[Hpn] Opinion submitted to Concord Monitor: Close to Home: Remembrances & Insights
Morgan W. Brown
Tue, 20 Nov 2001 03:05:31 -0500
Below is a forward of an opinion (op-ed) piece which I just put together and
submitted for publication to the Concord Monitor that may be of interest.
Morgan W. Brown
----Original Message Follows----
On: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 at 02:35:48 -0500
To: Concord Monitor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Morgan W. Brown <email@example.com> sent:
Submission: Opinion: Close to Home: Remembrances & Insights
Dear Editor, Concord Monitor
Submission for publication
Close to Home: Homeless Remembrances & Street Insights
by Morgan W. Brown
When I read the article "Homeless but hopeful: Woman lives by herself under
a tarp, but she is hardly alone,"
(Concord Monitor, Monday, November 19, 2001) the story of Elizabeth
Demeritt's experiences and those of others like her in the Concord area hit
very close to home for me.
Before I had read the article, this time of year did not fail 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.
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. The New Hampshire
motto was framed along the same lines, in my thinking anyway. I hope that
these motto's are not just empty words now, merely shadows and ghosts of a
past when they had once been cherished as having actual meaning which was
honored and struggled together for.
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.
For those who want to learn how they can meaningfully contribute to
preventing as well as ending homelessness in their own backyards, listen
very carefully to Elizabeth Demeritt and others like her who are or have
been homeless. She and others like us know more about it than anyone else,
we just cannot be expected to do it on our own so simply however.
None of us will be able to prevent or end homelessness altogether though
without stronger leadership, support, and resources from our federal
government that can and would lead our nation to ultimately eliminate
homelessness. Without that key partnership between federal, state and local
government and area local organizations and citizens, our efforts will fail
or at least come up very short.
We can do better.
To be successful we each need to go into a long-term campaign like this to
cultivate, plant and build. A positive focus tends to have a far better
chance to yield a harvest with many more positive results. Anything within
that yield which seems to be a negative factor or result can be used for
future fertilizer to learn and grow from. A negative focus is sure to only
continue the vicious cycle many have grown to accept as their or others
Embrace a person who is homeless or on the edges of homelessness by
embracing the challenge to end homelessness once and for all.
Mr. Morgan W. Brown is a homeless activist living in Montpelier Vermont.
For more information concerning homelessness & housing available online, go
Homeless & Housing Online Information Resource Center:
-------End of submitted opinion-------
Contact information provided for confirmation purposes
(Note: Contact information is not for publication):
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Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
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