TJ and Alie

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Right now at this very moment, homeless people are sleeping outside in the freezing cold. In small rural communities like Ithaca, New York there are not enough services for the people that are in need. The cost of housing continues to rise causing more homelessness, but funding for social services continues to be reduced.

This past week people started saying a phrase I’ve never heard before. “Bomb cyclone” hit the Northeast causing areas in Central and Upstate New York to drop below zero degrees, yet even in negative temperatures over 20 people slept outside in a tent encampment known as the “Jungle.”

Many of the homeless men and women living in the Jungle have jobs, but the Ithaca’s high cost of housing leaves them no choice but to live in a tent outside.

TJ and Alie lost their jobs a few months back. TJ was able to get another job at a fast food restaurant, but it doesn’t pay enough for them to get an apartment. In America today homelessness has become affordable housing.

“We can help you, but we can help you stay in this situation” is how Alie describes support services. There is real truth to that. Homeless services never have enough funding, and in rural communities like Ithaca, getting support is much harder because there are fewer services than in urban areas. Added to that the layers of bureaucracy just to help even one person is maddening. The homeless services sector does not make it easy for people to get out of homelessness.

Alie’s last wish was to marry TJ. Just yesterday TJ asked Alie to marry him, and the couple got engaged. TJ’s last wish was to have enough funds to have an awesome wedding. If you’d like to make that wish happen here is a link to a GoFundMe page to help with the cost of their wedding.

If you’d like to support some of the amazing people trying to help our homeless friends in Ithaca visit their Facebook page here.


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