[Hpn] Opinion submitted to Concord Monitor: Close to Home: Remembrances & Insights

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

----Original Message Follows----

On: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 at 02:35:48 -0500
To: Concord Monitor <letters@cmonitor.com>
Morgan W. Brown <norsehorse@hotmail.com> sent:

Submission: Opinion: Close to Home: Remembrances & Insights


Dear Editor, Concord Monitor


Submission for publication
Opinion


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," 
<http://www.concordmonitor.com/stories/front1101/homeless_1_2001.shtml> 
(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, 
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.

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 
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.

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 
fate.

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 
to:

Homeless & Housing Online Information Resource Center:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vthome/links

-------End of submitted opinion-------

Contact information provided for confirmation purposes
(Note: Contact information is not for publication):

--snip, snip, snip--

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---End of message---

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




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