Here is the one story I, Boo, wrote: It was a friend who I worked with that first told me, "There's a woman living in her car up at the truck stop." Well, I didn't really see much that I could do about it. I did pray, and we had put up notices for anyone needing shelter. Steve watched for her, but didn't see anyone that matched such a description, although stories continued...it was several months later that a woman turned up at our house and stayed with us for a few days, having been living in her van. She was kind, although very fearful...not of us, but of anything that might contaminate her life....chemicals, hydrogenated oils, electric sockets with too many plugs, dust, black mold....all things that the media warns us about, but had become serious threats to her stability of life. We surely couldn't promise her a place with never a bit of mold, shortening, or scented soap! We did, however, offer a place of welcome, a family of love and laughter, even if other guests at the time gave her some critical thought. She joined in the life and work here as best as she was able, and left us refreshed to move on to another destination, most likely to continue living out of her van. A note from her in the living room read, "Thank you Lord, for the day I found the postcard for this blessed family.....Through you, I was rescued."
One of our nearby (in Bureau County) friends on the Wyanet-Walnut Blacktop saw a man walking along the road near his house one spring day. People don't usually walk on the road in this part of the county, so our friend struck up a conversation with him. It turned out he was walking away from where his wife and daughter were living (in Bradford?) but could not stay with them there. His wife was heavily into drugs and living with another woman. It was not a good situation for his daughter, but he was without a place to stay, and so could not legally get his daughter to live with him. Our friend on the Wyanet-Walnut Blacktop could not have the fellow stay at his house, so he called us. We met the homeless man, Steve, and were able to provide housing for him for some time. During this time he obtained a job helping to open McDonalds in Princeton, but did not have a way to get there at 4 a.m. on a regular basis. We had a bicycle loaned to us from friends from our time at Plow Creek (the Beglys) which we could make available to him. So Steve rode this bike to Princeton from our place on Bottom Road every morning he worked, excepting a few times when the weather was really bad when Steve Graham took him to Princeton.
One day he had a medical issue that we ended up having to take him to Spring Valley to the hospital. It was resolved quickly enough he was able to go to work the next scheduled day for McDonalds, even though he was still in some pain.
He was finally able to save enough to get an apartment in Princeton, and eventually get his daughter to live with him. He got another job, a better one, bought a car, and found a better apartment. We see him occasionally with his daughter, both seeming pretty happy about life.
This was a part of answers to questions put to us by someone at the PADS shelter, May 18, 2015.
I, (Steve), had a chance to speak with Carol and the director of the Peru shelter (whose name i can't recall at the moment) when i went there to pick up a man who needed shelter after the Peru PADS shelter closed for the summer. His brother was in jail in Princeton at the time. Later on in the summer, his brother was released and the two of them stayed with us, helping us in various ways and visiting a reunion of the children of the Evangelical Covenant Children's Home (since they had been there as children). They left when one of them got his disability check for the month and they had money to get out of town. I first met the brother that was in jail, since i go there Saturdays with the Gideons, and was able to refer the brother that was waiting outside of jail to PADS until it closed for the summer.
We do not want to "re-invent the wheel" but work with other shelters (like PADS and Freedom House) to deal with situations that may need some alternatives not possible with the current setup. For example, we took in a man who was walking the county roads (referred to us by connections through our church) whose daughter was being kept by his (probably now former) wife in a situation where the wife was involved with drugs through someone the wife was living with. The person she was living with did not want the daughter with them, but the man had nowhere to go and so could not have the daughter in the even worse situation of living outside. PADS was closed for the summer. We were able to take him in. He quickly found a job at the Princeton McDonalds. He had to be at work by 4 a.m. to help open the shop, but had no car, so he rode a bike (which we had available for him to use at that time) from our house to Princeton, about an hour's bike ride away. Sometimes i took him in when we knew the weather was going to be bad. One weekend he was in so much pain i took him to the hospital in Spring Valley to get help - and he thankfully mostly recovered so he could be back at work his next scheduled work day. With the money he saved, and having a regular income, he was able to get an apartment in Princeton, so his commute was shorter. He was also able to get his daughter to live with him, and now has a better paying job and a car. We see him occasionally at the Monday "Our Table" dinner in Princeton with his smiling daughter. He was not a hard person to deal with, compared to others we have had here.
We do not want to "compete" for caring for the housing challenged, either with IVPADS, with Freedom House, or with others who are informally involved with people in need of shelter in the Bureau County and surrounding area. Rather we want to network, strengthen, share, cooperate with others in this ministry. We feel called of the Lord into this work, having many years of informal training in caring for people short of stability and housing.