Meet Richard Berry: Homeless advocate, visits Arcadia Monday

The Rev. Richard Berry advocates for the voiceless. A pastor and director for the Skowhagen Miracle Homeless Shelter in Maine, Berry has authored a book on homelessness and pushes his message across the nation. He will be in Arcadia on Monday, appearing on Jack Welch’s morning program on WFLN (1480 AM/104.5 FM) at 9 a.m.

Question: How did you get involved in advocating for the homeless?

Berry: “A friend became homeless and asked what I was going to do about it.”

Question: Steps to helping homeless? California is moving forward on shelter cities. Sarasota has a tiny town, for example. But money is an obstacle in places such as DeSoto County.

Berry: “Start with truly caring. Then start small if you are able to get a group together to house a few. Check with supermarkets about getting outdated food they throw away.”

Question: Some are skeptical about assisting homeless. How do you overcome this?

Berry: “It starts with individuals/small groups with a burden. Start in a way you are not dependent upon local, state or federal funding.”

Question: Average homeless person, what’s the backstory? And veterans seem to comprise many of them.

Berry: “No average homeless person. Veterans make up a good amount of homeless. I have a former assistant D.A. and assistant attorney general in my shelter. No one is exempt, under certain situations.”

Question: Advice for average person to help.

Berry: “Minds change as someone moves and shows how homeless are just people. Attiudes of some will begin to change, while some will never see the homeless as just people.”

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