Re: repost of plan for homeless organization

Bonnie Briggs (
Thu, 04 Dec 1997 06:11:58 PST

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>Date: Wed, 3 Dec 1997 13:27:19 -0800 (PST)
>From: Donald Bokor <>
>Subject: repost of plan for homeless organization
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>Dear HPN,
>I just wanted to reiterate my offer to collaborate with all of you.
>(From an earlier post.)
>Upstream versus downstream funding.
>Homeownership and privatization.
>Social entrepreneurship.
>What are we?
>Former or current homeless, and former or current activists for the
>Each one of us has a unique set of experiences and circumstances to 
>to our common communication and organization.
>Our histories provide us with indivdual strengths that when matched 
>other's strengths will create synergies that yield material outcomes.
>What am I saying?
>As activists we are a form of social practitioner.
>As social practitioners we bring historical biases into the 
>of our societal forms.
>In order to reveal and overcome negative biases we need to methodically
>evaluate our practices and update them in response to analysis of
>Do I have an idea?
>Well, if I do then it is something that we may all want to become a 
>I propose that we form a research organization that functions as an
>information and resource warehouse on the successes and failures of
>different practices for dealing with homelessness.
>Ultimately the organization can go upstream for funding of sociological
>research on poverty, and of government programs on poverty relief; or, 
>can go downstream for resources that are otherwise latent in the poor
>What are my concerns?
>In order to start an organization that becomes a social entrepreneur in
>the field of homelessness, I believe it is necessary to be 
>regarding homeownership.
>Since I believe that there is a limited physical space for homes, but 
>infinite demand for housing, then I believe that it is impossible for
>everybody to achieve homeownership; and, because it is impossible for
>everybody to achieve this goal, then it is an inappropriate goal to 
>for in social organization (in fact, it could be called immoral if you 
>an ethical calcullus to the discussion).
>If we eliminate private or individual homeownership from our 
>we must substitute for it an acheivable goal, which I propose to be 
>ownership of shared living spaces.

Bonnie here...
  That's fine, Donald. But not everyone can live in a shared situation. 
Some people need to have their own space. I understand your concern for 
using up land to build housing. We don't need to. Their are enough empty 
buildings that could be taken over and made into housing. Why not get 
the homeless together and make over some abandoned office buildings into 
apartments? As homeless people, we have little or no privacy. That is 
the one of the things, I believe, homeless people crave when they come 
off the street. Aren't they entitled to that? I know when my husband and 
I came off the street, we couldn't wait to have our own space. I will 
never live shared again.  

  >The loss of privacy is proposed to be offset by the gain in security 
>knowing that everyone can be sheltered if we all work together.

  Security is another reason for homeless people having their own space. 
Not only security of person and possession, but also security of mind. 
Being able to come home and close the door on the world and be alone. 

   >We create shared living spaces by reclaiming lands from private use 
>environmentally sustainable public use.

  Reclaiming abandoned office and condo space will free land up for food 
production and will be environmentally sound. 

  >The environment is not a wilderness devoid of human presence, but 
rather a
>place in which humans survive, grow and learn to live in harmony with 
>rest of nature.

  I fully agree. We need to save what's left of the Earth and protect 
the environment. That's why we need to reclaim already existing 
buildings before we build new ones. 

  >Thus, saving the environment means to use lands for feeding and 
>humans in a manner that does not destroy the environment or the humans.
>But these are just my opinions on some of the goals I would like to see
>advanced in a homeless activist research organization.

  Overall, they're laudable goals. Maybe you just need to rethink some 
of them. 

>I am certainly willing to play some other role if any of you have 
>ideas of how to organize for helping the poor, or maybe we can share 
>and come up with some synthesis for an even beeter approach.
>Write me personally if you want to help me develop an organizational
>charter, or if you are willing to participate in a sociological study 
>homeless movement activists.
>More on this later.
>Peace and Love Always,
>Donald W. Bokor, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah.

  Those are some of my ideas. Are you willing to consider them? Does 
anyone else have any other ideas? 

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