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Bobby O: Take Pride in Caring for Others

Ohneiser says Loudoun should be proud of its work to care for those who have fallen on hard times.

As my wife Susan and I find ourselves as empty nesters with two boys in college, we took a trip recently to the northwest. No – I'm not going to bore you with travel trivia, but rather point out a huge difference noticed between our community here in Loudoun and what we saw from Portland to Vancouver via Seattle and Victoria.

The people were exceptionally friendly, food was abundant, roads and landscaping were well kept and the homeless were everywhere. Yes – our tour guide commented that there were only 7,000 homeless on the streets of Seattle. There were homeless encampments in Portland and entire areas in picturesque Vancouver where pan handling was so prominent that travelers were warned not to go into certain areas after dark.

In Loudoun, the Board of Supervisors has quietly sponsored multiple charity organizations such as Good Shepherd Alliance (where I am proud to volunteer as vice chairman), which provides facilities to help the least fortunate thereby avoiding on the street homeless in Loudoun. To me a mark of a sustainable society is what it does for the least fortunate not how it attacks the most successful or creates unneeded overlay regulation to employ so many TSA attendants they literally were bumping into each other in every airport we were forced to go through on this trip.

Even in Loudoun there are literally thousands of requests for assistance from near homeless families that are turned away, so the job is not done by a long shot.

It should be noted that Loudoun stands well above most counties I've visited in caring for its poor. Organizations like the Good Shepherd Alliance seem to magically turn recycled goods donated by Loudoun residents into case management resources and clean facilities allowing challenged families and women into proven programs to help them get back on their feet into jobs and their own residences NOT on our streets begging for help.

In this time of back to school excitement and celebration the Redskins might actually make the playoffs this year I implore everyone to keep up the good work and donate your best unused clothing (and cash if you have it) to the Good Shepherd Alliance so it can avoid turning away homeless children which it is forced to now do EVERY MONTH! Also thank your Supervisor (regardless if you like his or her politics) for continuing to support local charities in this honorable quest to keep homeless from having to live on the streets in one of the weathiest counties on earth.

I did not take pictures of the homeless encampments as it was a scar on the good names of these cities that claim to be highly sustainable and conscientious.

Glenn Maravetz October 12, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Bob, we have found something to agree on. Nice article and thoughts.
Mark Gunderman October 12, 2012 at 08:04 PM
The GSA has a different philosophy than most non-profit organizations. Although those Loudoun residents who benefit from the GSA’s services are in a difficult situation that others may view as being needy or problematic, the GSA believes that their “neighbors” and “guests” have many capabilities and resources to offer to their own and the community’s benefit. The non-profit seeks to enable their guests to employ their assets, skills and talents to help themselves in obtaining self-sufficiency and self-worth rather than offering another temporary program that continues their dependency on others. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.

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