Friday, February 22, 2019

Homelessness is not forever

Dawn Gieber works at the Pulaski County Circuit Court in Little Rock, Arkansas. On her way to work each day, she saw a homeless man named James. People said James was very angry, and usually Dawn ignored him, but one day she stopped and asked him why he was homeless. It turns out he wasn't angry. He was hungry after eating out of dumpsters, and he was cold. He'd been homeless for 15 years. James told Dawn he'd lost his way and his family, and did not know how to contact them. So Dawn's husband Jodi used Google to find some numbers. After leaving many voicemail messages, they received a call from James' niece. She said James' family had looked for him, and assumed he was dead. It was just before Thanksgiving.

Dawn arranged for James to speak with his family, and he was very emotional when he heard their voices. They lived in Illinois, 600 miles from Little Rock, but Dawn turned to Jodi and said, "Road trip!" Jodi bought James some clothes and drove him back to their house, but then they learned James had outstanding warrants in Little Rock. So Dawn went before the judge and offered to pay all James' fines, and the charges were dismissed. Then they packed the car and drove James to Illinois. According to his brother, James is now living with his family again, and doing well. Dawn just felt it was the right thing to do.

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