Sunday, November 4, 2012

Homelessness is more than simply being without shelter

What is homelessness?

It's been a couple of days since my last post. What is your answer to “what is homelessness?”

What do you feel, think, believe?

I feel, think, and believe that homelessness is much more than simply being without adequate shelter.

Let me tell you I was totally surprised to find on the web phrasing that is somewhat akin to the way I perceive homelessness. To give you a means of exploring what I think and feel, I'm linking to the article (go to the middle of the page and read “Another definition of homelessness – by people who experience it):

...that “knocked my socks off” (all puns intended when you think of socks and those experiencing street homelessness)

When you were pondering about homelessness what images, scenes, types of people, scents, and reactions flowed through your mind?  

Did you think of people who are worthy of respect? People who want to be open?  People who are compassionate?  People who have empathy?  People who have a commitment the same as you to speaking the truth?

Did you ponder people who have strength and capability?

Did you consider people with a deep desire to give their best and achieve potential, just as you strive to do?

Were your ruminations about people who are deviant, disorderly, flawed in character, vagrants, vagabonds, tramps, beggars, bums, mendicants, indigents, itinerants, the underclass, hoboes, hustlers, backsliders, idlers, and slackhands, not to mention addicts, mentally disabled, physically disabled, or perhaps recalcitrant criminals?

Your thoughts -- did they follow a philosophical bent?
For example, homelessness is:
  • a choice
  • a crime
  • a disease
  • an economic problem
  • a growing problem
  • a global problem
  • a health-related social issue
  • a housing problem
  • a human rights issue
  • a lifestyle choice
  • a long-term condition
  • a serious problem 
  • a social issue
  • a social problem
  • a symptom
  • a violation of human rights
  • someone else's problem

Perhaps your thoughts drifted into the causes of homelessness?  You spent time delving into concepts put forth succinctly by the National Coalition for the Homeless: foreclosure, poverty, eroding work opportunities, decline in public assistance for poor families, lack of affordable housing, lack of affordable health care, domestic violence, mental illness, addiction disorders -- 

I particularly like their conclusion statement:
"Homelessness results from a complex set of circumstances that require people to choose between food, shelter, and other basic needs. Only a concerted effort to ensure jobs that pay a living wage, adequate support for those who cannot work, affordable housing, and access to health care will bring an end to homelessness."

Did you by chance think of the people you know, have seen, or have shared breathing the same air with?  Friends, friends of friends, work associates, clients you work with, or members of those you call family?

More importantly, was one of the thoughts that passed through your mind this one?
Homelessness is something that can be resolved.

I've got some more links for you to explore.  This is by NO MEANS an exhaustive list -- it barely even begins to scratch the surface.

I want to spark your exploration of your beliefs, why you have your beliefs, and whether or not the beliefs you currently choose to hold facilitate transformation of your world into something you want it to be.  

Thoughts to explore, by the way, these links are in no particular order -- simply what I was able to cut and paste first, next, and next:


Stories of Homelessness - The People who have experienced/are experiencing homelessness:

We can End Homelessness

Again, I say to you, these links are but a mere drop in the bucket of online places you can go to explore Homelessness.

On top of that, as a person who has experienced homelessness (in terms of not having shelter, food, living necessities over nine times in my lifetime of nearly 58 years) you can always ask me how I have managed to survive, and how I believe people can be helped.  ::grin:: However, I will warn you, I'm gonna cover that in the blog posts as well, so ... I look forward to your stopping back by now and again!

Homelessness is more than simply being without shelter.  Ask me about it.  Go ahead, I triple-dog dare ya!

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