one reading this but our personal connection with Edward and his family brings this social issue right into our lives. We will be helping Edward and his family as much as we can.
We also met Karen and Gene who spoke of concerns for their safety in an adjacent neighborhood. It was clear to me that their fear grew out of what they are exposed to in the media more than actual personal life experience albeit they did speak to the isolation and disconnectedness that seems to be growing.
As we have stated before, the media exploits the wounds of community by over-reporting fear, dramatizing the human condition, and headlining opposition and retribution. Work to do!
And as I like to remind people, for every bad set of circumstances, there are one thousand other sets of circumstances which include compassion, service and support! We live in world full of light with some dark spots and not in a world of darkness with some light spots. I would encourage everyone to think about all of the goodness that exists in our midst – it is mightily plentiful!
Jordan Bailey - Philanthropiece
This is the second 'walk' that I have done with the Belonging Revolution and I am even more impressed this time around than the first. In a moment of divisiveness and a mentality of 'US vs. THEM' in our country, the 'walk' brings people and communities together. Being able to express your fears, desires and vision for your community in a safe environment will only make you feel more connected to those around you, creating a strong social fabric. The 'walks' has inspired me to be more active in my local community. In fact, I have already taken action as a result of listening to the everyday challenges that our neighbor's face. Finally, if our leaders were at the grassroots level, I believe they would have a true grasp on the issues that matter most to the community. With that said, I invite you to meet your neighbor and spark a conversation with someone new today.... We have more in common than you might think!
Be brave, Jordan Bailey - Field Coordinator