I am housed not because of “the system”, I am housed in spite of it.
I've been housed since 2/2/11. Not long in the scheme of things; yet a very profound experience.
Homelessness is a social ill that can be obliviated. I am proof of it. Others that I know are proof of it.
Many, many, many, many, many, many …. many others I know want to be proof of it.
Homelessness is about the unusual, the dispossessed – the exiled ones. It is a primeval issue.
It's about perceived unacceptability, and is exacerbated by misunderstanding; the cruelty of ignorance and/or intentional meanness.
It is about reviled and dis-empowered citizens.
It's about banishment.
The homeless person goes from pillar to post trying to find a resolution: a place to be.
Homelessness is about people who may not act in someone else's time-honored way; who may not reverberate with or reflect an arbitrarily given set of values.
In short it's about people just like you and me.
In the current paradigm the doors we knock at cause us to feel outcast over and over and over again. (Did you reverberate with that sentence? Would it have made a difference to you if I had typed “we, the homeless”?)
Those who become homeless begin to believe the negative images reflected back to them by family, friends, and culture.
The bottomline-economic worldview paradigm doesn't tell the truth about the wound of homelessness.
Methods derived from that particular worldview do nothing to heal homelessness. In fact, they keep it as a festering, bubbling sore.
A paradigm without awareness, kindness, permission and freedom packs whatever is easiest or most available into the void. It causes people to freeze, deprives of nourishment, and sets up a feedback loop of negation, denial, vetoes, and oblivion.
You see in the homeless people ready to apologize for taking up space and their opposite, people ready to fight dramatically, loudly, and angrily for their right to take up space. You see, people trying to fold them selves into shapes that are not theirs, and people wildly striking out to be the shape they actually are.
Because of individuals who recognized their own sense of worth, their own power, their own ability to take action, their own ability to be aware … I am housed. I have shape, I have space to be.
These people took action, acted with awareness, kindness, permission and freedom:
Founder of www.invisiblepeople.tv and www.wearevisible.com; and passionate ambassador/advocate of the homeless at PATH Achieve Glendale (www.achieveglendale.org).
Shelene Brown part of the heart and soul of www.skip1.org
Barbara Cameron also part of the heart and soul of www.skip1.org
While not part of the actual housing, but a huge part of adjusting to housing are:
The OutReach Team at PATH Achieve Glendale, each and every soul on it.
The brilliant EMDR psycho-therapist employed by PATH Achieve Glendale for Wellness Wednesdays.
The ingredients important to transform homelessness (and other social ills) are kindness, permission and freedom. Each one of these people reflects you and me – they do not reflect “the system”.
Transforming homelessness locally and globally is nothing less than teaching, inspiring, and helping yourself and others in your path toward personal empowerment. Each person I referenced above uses their own ways-and-means to empower themselves and others.
Empowering yourself (and the ripple effect of that empowerment touching those around you) is what changes the paradigm generating homelessness and other social ills. This is what will affect you, your family, your community, and your world.
We all have the same needs: to have our talents, our gifts, and our limitations respectfully acknowledged and accepted.
I am housed not because of “the system”, I am housed because others were aware of their own sense of worth, their own power, their own ability to take action, their own ability to be aware. I am housed. I have shape, I have space to be.
And I, in turn, am empowered. Are you?