[Hpn] Close to Home: Remembrances & Insights
Morgan W. Brown
Wed, 07 Nov 2001 05:32:17 -0500
Wednesday, November 7, 2001
Close to Home: Homeless Remembrances & Street Insights
by Morgan W. Brown
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,
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
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
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.
---End of forward---
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
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