[Hpn] my two cents...

Joseph Reynolds reynolds@webmail.pe.net
Sun, 07 Jan 2001 15:04:27 0

  I don't expect this will be the last word on what I see as a discussion that can run on interminably. But here goes anyhow.
  I find it a strange dispute over the ways and means out of homelessness. Sure we all need to rely on ourselves. Doesn't everyone? However that said let's also face another fact. No one "gets out" solely on their own. At this time I have a small place (1 room with bathroom) that I pay for on my own earnings - I think everyone is familiar with my carping about how I was turned down by food stamps and all aid here in California. However my income didn't appear magically. Others had to decide to trust me enough - to take the personal interest - to hire me. I may have shown what I can do but someone had to take the chance (of me being a complete screwup) to give me even a small chance!
  More than any of you I feel we can't rely on gov't help. But for different reasons. All these agencies, including the Salvation Army, have their place in this. Unfortunately, they are failing to do their job. Everyone has a warehouse mentality in those places. But it is what they were set up to do. They have become obsessively self-righteous and fail to see their "clients" as people. The state and feds talk a good fight on homelessness and that is all.
   Unless we force them to deal with us fairly and decently. Just read what lucinda posted about the shelter forcing out her 13 yr. old daughter because she was disruptive and maybe a real pain in the butt. What would anyone expect, after all she was 13 and as someone who has raised teen girls I can tell you that they can inspire daydreams of slaughter! However tempted, don't try it! 
If I had put either of them out on the street I would have been arrested for child endangerment no matter what the provocation! And to also inflict punisment on the rest of her family!? 
   The spirit if human charity is not only not strained , in some places it isn't even lightly exercised!
   On msnbc I saw this past week a snippet on a homeless man not looking to get off the streets - he gets no state/federal monies; he earns his money recycling cans.And on another news channel last night there was a report on that homeless center in Florida that sends "clients" out in orange T-shirts to sell their newspaper.( I wonder if homeless people are becoming "fashionably" newsworthy? Or is it just the ones who fit a certain ideal?)
  Before I stray from the subject I must say that any program will be less than perfect and that there will be a lot of hucksters trying to unfairly profit off others problems. However no one makes it in their own. Sometimes luck matters as much as anything else. If if haden't been for the local theatre group, Shakespeare-Off-Fringe, I would not have gotten the chances I have been given.
  I have earbed what I have but first someone else had to make the decision to give me that opportunity.
  While no one "owed" me a living, they did not block it either indeed they helped me. Now I try to help some others. I've been told I don't" have" to.
But if not me then who? I'm here - you aren't. I'm not claiming I can solve anyone's problem (heck, don't even know that I've solved mine!) but I can try to help. Espec if I can help someone to find their way out,
   Personally I would love it if the incoming presidential cabinet were required to live anonymously on the streets for 5 or 6 months in shelters or in a car (non-running), just long enough to wonder if they were going to get out or had been forgotten.
   We need to rely on ourslves first. We also need other people to rely on us and one another. There are as many ways out as there are in. what works for me can be a disaster for someone else. And our brothers and sisters who aren't homeless need to stop acting like distant, very distant, cousins.
   I hope this doesn't sound too disjointed. I've been going through some heavy depression and it has made it hard to express myself. I think I relied on having a place a little to heavily to fix my situation. I still feel strongly isolated from common humanity. On the pos side I have you people in HPN especially those who have become particular friends of mine (Hi Lucy! Hi Harmony and B-T!), pen-pal kitty and some old friends who have started to pop up in my e-mail (after a decade!) and my sis in Norway (love you Siri).Not to forget my dear JennL! Why do I mention these? Because without them I would be dead. Not as-good-as, I mean dead.
   We need other people to give us hope without which no one has a chance.
   Zen hugs, jos