Comments from readers and viewers - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Comments from readers and viewers

  • TA, Columbia
    Craig Melvin I admire how you take the time out to inform us what's going on in our community. The homeless segment you did was very informing. I commend you on a job well done, you deserved your 2006 emmy.
  • SR, Columbia
    i would really like to know how someone like myself with 3 children (1 is disabled), limited income, and no job could help. i would also like to know when you will be reporting your second story on the want to be homeless' and beggers.
  • EW, Columbia
    Dear Craig, It's E.W., again, checking in after the last story spot on the homeless. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for telling the Hidden Neighborhood story. I've not had much sleep, especially just thinking about Breya and Carlos and crying over God's little children; our Father will answer their prayers. I've only shared my story of me and my husband not for any sympathy. I share because we NEVER thought this would happen to us in our 50's. Our family still gives money, time, prayers silently or when we have gone out with our tiny church on Saturdays to feed the homeless and give them new hats and gloves during the winter in front of the Oliver Gospel Mission with our youth pastor/wife and pastor/wife/teen and the rest of our youth to care for them. You see, my pastor many years ago was homeless, alcoholic, drug addicted, jailed, etc. and came out of that through hearing God's Word over time and returns to that world with us and the above mentioned people to feed them plus give new clothing and Bibles. We also go to a certain shelter not mentioned in your report ( the one needing washers & dryers & shower stalls to be cleaned up for jobs and any interviews.) We take our church to them every 8 weeks to minister to them downtown near Main Street. Christmas Day at 6:00 a.m., we all went there from our church to pray and minister to them. How many teens would do that and leave their gifts home unopened? Our youth really touches them even my own child (ren) is involved as that's what he/she spends most of their time while in college now...church activities as raised by we parents. He/she wants to be a doctor and work in Columbia starting with those who need free care. It's really affected him/her as I cried when medicaid would not give him/her care when very sick with the flu January 2005. We ended up on a cold very rainy day at the Free Clinic on Harden Street. Since we didn't know what to do and looked out of place, there were some not so nice men who kept saying they were in line ahead of us even though we were first. We had to go back 3-4 times over the day to the same place! My child had such a severe ear infection, he/she almost lost his/her hearing! Playing church Spiritual music of all genres is their joy in life! As for the church/eating shelter, they have their own church there which I will mention if you ask. Over the years since we moved here in 1988, I would see the homeless at the old library not taking my child (ren) there. We started with a mailbox at the main post office when we came here to easily transfer our mail from the state we moved from. I still see many of them sleep there and am not afraid even if it's 2:00 a.m. to collect mail that is too big for our apartment box. The janitor there, Mr. Kennedy, and myself had gotten to know each other well. We've talked to and prayed for them late evenings or at night a while back. He is such a hard worker! At the new main library I became prayer partners and friends with a now retired security guard. Mr.
    Mike Richardson is another truly wonderful man of God. He's like a big brother to me though I have not seen him in a while. We would pray for each others distance family members. Again, the homeless did not act up there either. AR of Columbia and R of Irmo hit the nail on the head about those of us not beginning this way that something (s) started that lifestyle. In my case there was no one to go to to tell about the child rapes, WWII hero Iwa Jima father who was an alcoholic and very abusive to me (I had to forgive him.) yet no one knew during the week that he was that, or those who raped me as a pre-teen forced by a family member to "cooperate". My various type of panic attacks come from PTSD while the depression is biochemical as I reiterated to you yesterday, but this circumstance of my husband not becoming hired after 2 years this month and all this debt $35000 and climbing) now... to exist.. and SSI forcing me to pay back $2000 because borrowing on charge cards is considered by social security as INCOME and NOT DEBT!!! We have to pay on that debt monthly. My husband has always worked 2 full-time jobs or worked full time and full time college starting in the 1980's. Both of us are college graduates (he has 2 degrees + and 20 some years experience in his field.) We weren't able to start college until we were 30, and I graduated 1/2 point from being valedictorian from a community college with 4 campuses where we came from. For years I worked two jobs including the federal government's Dept. of Housing and Urban Development in Virginia where my husband had us move to that state to obtain further education. Then I had major physical illnesses but never collected government help. I had a serious car accident in another state where I almost died. Lawyers said I should sue, but I did not even though the other driver was clearly faulted. Then I became pregnant with my last child and was able to stay home for 3 years. We moved here from another state where both my husband and I worked 2 full time jobs just to pay everything off. Life was great all those years. I was preparing to buy a 3000 modular home planned out by myself and my husband when my mother-in-law passed away in the state we were born in. My $5000 savings was gone. We had great credit and scores in the 800's ready to try to buy a house when May 2004, my father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer with a life expectancy of 3 weeks-3 months needing a nursing home with his affairs to deal with. He had to quit his long time professional job to deal with his dad's situation and us going there. Those with elderly parents who are baby boomers just like us understand this. It was difficult when my father-in-law's wife passed away after 6 months in a home who could not move or communicate. We knew nothing of how to pay for her funeral or where things were. It's two years later and he's still alive still in hospice with medicare, his social security, and medicaid paying the nursing home. I don't know what we'd do without hospice people caring for him and keeping in touch with us on a constant basis so far away. Thank God for those people! My husband calls his dad there every day. We can only afford to go see him once a year with our old cars and now gas prices. I need to say something to the lady or guy "LH" from Columbia working two jobs, disgusted with those of us in our plight, teaching special ed plus another job, and raising her children. My husband and I had worked for years and helped out others all our lives. We've taken people in especially teen run aways and getting them church help in the state we were born; their fathers were abusive alcoholics. I had to stop working 10 years ago as depression is a biochemical disorder I did not ask for nor wish on anyone. My panic attacks come from PTSD. I spent weekly sessions for 8 years on a psychiatrists couch medicated on our health insurances. Sometimes I did very well and could do things and work. Other times I just shut down and can barely get up. This is a living hell for me and makes me feel like a lousy, worthless wife and mother and human being. At times I have wanted to die and end it all until I realized this pain is just temporary whereas my ending could last eternally; that is a chance I don't want to take being in full recognance of my faculties. During these times I cry alot for no apparent reason. It is no different than being diabetic, having cancer, or heart problems. I pray that LH never wakes up one morning and finds herself 200% below the federal poverty level getting deeper in debt and cannnot see the end of the tunnel. Help for those of us just needing it for a SHORT time is refused us, but not for those who lie in the gutter alcoholic or drug addicted or have a psychosis, such as schizophrenia. I tried helping two couples in my large church whose spouses had that and they drained me in more ways than can be imagineable! I was a car accident away from death years ago. I was in serious medical illnesses years ago almost not healing. No one knows when "IT" will happen to them; they have no one to help them as your family and your relatives are dead, dying, or just don't care about you as you're miles away out of sight and mind knowing how it is for you, or you don't find yourself incapacitated by a major stroke (deceased mother-in-law), heart attack and alzheimers (deceased mom), kidney failure (deceased proud Marine dad who wanted to die!), terminal cancer (father-in-law), hit by a drunk driver and can't work ever (deceased dad) with my brother who filed a lawsuit and got LOTS of money from it and didn't share!, or any other tragedy where LH can never work or is deceased and what happens to her children! I always told my family, be careful how you treat people as they're God's children, don't ever say "it can't happen to me (prideful), "pride goes before a fall," and don't think you are better than anyone else... "But for the grace of God goes I." Our family does not nor ever has drunk , done drugs, or smoked. We don't even buy sodas as we can't take the citric acid in them. It's not a religious thing. We just have no interest to do those things. Craig, I know you have a caring heart, and God will bless you for this series. I am so greatful that your General Manager will do a commentary on this next week. If the One Stop can be done and enough people care about it to put their money where their mouth is (our family does that and more)in our situation as it is, I hope Sam Tenenbaum and Dr. Morris Blachman can do something to get this ball rolling....my husband could use a job training these people God created on this Earth, and they need this training desperately in Columbia (there is a real shortage of trained workers in his field) as many have told him. We all need to have that HAND UP and not continual HAND OUT to get on our feet. Let's stop playing this NIMBY game my brothers and sisters in Christ in the Columbia area. Let's change this and really do something this time. Don't send the homeless out in never never land to be forgotten. Don't keep Breya and Carlos waiting for a house of their own as my family has had to wait as we've become seniors in our lives with no assets and no one to help us 200% below the federal poverty level through no fault of our own. We give and have always given to the causes and 10% + free will offerings to the church (to God to help others); you can give up that new outfit, one new up-to-date cell phone (we own none of those), one meal a week eating out, a less expensive car or boat or whatever you spend on yourself and hobbies to cut down when you receive your blessed pay check from your Provider (God), cut down on the cigarettes/alcohol one day a week, car pool one day a week, combine your errands to save gas, and give it to this One Stop Center. Please, leave politics out of this! Columbia, you came out for the Bantu people, the many displaced N.C./Fla./ Texas/La. hurricane needy folks, and you give to help the children or parents needing a much needed operation plus expenses. They receive cards and money and stuffed animals from us all, etc. It helps people to know someone really does care. It makes us better people. We can share in their coming out of their tragic situation. Be the state I have adopted as the most caring I know. Let's no longer "be the tail but the head" as the Bible says. Craig, again, you deserve and WIS news deserves a high award for your coverage of this heart breaking story. No wonder why WIS is our favorite station! You and your co-workers (include that camera man) ARE the BEST!!!!
  • TC, Lugoff
    I'm certain I'm not the first to make this comment.  Your story, albeit a wonderful insight into our society, leaves me fearful of peoples safety.  If there are criminals that target individuals like this, especially since they know atleast one gentleman receives a SS check and may have some cash, are they safe?  It just seems their lives may be in danger because people not only know they're there but know exactly WHERE they are, and how many of them may be there. Just a thought.  I really did appreiciate your story.  My hope is that you have words of wisdom to put my mind at ease. Have a great weekend!
  • KM, Columbia
    i to was homeless when i came to columbia in 1990 and was helped and have been working since then but it was with the help of one hard working  black man named  charles william's of williams nursing home who helped me  buy letting me work for him till i could get a  job  for 3.35 a hour winn dixie whioch i then kept that job for six year's then went into the trucking business  and have been doing well enough to get my own home get married14 year's and it all started with the help of one great man that even married us as to the homeless problem in california they have a good system in sacramento   called loave's and fish's that had everything in a one block radius medical food library, clothes, family service's but still it took one person to reach out praise me and put me on the rigght track
  • NL, Lexington
    Does Hanna House have a web site?  I was interested in learning more about their work after seeing Craig's special on homelessness, esp. the children. Thanks
    (he was funny at our Adm Prof Conf on 4/27, but this special shows his depth of thought and compassion!)
    *note: Click here to visit Hannah House website>>*
  • PH, Elgin
    All homeless people are not drunks,lazy ,dirty or illiterate. There are many who have untreated mental health illnesses and drug and alcohol addictions(which are also diseases) that contribute to their inability to find permanent employment and maintain a permanent residence. We live in a society that is quick to judge and label others. A homeless person with an addiction or a mental health condition deserves to be treated with the same respect,dignity and empathy shown to any other human being. They are no different from someone who has some other medical problem.There are certainly many who make bad choices and engage in behaviors that contribute to their condition. Don't we all? many of us are only a few paychecks away from being homeless ourselves. There are many whose circumstances change suddenly(due to divorce,health,death of family,loss of jobs,the inability to afford housing or medical treatment
    etc.) and find themselves thrust into the ranks of the homeless.I recently saw a former co-worker lying on the steps of a local church while I was riding home(on public transportation) . She was barely recognizable and did not seem to be aware of her surroundings. This is someone who was very intelligent,did not drink,was a prompt and capable employee who often worked two jobs to support herself. She has a history of mental health issues and had stuggled to find permanent employment. She also does not have any family to my knowledge. One of my favorite songs contains the following lyrics,(the only time you should look down on a man is when you're picking him up). We (the viable ,functional part of society has a reponsibility to help those who cannot or will help themselves. I understand there are some who do not want to be helped as well as some who could do more to better thier situation but so could many of us. Some things don't affect us until they hit home(ask the coach from Clemson whose son has a mental health condition who wound up in jail as a result of his disease) just because some homeless don't do what we expect them to do is no reason for us to look down on all homeless.
  • JS, Irmo
    Craig,  I worked in a law office in the building just above the Oliver Gospel Mission and was horrified to hear an attorney basically say that the men and women at the Mission are basically just biding their time until death. Mind you this is a "CHURCHY/CHRISTIAN" man. For some strange reason I can never forget his criticism of those people.  Thank you for your report, I now look forward to volunteering at Hannah's House
  • CG, Columbia
    Dear Craig, I honestly and truly commend you for not only reporting on being homeless, but for going even further and becoming homeless (even if it was just for 36 hours).  You would have to live it, to know it, to feel it, in order to report it!  If you were to meet me you would never think that I was ever homeless before.  I do not brag about this, or even talk or share it until I hear someone talking about the homeless and I come to the defense because I too, much to their surprise, have been there.  Homelessness happens to all types of people for all types of reasons you will be surprised. I had a federal job when I first became homeless ended up having my 2nd child while in a shelter back in March of 1989.  The shelter help me to apply for public housing and we moved in with the rats & roaches.  I payed rent to live like that and I hated it!  3 years later I ended running away from home and back in a shelter again for battered and abused women.  This shelter was much different from the first one, you had to work or find a job if you did not have one.  If you worked you had to give them your money to save for you so that you can eventually get your own place.  I ended up saving and paying a first month's rent and security deposit to move in June of 1992 but the shelter did not want me to go yet because I was pregnant, however, I moved out anyway and my son was born 13 days later.  If my family were to become homeless right not the woman/girls/children go one place and the man/boy go another this is because of when the boys get a certain age they do not want them around girls.  I can understand the concern even though this is not right we are talking about splitting up a family.  You have to want to not be homeless to get out of it, you have to be determined to change your situation, it is a struggle going on with you and where there is a will to change any situation your are facing the LORD will make a way.  I met a man one day that was honest with me about being homeless, he was staying at the salvation army back in 1994, I invited him to attend church, he showed up one day at the church and I introduced him to some of the church members, one of the members and me drove him back to the shelter one day, she went home and told her husband about him and her husband and her went to the shelter to get him out, they invited him into their home to stay and helped him get himself together.  He started attending church with them and her husband helped them man find a job. One day this very same man asked me to marry him and I accepted.  It is 12 years later and I can say that the LORD really picked him up and turned his whole life around he has earned 2 degree's, one from Midlands Tech and the other one from USC.  He has a good job making good money and I still have my same federal job...but I tell you the truth, we are ALL a paycheck away from being homeless!
  • AR, Columbia
    To those that would be angered at the homeless because they think they are abusing the system:  I am glad you have your life together and have the support system that you need to be a productive part of society.  There are people that have not been blessed as you.  They may have endured problems within their families such as molestation, drugs and alcohol, neglect, physical abuse--but, rest assured--there is something wrong; people don't just one day decide to withdraw from society and drift--something has happened to start that lifestyle.  Instead of castigating and judging, just wait, they will probably share with you what happened and it probably won't be pretty.  Doing a series and seeing a cross-section would never be in-depth enough to cover the multitude of reasons that people become bent and broken, resort to substances to help withdraw from life and seek something--they just don't know what that something is.  Most have not had the privilege of experiencing the wholeness of life that we take for granted.  When is the last time you stood next to a homeless person and asked if you could pray for him and his loved ones?  It's an individual problem and the only way to resolve it is one on one, one by one--it will just take the human touch, not the government's good intentions.
  • EW, Columbia
    Dear Craig, I wrote you yesterday. I'm the one whose husband lost his job, lives on just the second he's also had a long time (cooking $9 an hour)and are senior citizens with child(ren) at home. We've always been a giving family including now though went from $3000 debt to $35000 now. My husband has 2 college degrees with myself one. Depression and anxiety attacks (various forms) took me out of the workforce 10 years ago. The help is not there for many of us families including Christian ones like ours who have always given time, money, clothing, and special giving when the news tells us about hurricanes or burn out of their homes or money for those needing expensive operations with travel to another locale or other disaster stories. No matter what we'll still give to help others. My biochemical situation has a stigma still. My husband and I have been married many many years. We had no idea we'd be seniors and end up like this. If only my husband could have the money or backing to start a much needed business to teach the homeless, GED needing more education, single parent moms needing a trade, and others like us who need a HAND UP and NOT a HANDOUT! It's painful to live like this. Craig, I so much appreciate what you are doing to highlight this problem. My husband is on 12 job boards with daily alerts, goes on interviews, loses jobs to those who are not state qualified or not having education/experience as he, and wants to offer less than he has made with almost 2 full-time jobs he's always had. I'm talking about job offers of $40,000 a year gross he is not even getting offered when he should be at $80,000-120,000 in his trade. He's never made over $40,000 on one job. Those who are interested offer below $30,000 or $20,000 with no benefits! I lost food stamps of $189-13 a month over 15 months ago. It is true that the agencies tell us to separate or divorce to get this help; we only want to get out of this mess! I am paying back SSI monthly (owe $2000) as the government considers our borrowing on credit cards to live IS INCOME and NOT DEBT we pay on monthly. People in "the system" tell my husband that he "needs to learn the system and lie so we can get food stamps again, section 8 money for rent, and much more SSI checks for me!" I don't want evicted from the apartment we've lived in many years. But we are NOT going to take advantage of "the system" even though we paid many many years into it. Our child(ren) has never asked or wanted anything from we parents. I need glasses so bad as mine are falling apart with super glue holding together bent frames and dental work (my son needs dental work), but I had to get glasses for one of our family members. One asked me about mother's day, and I said I stopped thinking about special days and gifts a long time ago..I'd rather a bill get paid. One is very successful in college here on an academic scholarship and just received a Pell and SCEOG, but we are Christians and never would take lottery. South Carolina has become our home the last 18 years. No matter what the news says about our being 1st in bad things and last in good things, this is HOME. My husband still volunteers 1 day a week at a Christian homeless shelter. Our own church, so tiny as it is, is trying to help them get a washer and dryer plus shower stalls for the homeless where my husband volunteers. I hope this story of Brenya and others doesn't die out and people in need are further forgotten. Again, Craig, thank you for tonight's story. I'll write you tomorrow like I did the first night. My heart and our family prayers go out to the ones trying to get out of this 200% below federal poverty level. Please don't use my full name.
  • LH, Columbia
    In my opinion, these people are disgusting.  I am a single mother of three.  I manage to work two jobs, pay my bills and keep a roof over my children's head without any help from the state or the government. I think these people should QUIT being moochers and do something with their lives.  I currently work with special ed students in one of our school districts which include children with bipolar.  There is other ways of handling mental disabilities other than being institutionalized and hiding under government funds.  Those of us that work hard to earn a living and teach our kids the right way of becoming a responsible adult whole heartedly resent the way these men are living and using us as their umbrella.  How embarassing for them.  Get a life.  All of the resources are there.  You take advantage of some of them now. Only those that make you monetarily lazy!  How sad.
  • GP, West Columbia
    I've often thought of bridges as being an ok place if needed unless the spot was already taken. Someone with money should create a place where less fortunate people can live and work without having the responsibility of having to manage the complexity of taking care of their own personal living expenses.  If they didn't have the responsibility to pay rent, electricity, water, food, phone, and transportation on time each month, they might feel more like being productive.  We tend to say of such people, "If you are not capable of earning a living and managing it like we all do, then you must be out on a limb."  Fiscal inability to manage or laziness, may prevent an otherwise useful person from doing some task well.  Imagine providing a group of people the management of their basic necessities in return for some useful purpose.  There might be some takers.  Of course, by the time an employer pays for all of the business requirements to the government and its' employees, and takes into consideration trivial law suits, it becomes more difficult to justify the worth of the employee for their useful purpose especially when considering annual profit margins and losses.
  • PH, Elgin
    All homeless people are not drunks,lazy ,dirty or illiterate. There are many who have untreated mental health illnesses and drug and alcohol addictions(which are also diseases) that contribute to their inability to find permanent employment and maintain a permanent residence. We live in a society that is quick to judge and label others. A homeless person with an addiction or a mental health condition deserves to be treated with the same respect,dignity and empathy shown to any other human being. They are no different from someone who has some other medical problem.There are certainly many who make bad choices and engage in behaviors that contribute to their condition. Don't we all? many of us are only a few paychecks away from being homeless ourselves. There are many whose circumstances change suddenly(due to divorce,health,death of family,loss of jobs,the inability to afford housing or medical treatment etc.) and find themselves thrust into the ranks of the homeless.I recently saw a former co-worker lying on the steps of a local church while I was riding home(on public transportation) . She was barely recognizable and did not seem to be aware of her surroundings. This is someone who was very intelligent,did not drink,was a prompt and capable employee who often worked two jobs to support herself. She has a history of mental health issues and had stuggled to find permanent employment. She also does not have any family to my knowledge. One of my favorite songs contains the following lyrics,(the only time you should look down on a man is when you're picking him up). We (the viable ,functional part of society has a reponsibility to help those who cannot or will help themselves. I understand there are some who do not want to be helped as well as some who could do more to better thier situation but so could many of us. Some things don't affect us until they hit home(ask the coach from Clemson whose son has a mental health condition who wound up in jail as a result of his disease) just because some homeless don't do what we expect them to do is no reason for us to look down on all homeless.
  • JS, Irmo
    Craig, I worked in a law office in the building just above the Oliver Gospel Mission and was horrified to hear an attorney basically say that the men and women at the Mission are basically just biding their time until death. Mind you this is a "CHURCHY/CHRISTIAN" man. For some strange reason I can never forget his criticism of those people. Thank you for your report, I now look forward to volunteering at Hannah's House
  • CP, Columbia
    Dear Craig, I honestly and truly commend you for not only reporting on being homeless, but for going even further and becoming homeless (even if it was just for 36 hours). You would have to live it, to know it, to feel it, in order to report it! If you were to meet me you would never think that I was ever homeless before. I do not brag about this, or even talk or share it until I hear someone talking about the homeless and I come to the defense because I too, much to their surprise, have been there. Homelessness happens to all types of people for all types of reasons you will be surprised. I had a federal job when I first became homeless ended up having my 2nd child while in a shelter back in March of 1989. The shelter help me to apply for public housing and we moved in with the rats & roaches. I payed rent to live like that and I hated it! 3 years later I ended running away from home and back in a shelter again for battered and abused women. This shelter was much different from the first one, you had to work or find a job if you did not have one. If you worked you had to give them your money to save for you so that you can eventually get your own place. I ended up saving and paying a first month's rent and security deposit to move in June of 1992 but the shelter did not want me to go yet because I was pregnant, however, I moved out anyway and my son was born 13 days later. If my family were to become homeless right not the woman/girls/children go one place and the man/boy go another this is because of when the boys get a certain age they do not want them around girls. I can understand the concern even though this is not right we are talking about splitting up a family. You have to want to not be homeless to get out of it, you have to be determined to change your situation, it is a struggle going on with you and where there is a will to change any situation your are facing the LORD will make a way. I met a man one day that was honest with me about being homeless, he was staying at the salvation army back in 1994, I invited him to attend church, he showed up one day at the church and I introduced him to some of the church members, one of the members and me drove him back to the shelter one day, she went home and told her husband about him and her husband and her went to the shelter to get him out, they invited him into their home to stay and helped him get himself together. He started attending church with them and her husband helped them man find a job. One day this very same man asked me to marry him and I accepted. It is 12 years later and I can say that the LORD really picked him up and turned his whole life around he has earned 2 degree's, one from Midlands Tech and the other one from USC. He has a good job making good money and I still have my same federal job...but I tell you the truth, we are ALL a paycheck away from being homeless!
  • AM, Columbia
    AM from Columbia sent us the following link to a recent report on the homeless in SC and in Richland County, we thought we'd post it here: schomeless.org/ack.asp>>
  • AR, Columbia
    To those that would be angered at the homeless because they think they are abusing the system: I am glad you have your life together and have the support system that you need to be a productive part of society. There are people that have not been blessed as you. They may have endured problems within their families such as molestation, drugs and alcohol, neglect, physical abuse--but, rest assured--there is something wrong; people don't just one day decide to withdraw from society and drift--something has happened to start that lifestyle. Instead of castigating and judging, just wait, they will probably share with you what happened and it probably won't be pretty. Doing a series and seeing a cross-section would never be in-depth enough to cover the multitude of reasons that people become bent and broken, resort to substances to help withdraw from life and seek something--they just don't know what that something is. Most have not had the privilege of experiencing the wholeness of life that we take for granted. When is the last time you stood next to a homeless person and asked if you could pray for him and his loved ones? It's an individual problem and the only way to resolve it is one on one, one by one--it will just take the human touch, not the government's good intentions.
  • R, Irmo
    I am really surprised that you were only able to find people who were homeless are alcoholics and drug addicts. I know for a fact that there are families out there with no place to go and they are not drug addicts nor alcoholics. These families have no family here and no place to go and all the system is telling them out there is that if they want help they have to split up the family and they can get assistance. We are telling our families that they can no longer stay together and the wife and children have to go to one shelter and the husband has to go to another. What are we saying to families, that you either have to be drug addicts or alcoholics, or be seperated/ divorced before the community will step in. All the churches will provide food and some clothing but will any of them help with finding a place to live, or help them become re- established, your answer is NO! If they owe an electric bill or a landlord how can they get back on their feet? If you go to the Lord's Place, they have a waiting list just to get in and you can not owe any money to SCE&G nor any landlord. I can speak from experience, if it was not from Mrs. Debbie Sellers, who works for the state, helped my family and myself, we would still be homeless. Just another fact my husband and I are both college graduates and we are not from here, my husband works for the state and I work for a cable company. Please send the correct information out to the public, FAMILIES NEED A BETTER ALTERNATIVE BESIDES THE STREET.
  • DB, Columbia
    Mr. Melvein
    I am a Disable American Veterans I volunteer at Dorn VA Medical Center.  I do Claims for Veterans I try to help the homeless people with the homeless program at Dorn VA medical center during the first Friday in November which is call standdown 2005. Homeless come to get assisted.  We have alot of vendor i.e DSS, Hannah House, Dorn VA, House, Jobs Fare, You name it its there.  But most of the homeless who come to the Standdown just want the clothes we give out. I try to ask veteran if they has disability, because I do claims They just say I  don't want to hear it.  You can not help the homeless unless they want help.
    It sad to say this.  But I think that the one stop place will be the best thing. I subject that it should be setup like a little community with everthing they need to lived. I.E. Main office with all community program Housing for the homeless with the homeless paying rent and to top it off have a food and clothes store and job program classes and home care classes on the ground. Also have a sub police station locate in the coummunity.  With a program like this the homeless will have a sense of living in a  community. There will be no Drugs , Alcohol. But a Church will be needed to help turn their life around.
    God Bless
  • ES, Columbia
    I think the homeless situation is completly horrible.I know there are so many who abuse the system, but that is true in all walks of life. Homeless families should not be, but with this economy and no jobs, they need our goverment help,there are so many vacant stores,buildings that can give some hope if they were fixed up and kept up, homeless indivduals who are young and able should be the ones to fix these places up, instead of jail, or going to the emergency rooms every night,make them responsible to clean up and fix up empty buildings which could be used for housing, we have to start somewhere. just remember If we give freedom and dignity to others we will become the beneficiaries of a greater freedom and dignity of ourselves
  • SM, Columbia
    Just viewed the "Hidden Neighbors" report.  Thanks to Craig Melvin and WIS.  The segment shared a perspective I have never imagined. Homeless residents with a cell phone? I thought cell phones were a luxury. Very interesting! Can't wait to see part 2. Thanks Again!
  • FJ, Columbia
    Hi Craig,I thought the assignment of the schools, were outstanding, but this one is for the record books. I thank you for doing such a great job!!! and I will keep praying for you,and thank you for keeping us informed of the real world.  This allows us an opportunity to help our brothers and sisters, no matter the race. God Bless
  • IC, Batesburg
    It's a godly thing what your doing for the homeless. The keyword is homeless. The gov. Need to step in and do something. If they can send troops to iraq then they can build homes for the homeless. Everydody static is not hte same. If the americans would come together something could be done. Maybe the gov. Could bulid homes, apartments or something better for people who may had a hard time in life, then god little children would not have to beg for their own room. We need to not talk about this matter but do something about it. May god bless you,
  • GL, Batesburg
    My name is [] and I'm writing to ask you. What can we do to help out those in need? Can Breya be adopted or what about the young lady pregnant and have a 10 month old? Can any of those children be adopted? If so please let me know or the public. THANKS FOR YOUR TIME AND MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU ALL FOR DOING THIS STORY ON THE HOMELESS.
  • VG, Columbia
    Craig, I watched your first segment on :Your Hidden Neighbors", and was just blown away about the children. Expecially Breya. Listenening to her brought tears to my eyes. You just never know what a person is going through, and have been through. You wonder how can a able bodied person allow their child(ren) live in situations like that. Especially when there is so much help out there. A very compelling story. Thanks for bringing this story to the light.
  • YM, Columbia
    This in in re-ply to the story that Craig Melvin and the crew did on the Homeless population. I applaud you once again WIS on a job well done, I see these very people you are speaking of every day, I sit at the transit center and watch the kids at the Hanna House get on the bus for school and though I know these kids do not have a home of their own, I can only thank God that at least they were not on the streets last night, I am also glad that you are doing a show on that population who chose to be on the streets and feel that the public should care for them.Some of these are young healthy, able bodied men.If nothing else I am hoping that your program will expose them to the public ,people will stop giving in to their constant begging and sometimes harrassment , until there will be no other alternative, but help themselves. I am very passionate about this subject, I have been homeless in this city a couple of times, This is not a very forgiving place to live if you have no place to live, I have Bi-polar disorder, and it was do to my illness that I became homeless the first time, now that I am in Recovery, Nnot recovered but i live very well with this illness most days I work every day, sometimes six days a week 8 hrs a day. and by most strandards I make a very good salary, but what no one not even my co-workers know about me is that in November I lost my Apartment,It only took me missing one pay check and it was over. I am now living in and extended stay hotel and although I am not homeless I do not have a home and it won't be long before i am out of here. though i make a good salary, paying weekly for a room medications toaling 300.00 per month I see three Drs. including a cardiologist, I have Sleep Anea and sleep with a C-PAP Machine at night, so I cannot be homeless any more it't my life if I am. I am not telling you this for any sympathy or anything only to let you you know that there are so many different segments of the homeless or levels of homelessness. and you are right what can any body do, if our city leaders don,t have any answers who then. Please keep up the good work that you do in keeping us informed. it is no wonder that this is the only news station that I watch. Thanks Craig for letting me vent.
  • S, Columbia
    Good morning, I missed the live airing of your homeless series but was able to read it online. I want to commend you on covering a topic that has a lot of misconceptions.
  • I was homeless, married with 3 children and employed. Ironically I work at a place where the homeless frequent so each evening my children and I would stand in line at the Salvation Army along with the other homeless. The men were always so gracious and would make sure that we had enough to eat, they would even come to my job with 3 pieces of fruit or 3 sandwiches and tell me to make sure that my kids were full. They never once mentioned that they knew me from living in the shelter and my heart is overflowing with the love and respect they showed me. Eventually my job found out I was homeless and they helped me to acquire an apartment.
  • Its been many years later, I am now remarried and am a homeowner and still employed at that same job. My oldest son is graduated high school and is gainfully employed, my daughter is a high school Senior (college bound) and my youngest son is in high school. these same men still frequent my place of employment, I still talk to them and they still choose to be homeless. Maybe that's their mission in life - to give people like me a helping hand and a kind word of encouragement.
  • Thank you for interviewing that young mother at the Family Shelter, I can relate to her plight but please let her know she can overcome her situation.
  • I am a living proof and this is my testimony.
  • Again, thank you for letting the community know that all homeless are not that way by choice.
  • Sincerely,
  • Formerly homeless
  • CB, Columbia
    Thank you so much for this segment! I work downtown, so I see the homeless all the time, but had no idea that Columbia has so many homeless children until yesterday. Breya and Carlos' stories literally broke my heart! Will you be doing a segment on what is/or can be done to help these children?
  • DB, Cayce
    Like others, I am sensitive to the plight of homeless children (and what a beautiful young girl that was in your opening) and those that find themselve in that situation through no fault of their own. But the young lady you interviewed in your segment last night who is unwed with two children and yet another on the way does not stir my sympathy. Her self-centered and reckless lifestyle places a burden on her and the taxpayers of our state, and it is likely her children will become part of the continuing cycle of homelessness and poverty. Perhaps you should have mentioned that. However, I congratulate you on an interesting segment.
  • MF, Columbia
    After watching your "Hidden Neighbors" story tonight, it's been the first time I've had the desire to comment on any news story I've seen over the years, on any network thus far.  I just wanted to say what a great job I think you did by actually going into the world of the homeless, giving a real first hand account.  Kudos to you and your camera man for having the guts to step out of the norm!
  • AJ, Lexington
    Craig, thanks so much for doing the story on the homeless. I watched it on your web site and I also read your story and blog on the web site. My heart goes out to them, especially the six year old girl. I know God loves every person, but it is easy for us to ignore the homeless. They do not have many people lobbying on their behalf. You do a great job on TV and you obviously care about people and your job.
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