By HART Winter Sanctuary Volunteer Liz Irons
Serving at the 2018 Winter Sanctuary has opened my eyes to the plight of homelessness in our community. At first, volunteering with this program was a huge step out of my comfort zone. Not familiar with interacting with those less fortunate than I am, I found the first conversations I held with Winter Sanctuary guests and the lives they lead were rather interesting.
But then one gentleman shared with me that if he just gets through the day, he’s lucky. He gets items stolen from him all the time.
I cannot fathom to how it would be to live like that. I cannot imagine fearing for my life simply because someone wants to steal a sleeping bag from me. Yet for this guest, that has been reality.
Through HART, I have come away with the realization that there is a huge need for medical, dental, and mental health that should be available for all people. I have learned that HART is a very caring program that wants to treat people…as people. It has also helped me realize that the homes the city is purchasing are great stepping stones for people, and I have learned that these guests have the potential to make great neighbors. I no longer have the “not in my backyard” perspective and would encourage anyone who may hold this view to spend some time volunteering with HART. Knowledge is power, and together we can make a powerful difference for others.