I was contacted by a friend of mine about the homeless situation in Cumberland, Maryland. I’ve always known about the homeless in Cumberland. I’ve fed and housed many people while I lived there. To the degree that my aunt praised me one time for making dinner for a homeless man.
This particular person had a mental disability. Into his teenage years, he found it hard to handle even the most basic fundamentals of life. He didn’t know how to dress himself or how to make his own food. When he turned 18, his mother threw him out. She was done. He was legally on his own. He lived on the streets in the shadows for years, no one even knew his name.
In a strange twist, he found friends. They were homeless just like him and they took it upon themselves to take care of him. If they ate, he ate. If there was a program they could get him involved in, they signed him up. He was given jackets and blankets. He was fed at soup kitchens. And sometimes, ministries would come around and hand him food they had prepared along with other things he might need. He passed away a few years ago and I found out through the grapevine.
His story isn’t common. Of course, there are many people who are homeless because they don’t have the mental capacity to get a job and pay rent. But there are other homeless people who are very bright and found themselves one day without a job for whatever reason. It was hard for them to get back into the workforce and they lost one thing at a time. The car might go first, which makes it harder for someone to find work. Then of course, what we’re talking about, the house eventually follows.
I know there are many reasons why people become homeless and some of that has to do with addiction or alcoholism. But whatever the reason is, there is a huge part in all of us to simply survive. And when the homeless find a way to do that, why are there individuals in our society who find it so easy to try to take their means of survival away from them?
In Cumberland, there is a camp that some homeless had created for themselves at the Walley Ford Bridge. The City Police had visited the area and told the occupants to make sure they kept it clean. But then, the National Park Service came along and told them they had 24 hours to move out. When I heard about this situation, I knew that time was critical.
So, I called the Cumberland Police to ask them how they felt about the homeless having a camp. The unofficial word I was given was as long as it’s out of sight and out of mind, the police don’t normally have a problem with it as long as there are no issues. When I was directed to the National Park Service and talked to them, the official stance was that they were on Federal property. Can’t be on Federal property. That’s a no no.
So, my friend Jimmy Low and I are trying to figure things out for these people. We have a short term solution in place. Jimmy found out that he can get a hotel room for them for a week for $380.81. Yes, you read that right. That is not a typo. A week for $380.81. I’m kind of jealous because I can’t get a room for less than $100 a night, but this isn’t about me.
So, we’re asking for donations. That money will go into a special account specifically designated for this cause. Cash App Jimmy Low and remember, we’re only asking for $5 or $10 at the most. More if you can swing it. Do what you can do!
This Cash App will be taken down as soon as the goal of $380.81 is met… [We met our goal! Thanks, everyone!]
In the meantime, we’ll be trying to find a more permanent solution. In advance, I would like to thank everyone who either sends a small donation or at the least shares this article so that others can see it and reach out. If you have a solution other than “tell them to get a job,” I’d like to hear from you. Thank you!
What Jimmy Low has been doing so far:
At A Drop Off