Homelessness and Coronavirus
When it comes to the homeless population they are the most vulnerable and unprotected communities - so what happens when a global virus overtakes the world and insists everyone stay at home, practice good hygiene and do social distancing? This is all good for those that have the luxury of having a roof over their head but for the 500K plus homeless people in the USA this isn't an option.
One non-profit organization based out of Atlanta called Love Beyond Walls and founded by Terrence Lester is providing portable wash sinks to the Atlanta homeless community - with the help of Multi Grammy Award-winning platinum selling artist Lacrae they are helping the homeless clean their hands and try to avoid catching Coronavirus.
We spoke to Terrence Lester about this initiative called "Love Sinks In" in our latest ParlayMe Power Players Podcast - listen to it here
Love Beyond Walls has installed portable hand washing stations around the Atlanta Metro Area for homeless and displaced people to clean their hands in response to Coronavirus (Covid19). The initiative kicked off on Thursday March 19th at Love Beyond Wall’s Center located at 3270 East Main Street, College Park, GA 30337.
Lecrae joined the Love Beyond Walls team to begin assembling the sinks after which they where filled with water, loaded on trucks, and distributed to key locations frequented by the homeless in the Atlanta Metro Area.
The initiative was developed by Terence Lester, executive director of Love Beyond Walls, an organization whose mission is to “restore dignity to the homeless and poor by providing a voice, visibility, shelter, community, and grooming and support services to achieve self-sufficiency.” Lester who was once counted amongst Atlanta’s homeless is now founder of Love Beyond Walls and is pursuing his PH.D. in Public Policy & Social Change. “We’re excited to have Lecrae be involved with our work at Love Beyond Walls because he understands the importance of restoring the community and affirming the dignity of those who are unseen. Lecrae understands that it takes both faith and action to provide real restoration in our communities and world. Jesus washed feet, now we have an opportunity to wash hands and provide that same type of restoration in a modern way.”
“I’ve been following Covid19 quite intently since it’s become a pandemic and first and foremost, I want to remind people THIS IS NOT THE END!” shares Lecrae. “While we can heed The Center For Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to stay away from others who are sick, avoid crowds, and properly wash our hands, I can’t help but think about those living on the street who have no way to bathe or wash their hands. People who may eat, sleep, and congregate so close to each other that social distancing is not possible. Partnering with Love Beyond Walls is my way of doing what Jesus did which is serve humanity. I’m humbled to support the work of organizations like Love Beyond Walls who help, serve, bring light, love, peace, and restoration every day.”
About Love Beyond Walls
In 2004, Terence and Cecilia gathered two trash bags filled with clothes and walked through the streets of downtown Atlanta. On Auburn Ave, Terence and Cecilia encountered a homeless woman. “Do you know anyone who needs clothes or shoes?” Cecilia asked. The lady immediately responded, “Of course, I need some right now!” When this warm-hearted lady rummaged through the two bags, she came across a pair of black shoes, and started jumping up and down with excitement. “I just prayed for a pair of shoes last night, and God answered.” Terence and Cecilia looked at each other, and in that moment—the concept of “Love Beyond Walls” was born. On the ride home, they discussed ways to mobilize others to join them in moving past the walls that divide people, and to take love to people in creative ways. That day, they both became compassionate about work in the trenches, and the desire to love people where they were. In 2013, Terence formalized the concept of Love Beyond Walls as more than just an idea by incorporating as a nonprofit and living as homeless person in the heart of the City of Atlanta. With the permission of his family, he lived on the streets to understand the sufferings of those faced with homelessness and poverty. He was put out of shelters, slept under bridges, ate handouts, begged for money, got put out of restaurants, stayed up countless days, and experienced every aspect of homelessness first-hand. He wanted to wear the shoes of the people the organization serves. The organization has focused on raising awareness of the realities and needs of those experiencing lack and vulnerability, and using that vehicle as a way of mobilizing people to take part in those stories. We continually raise awareness and mobilize an army of people who dare to get involved in breaking down barriers and dreaming up new solutions. Since starting, Love Beyond Walls has mobilized thousands of people to serve those that are vulnerable and forgotten. Love Beyond Walls is a 501(c)(3) organization recognized by the federal government.
Lecrae is a multi-Grammy Award-winning platinum selling artist, New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur, speaker, thought leader, philanthropist and Co-Owner/President of Reach Records. His 2014 album, Anomaly, to date, he has sold more than 3 million copies and been nominated for 5 Grammy Awards including a win for Best Gospel Album, 15 Dove Awards, one Billboard Music Award, and received both a Soul Train Music Award and BET Hip-Hop Nomination. He will release a new single, “Set Me Free” on Friday, March 20th and his 9th album, Restoration, mid-May.
Lecrae is partnered on several major real estate projects to restore Atlanta’s English Avenue aka The Bluffs, an area known for its rampant drug trafficking and violent crime statistics. Only a block away from the new Mercedes Benz Stadium, two-thirds of its residents live below the federal poverty line and 44% of the homes are vacant. As part Lecrae and Peace Prep’s Restoration campaign he has partnered with Invest Atlanta to revitalize English Avenue!