Archive for June 5th, 2014

Comprehending the Plight of the Homeless

“Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted comprehend.”  Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose.

Last month, I pledged to hand out $2,000 in cash each month for the rest of the year to the homeless.  This month, my journey took me to downtown Tampa – the place where I’ve had more foreclosure cases than anywhere else.  Upon arriving, instead of just handing out hundreds right away, I stood.  I watched.  I watched several men near Stetson with all of their worldly belongings in backpacks on the ground.  I watched several other men near the Salvation Army on Estelle St. huddled around a plastic chess board, a few of them sleeping in the dirt, their clothes clearly not washed for a long time.

Watching them, it reminded me of that quote (above).  Re-read it.  Think about it.  Do you know what it’s like to be homeless?  Do judges?  Do Plaintiffs’ attorneys?  Does anyone involved in foreclosure-world know what it’s like (other than the homeowners themselves)?  To fear being thrown on the street?  I’ll admit it – I don’t.  Oh, I counsel those in that situation, and I try to empathize with their plight.  But do I *really* know what that feels like?  No.  That was clear to me as I watched those men, lying on the ground, dirty, hungry, and homeless.

This month, I didn’t hand out $2,000 in cash to these men I encountered.  I handed out $2,100.  The extra $100 wasn’t my money – it was a from a client, a wonderful man who sent me money with this letter.  Read the letter.  No, really – read it.  That letter … that’s what it’s all about, folks.  If you can’t relate to those for whom we’re fighting, then pay it forward.  If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re far better off than many others in the foreclosure crisis.  Thank you, Clay Peck.  Thank you for your kind words and your inspiration.

Years from now, when the foreclosure mess is all over, I don’t want people to remember Mark Stopa as the smartest or the best.  I want people to know I cared.  I want people to remember I always left a piece of myself, everywhere I went.  Every hearing, every case, every argument, every brief … I tried.  I might not truly comprehend the plight of the homeless, but I want everyone who crosses my path to know I care.  Because, more than anything, that’s what’s missing in foreclosure-world nowadays.

Mark Stopa

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