Freeport, Illinois — It may be hard to believe for a few of our viewers but over the years, Freeport has had its share of people living here without housing. In other words, yes Freeport has had homeless people living on the streets with nowhere to go.
Some of our homeless residents have been relatively famous in the city too. A lot of us have seen them, even talked with them.
Sleeping in laundry mats when it was cold; doing odd jobs for local businesses who’d reach out and give them a hand — homeless in Freeport isn’t always out of sight, out of mind and for good reason too.
It shouldn’t be.
Today in our city a local Freeport resident (we’ll call her Michele) was running some errands downtown. As she was walking up to the particular store she planned on stopping in, she noticed a fairly young man who, when they made eye contact, had a rather surprised look on his face.
“It was a look you might have if you were caught doing something that you really didn’t want anyone to see you actually doing”, Michele said.
In this particular case, what he was doing was digging out of a dumpster.
She told us that as she walked up to the sidewalk from the street, the man had approached her. Very timidly, he asked if she had any money that she could spare.
She told the man to stay right there and she went back to her car. She found some money and she gave it to him.
“It broke my heart and still does to think there are those in our town looking for food out of a dumpster”, she told us.
She said the man looked to be in his late 30’s to early mid 40’s and that after she gave him her money, he looked at her and said thank you so much.
She told the man that she will be praying for him, and instructed him to go get something warm to eat. She also gave him the name of a few Churches and asked that he reach out and contact them as well.
“It just breaks my heart that there are people in our own town struggling to the point that they have to look in dumpsters for food, Michele said.
“Don’t think because you live in a small Midwest town you can’t make a difference in someone’s life. What was I going to do with that money? I believe God used it for something much better.”
She said she’s not sure if the man used the money for food or not, but said she gave it out of the best place of her heart.
We’d like to know what you’d do.
Not all homeless people are so easily approachable, and some suffer from mental problems and/or drug abuse. Not everyone wants help, nor is it smart advice to immediately welcome unknown people in your car, (as an offer to take them somewhere).
Some may not even be from town and could be from another state altogether.
We ran into a man at the end of last summer who said he just arrived in town and approached us asking for money. He was hanging outside a local restaurant. When we asked where he was from, he said he came from Tennessee.
Homeless in Freeport. What would you do?
What do we do.
UPDATE: Dean Wright, the Executive Director of the Freeport Area Church Cooperative said that the, FACC operates the Chicago Avenue Mission at 514 S. Chicago Ave in Freeport. The Mission is open nightly from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.
The Mission is open to adult men and women who are homeless and has laundry, shower, meal, and case management and other support services.
FACC also operates Hope House–an 8-unit permanent supportive housing program for chronically homeless individuals with disabilities and; and Hero House–a 6-unit permanent supportive housing program for homeless veterans.
For more information about Freeport’s homeless services, call FACC at 815.233.0435 or go to www.faccfreeport.com”