[Hpn] Close to Home: Remembrances & Insights

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Wed, 07 Nov 2001 05:32:17 -0500


Wednesday, November 7, 2001
Commentary


Close to Home: Homeless Remembrances & Street Insights

by Morgan W. Brown
E-mail: norsehorse@hotmail.com


This time of year never fails to bring to mind the many experiences I have 
had of trying to survive among the cold, damp, dark streets and woods during 
those times when there was nowhere else to live independently.

Homelessness is something that I have experienced in one form or another off 
and on over the past twenty-eight years. Despite these countless 
experiences, I was never able to get very good at coping with being 
homeless. It takes a lot out of me when I am without permanent, safe, warm, 
dry shelter.

There have been many times when these experiences, or something that 
happened to me during them, have made me feel utterly defeated, helpless, 
hopeless and worthless.

If it were not for all the support and assistance received when they were 
most needed, it is certain that things would have become much worse for me 
than they already happened to be.


Learned from the Streets

Homelessness can happen to anyone, at any time, for a variety of reasons.

Our society is built on the premise that it is better to share with others 
than it is to dictate and hold something over them. This is what I 
understand the Vermont motto, Freedom & Unity, to mean anyway.

Based on personal experience, along with my observations of others over the 
years as well, I am convinced that it is extremely critical to provide hope, 
opportunity, shelter, support and services to people when they need such 
assistance.

It is as crucial, however, to do this in a manner that does not force a 
person or family to choose between having access to these or having to give 
up certain freedoms and responsibilities  along with the independence and 
self-respect that goes with them -- that people who are housed may take 
forgranted, yet still prize for themselves as well.

Rather than attempting to manage, control or coerce people in ways that we 
may want to believe is for their own good, our efforts are best served when 
they are positively focused. This provides people with a better working role 
model for building faith and trust in themselves and with others.

No matter why or how many times or ways a person or family is in need, 
everyone deserves to be believed in and offered the assistance they may seek 
and require toward helping themselves meet their needs.

In this way, people are not only helped toward becoming housed again, but 
they are more easily and freely encouraged to learn or enhance skills, 
strengths and abilities of their own that anyone needs to be independent 
members of the community.

Time and time again, I have seen that what can make a difference in the 
circumstances and well being of a person or family who is homeless is when 
they receive quality contact, support, encouragement, services and shelter 
when needed.

Our communities will be enriched and strengthened when each individual and 
family living within them has permanent, safe, decent and affordable 
housing, along with the other usual and basic needed opportunities, from 
which to thrive and grow.


Morgan W. Brown is a homeless activist living in Montpelier Vermont USA.

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Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA







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