Please mail donations to:
West Coast Care
1223 Wilshire Blvd. #865
Santa Monica, CA 90403
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Are you homeless and need help getting home?
Meet us on the Santa Monica Pier at the blue gazebo
Monday - Friday at 10 a.m.
Our mission began ten years ago with one simple goal - help every homeless person that we meet find a way off the streets. We have
hundreds of stories like Bill's every year of people we have helped reconnect with their families. We also provide bus tickets, food
vouchers and clothes. Our supporters make it possible!
I asked Bill if he still remembered his father's phone number.
He said, "I do, why?" Holding my cell phone out I said, "Let's call
him, right now, and see what he has to say." Bill quickly
replied, "No! Don't!" He paused for a moment. "I'll leave, then
call him. Tell me tomorrow what my father says."
Bill had been sleeping on the streets in Santa Monica for more
than 10 years. He was an alcoholic, had a lot of trouble with the
law, and his health was declining. I met with Bill daily offering
help and encouragement, but he would reassert that all his hope
was lost. According to Bill, more than a decade ago he was
banned from his father's house in Central Florida after a very bad disagreement.
"Don't ever step foot in this house again," Bill recounted his father's last words as he was walking out the front door.
Thirty minutes later I dialed the number Bill had given me. A man answered in a deep southern draw, "Hello." I asked him if he knew
anyone by the name of Bill... The man said, "Yes, I do!" then the tone of his voice elevated as he continued, "He's my son!" His voice was
shakier now, "It's been a long time, at least ten years. Is he okay? Is he alive?"
I assured him that Bill was okay and then asked, "Do you think it would ever be possible for him to come back home again?" Without
hesitation he replied, "You tell my son, that he is always welcome at my house." I told him that I would work quickly to get Bill a ticket
home. His dad said that he would buy a plane ticket for Bill if he would rather fly.
The next day I found Bill at his usual place by the beach and relayed that I had talked with his father. Bill's eyes started to water. When I
told him about his father's okay about going home, Bill instantly lowered his head and began to cry. I called his father and handed my cell
to Bill. After their emotional exchange he asked me, "How could I have been so wrong about my father for all these years?"
Bill is not unlike many of the homeless that we meet - the more isolated and withdrawn they become, the more distorted their memories.
Lack of accountability often turns little things into big things, and the mind makes room for a false and hopeless reality. Like so many
others who are homeless, Bill had convinced himself he had no other options. The truth, of course, was that he did.
Bill stopped drinking that day. He flew home to Orlando a couple of days later. His father happily greeted him when he arrived home. Bill
is clean and sober, and works for his dad on the family farm in Florida. The cycle of homelessness has been broken.
|West Coast Care is a 501c3 Non-Profit Charity.
Your financial gifts are tax-deductible.
Bill with new clothes (he picked out the hat) the day he went home.