Dogs Left Outside In Cold Makes News In Omaha, But Not Homeless Elderly Woman

(12-4-18) Speaking tonight.

I’m thrilled to be speaking tonight at the annual meeting of NAMI Cambridge/Middlesex Chapter! The meeting is being held at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA, between 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.. Please attend if you can.

Good Samaritan In Omaha Defends Her Decision To Help Homeless Elderly Woman

Good morning, Pete – I read the blog post from the writer commenting on our situation. I would like to point out a few differences in the two situations. 

Our situation is certainly not a case of DIY charity. We have not invited this woman into our home or given her money because we believe that is a deterrent from getting her the help she truly needs.  Also, to the writer’s point, one must be careful. Sadly, there are others that need help that we do not feel safe to allow in our vehicles. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t entitled to help, though.

 We thought that by putting this woman in the hands of the agency that she would get the helps she needs. The agency whose website states that they focus on services for mental illness and homelessness. The agency that receives federal funds to provide these services. 

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Reader Says Good Samaritan In Omaha Is Putting Herself in Danger Trying To Help Homeless Woman

(12-3-18) On my blog last Monday, a Good Samaritan described the barriers that she and her husband have encountered when attempting to find shelter for a homeless elderly woman in Omaha. Most of the comments on Facebook and those sent to me lauded her determined efforts. But the writer of this note felt otherwise.

Dear Mr. Earley,

I find it shocking that this couple in Omaha are getting involved so heavily with Geraldine. (The elderly homeless woman described in last week’s blog.)  They are putting themselves in grave danger without understanding the risks involved.

I made the mistake of befriending a polite young man of 18 who came from a broken home – abandoned by his mother at 6, raised by grandmother, but lived in a trashed out house with an alcoholic father who did not parent him.

I thought his issues were primarily caused by poverty.  My wife and I treated him like he was a grandson, since we have no grandchildren.  I helped him write a resume and get a real job.  He ate at our table, and I took him on several vacation trips.

Bad idea.

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Speaking In Manhattan Tomorrow: Please Join If You Are In Big Apple Area

(11-28-18) Eager to speak in Manhattan. Hope you can attend if you are in the area. And thank you Rabbi Joel Mosbacher for making this happen. 

An Evening With Pete Earley, Mental Health Advocate

Thursday, November 29 | 7:00PM | Temple Shaaray Tefila, 250 East 79th Street

Join Pete Earley, mental health advocate and New York Times best-selling author, to hear about the personal experiences which came to inspire his book Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness as a father fighting for his child and journalist in search of a better way in the “revolving doors” between hospitals and jails.

This event is hosted by Temple Shaaray Tefila, and sponsored in partnership with Manhattan Together/Metro IAF, a local faith-based organizing network of which BJ is a member. Manhattan Together is working to address issues of mass incarceration, especially the mis-incarceration of those with mental illness.

Call main line for information  212-535-8008

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Couple Tries To Help Elderly Homeless Woman In Omaha: Met With Suspicion, Broken Promises

(11-26-18) Why do we make it so difficult to help others? Here’s an email that I recently received. I have verified its facts.

Dear Pete,

I am writing from a possibly different perspective than you normally receive. My husband and I are trying to help an elderly person whom we did not know before helping her. I say trying to help her because we have not been successful thus far.  

While my story is about one woman, there are others whom I see everyday that are homeless and psychotic roaming our streets in Omaha. When walking my dog last week, we encountered a man who believed he was Jesus Christ. Another man with him said he was the Son of Satan. Both told me that they have been banned from shelters because they are insane. 

I’d like to introduce you to Geraldine. (Note from Pete. I elected to use a pseudonym but was told the woman’s actual name.)

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Creating Housing For Homeless In Unusual Places: Aging Legion Post Opening Doors To Vets In Need


(11-21-18) One of the real blessings in my life is my role as a board member of the Corporation for Supportive Housing, a national non-profit that finds innovative ways to reduce homelessness. Through the board, I have met some of our countries most dedicated and creative advocates, including Deborah Burkart, who told me recently about a clever Northern Virginia project. Here is the Washington Post’s take on this unique approach   to helping homeless veterans. 

Bravo Deborah! Every community needs out-of-the-box thinking such as this. 

Where ex-soldiers have socialized, they will soon find affordable housing

Published in The Washington Post. Written by Patricia Sullivan

A leak from the kitchen imperils a room where card players and potential pool sharks still occasionally congregate. The concrete-block walls exhale seven decades of cigar and cigarette smoke. The basement bar, built to accommodate more than two dozen, is never full — “On a good day, I might have five or six customers,” bartender Doris McNeil said.

So the Legion’s board decided it was time to sell the building, located on 1.4 grassy acres close to George Mason University in Arlington, Va. Developers pitched high-end, high-rise condos and housing for law students at nearby George Mason University.

But the old soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen decided to sell to a local affordable housing agency, drawn to the possibility of a modernized Legion post that will be built as part of the project and of providing much-needed apartments for struggling vets.

It is an approach much like the one taken by religious organizations in the past dozen years to convert under-used space into low-cost housing in return for a new, smaller worship space and the moral satisfaction that they are living their faith.

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Fairfax County Will Lose One Champion For Individuals With Mental Illnesses, Possibly Two. How Will This Impact Much Needed Reforms?

“I leave with grave concern for the future of our broken political system,” Supervisor John C. Cook said.

(11-19-18) Fairfax County is losing one of its strongest advocates for residents who are mentally ill and those who are homeless. And it may lose a second powerful voice too.

Braddock District Supervisor John C. Cook announced last week that he will not seek another term on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Board Chair Sharon Bulova, who has been on the board for 30 years, told The Washington Post that she will announce next month whether she’ll pursue a third term as chair.

Supervisor Cook and Chair Bulova have played pivotal roles, along with Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Ann Kincaid, in establishing our county’s Diversion First program that diverts individuals with mental illnesses from jail into treatment. Under their leadership, Fairfax County managed to go from skeletal diversion efforts to becoming a national model in less than two years.

Cook, a Republican, has been an outspoken advocate for housing and other social service programs. I have cited his tireless efforts on this page. He consistently explained why diverting and helping individuals who are sick is both the right thing to do morally and also financially, explaining that it can cost as much as $72,000 annually to keep an individual with a serious mental illness in our local detention center. Treating that same individual in a state hospital cost $22,500 annually. Providing them with treatment services in our community costs $7,500 and allows them to live in a neighborhood with friends and family.

Bulova courageously created an Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Committee after the police shooting of a county resident. I served on that panel and its recommendations have led to significant changes in how the Fairfax County Police Department deals with individuals with mental illnesses and others in our community.  

Losing Cook and possibly having Bulova retire (a Democrat and cancer survivor, she is consulting with her family over the Thanksgiving holiday before making a decision) will be a huge loss to families and individuals with mental illnesses.

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