There are thousands of people living in Miami who do not have any "home address". In 2017, this is a life-stopper for a person living in the United States. Why does a person without an address need a “Mail Box" with an address? For many reasons of modern life in the US and most likely in any materially developed country: a mailing address opens the possibility for a homeless person to access what are called "benefits". This is money from the federal or state governmentspaid out to people who cannot financially support themselves since they cannot work for a salary, due to chronic illness, physical or mental disability.
Ordinarily in a nation of 253 million cars and trucks on U.S. roads and a relatively poor public transit infrastructure, what identifies a person in everyday lifeis her or his driver's license. Normally, all people need to identify themselves to communicate with physicians, public clinics, hospitals, banks, and even to be able to use their local Methadone Maintenance Center (heroine and narcotics nontoxic substitution center). It is that place, too, where people can receive their medicine, packages and even send and receive faxes.
The MAIL ROOM at Camillus House is a practical Work of Mercy offering the chance for some normalization of an otherwise chaotic street life. There are even instances of persons receiving that potentially most tender of connections for a human being: mail from home.
Left to right: Volunteers Arlenis Barrios and Evan Wang;
staff Brother Mateo Fenza, Sister Carmen Cabrejos acj.
The person who gives a registered visitor his mail with a hello and a welcoming, encouraging smile and some personal words is making a very human contact in a world in which those without shelter are ignored, reviled, told by police to "move along"'; are put out of shops sometimes violently, and suffer other undignified and unmerited happenings
The Camillus MAIL ROOM is a place of normal hello's and well wishes. It is a small but significant repairer of one of society's greatest breaches, that rift between the ins and the outs, the haves and the have-nots.
Through this ministry, as Sister Carmen is particularly aware due to the Handmaids' General Congregation XX, we want to "welcome a communion [with disrespected persons] which is born in Eucharist and creat[es] a fraternal bond" which can heal. Ourselves and our homeless friends.
Kathleenjoy Cooper, acj with Carmen Elena Cabrejos, acj