Re: proposal defense meeting 12-1

Donald Bokor (
Sun, 30 Nov 1997 23:03:19 -0800 (PST)

Dear Pat,

I think that we are addressing a very important issue here about what is
indeed defined as homelessness.

On Sun, 30 Nov 1997, P. Myers wrote:

> Don, Pat Myers here...what you're saying does make sense...please go
> "chronic" homelessness:  does the foreseen have to become reality,
> or is it the chronic *fear of a repeat of the homelessness that is key,
> for your definition?

Let me go one step further to define a thing that might be called
temporary homelessness as a situation in which the reality of homelessness
is experienced but it is accompanied by no fear that the person will
remain or re-experience homelessness.  

It is obvious that being homeless is the physical reality of not having a
home.  As a result, the degree of homelessness may be physical (as in
benign or malignant cancer), but the degree of intensity of that physical
reality may actually be a psychological state.  Somebody who has never
been homeless may see it as a temporary state, and go through the actions
necessary to end their homelessness.  However, as that homelessness
increases in duration or as the number of re-experiences of that state
increase, the person may start developing a fear (for example, of
rejection from social agencies that purport to help the homeless but in
actuality do nothing for the person, or of getting evicted for not being
able to continue to make rent or mortgage payments) that prevents them
from taking all of the necessary actions required to get a home.  So
chronic homelessness will be of longer duration and have a more intense
affect on the homeless person than temporary homelessness.  Finally, when
all efforts of the person to get a home fails they may just flat give up
on trying, and therefore become unable to see or act on a future that
includes a home.

Now where these ideas get slippery is that if homelessness is a
psychological state, then can a person who is in a slum apartment, and
unhappy with the situation but unable to get out of it, also be considered
homeless?  I think so.  With this idea I expand homelessness to anybody
who does not have or think they can have a home, whether or not they have
shelter.  Now I carry my home on my back (a tent) and I live on my home
(the earth) so I don't consider myself homeless, but everyone else does.
On the other hand, I morally object to a system of ownership and don't
believe in purchasing or renting shelter so that somebody else can make an
economic profit, and thus I consider myself homeless (because all of the
earth, which is my home, is partitioned by a bunch of greed mongers into
saleable lots) but others think that I choose it and thus deserve it.  So
there's my philosophical dilemma concerning homelessness, and also the
reason that I am advancing the idea of a grassroots movement to reclaim
the earth (or at least parts of it) as a homelands for all humans.

I hope this helps, and I would appreciate any feedback on these ideas that
you have to offer.  Especially, if I am choosing homelessness as a means
to protest a system that reproduces homelessness, then am I truly
homeless?  Or, if I am refusing to take the opportunity to join the system
which may potentially provide me with a home, then am I truly homeless?
Donald W. Bokor