Re: sustainable communities - no want, no war, nobosses
Sun, 12 Dec 1999 23:20:01 -0500

Your post is inspiring to me Tom!! I was given my eviction and my salvation
from an apt i didn't like anyway, and a lord who definitely does not have
any compassion.
I have posted before about my work with Ending Homeless with Vision in
Action. Our group is soon to be incorporated with Citiworks, in NYC.
Citiworks is a collective of small organizations that empower the city for
the greater good of all.
My counterpart in the group can give you more info as I have only sat in on
my first meeting last week.
As for me, well I don't drive either. I'm the product of a New York Jewish
family with strong roots here. And mom's side is  from a Southern quiet
manufacturing family.
When growing up in Brooklyn, i ddn't know the meaning of wealth. Frankly,
our little 2.5 rooms could barely hold 2 parents and me and my sister.
I felt very emotional about what went on at home and still have issues about
home, about security and safety.  Maybe they taught me things about being
poor, about working early in life, and about just getting by or leaving hard
work to those that could want to do it.  Living in NYC for them didn't faze
their spirits.
Or were they ignorant, fearflul? I went further in schooling than they ever
did, but i faced the same lessons they did about money. Sure, dad worked in
jobs for years at a time.  He doesn't know how hard it can be to find or
even keep a job. I had to move to learn a lot of lessons about being secure
in the outer world..
There are inner resources too of course.  These ideals can be learned and
recognized. part of that work has come from self help and through some much
needed healing of my past.  I want to assist in making the difference for
NYC as well as here in NJ and other places where the reality of homelessness
is too much to bear.
Keep the faith, and be vigilant in thought.
Dan Herman

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Musselwhite" <>
To: "HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK list" <>; "Tom Boland"
Sent: Sunday, December 12, 1999 8:50 PM
Subject: sustainable communities - no want, no war, nobosses

> Tom,
> It is difficult for me to figure out where to even start the conversation.
> There are so many "mindsets"; the different perspectives people have, the
> personal prejudice we all have that cause us to see the world the way we
> and understand the possibilities and opportunities that could be
> Certainly, for me, human rights seem to be a significant part of the
> equation.  It is
> hard to visualize a peaceful world when so many get by on so little,
> especially when a few of the much more prosperous are so obviously
> benefiting from the hardships of others.  Of course landlords don't
> particularly like that argument, and I suspect that there are as many
> landlords that are democrats these days as there are republicans.  When
> power and control are used to maintain advantage and affluence at the
> expense of the lives, health and wellbeing of the controlled . . . that
> don't spell peace.
> Let me share a little of what's going on here.
> Yesterday I got an "eviction" notice.  A "nice" letter from my "yuppie,
> non-profit" landlord explaining that they need more space for their own
> operations and we (Homeless Action Coalition, Project Recover, et al) need
> to find new digs.  I probably shouldn't be surprised, their staff has
> completely rolled over through the past year or so, and I don't much like
> their new direction.  The tension has been growing for some time.  They
> made the last payment on their house this month, and they don't
> need our rent anymore to help out there.  Mostly children of affluent
> parents, most driving new cars, I suspect they are "trying to help me" out
> of my somewhat spartan lifestyle by "rocking my boat".  Oh well, that type
> of "new age" affluence, "enlightened self interest", neo-liberal theme for
> show where they perceive themselves as "fighting" for "social justice"
> epitomizes most of the "problem" for me.  I'm not feeling terribly
> threatened (yet) and have great faith that it will all work out for the
> best.
> Meanwhile, today I get a phone call from a woman who has been camped
> (probably with her partner/spouse) in a local park for the past few weeks.
> Their tent was discovered by the police who informed them that camping in
> the park is illegal and gave them 24 hours to move.  She ask where she
> put up a tent legally.
> I had to tell her there is no place.  Actually (as I explained to her) if
> she could find a person in the city limits who would allow them to camp in
> their backyard that is now legal.  We won that "great victory" two years
> ago.  What we haven't been able to do is develop a mechanism that connects
> the people with the need with the people who can help.
> Point is, these types of disparities don't seem to be moving us toward a
> less destructive, more sustainable, type of community (at any level).
> who already have the most can't get past the notion that they need even
> more.  Enough on this for now.
> Two other issues that relate directly to sustainability (and are reflected
> in life-style and social/economic class) are housing and transportation.
> Here I suppose I'll say that the whole picture changed radically for me
> in 1992/93.  Previously it was more "academic".  It got "real" when a
> disability knocked me out of my profession and my workers comp claim was
> denied (on the basis of a pre-existing condition).  Another oh well here.
> My life has changed remarkably over the past 7 years.  I no longer own a
> motor vehicle and (at least for a few more days) live in a 12 foot travel
> trailer parked in the landlord/non-profit's backyard.  In 1990 I was
> $3000/mo and having a hard time getting along.  Now I get $300/mo as a
> stipend from Project Recover/HAC and my "quality of life" has improved
> incredibly.  I get to work about 20 hours a day in service to those with
> greatest needs, both directly and advocating/educating for the changes we
> need, in law and attitude, to make life at least possible (for me too!)
> for the many others who are effectively criminalized on the basis of their
> economic status.
> Sustainability (sigh) maybe it's an impossible quest.  Obviously not
> everybody wants what I got, and I don't want what many others seem to
> so much.  I like being able to work mostly out of my home, as humble as it
> may be, I like not commuting 20 miles back and forth every day to "earn a
> living".  Yes I suppose there is a cost, I can't jump in the car and drive
> over to the coast on the spur of the moment for a change of scenery, so
> had to learn to love the scenery I have.  I think I probably sleep better
> knowing that I'm not pouring hydrocarbons into the atmosphere.  Seems more
> sustainable to me.
> Over the past 10 years I have written several grant proposals on the
> development of ecologically and economically sustainable communities (that
> could also help meet a number of unmet social needs).  We haven't received
> much funding, several grants in the $5000. range over the past 6 years or
> has kept us going but not enough to actually put much on the ground.
> If you send me your mailing address I'll put you on the mailing list for
> "street paper" 'oIkos.
> I like to believe that I use it as a forum for homelessness/hunger/social
> issues and how they relate to sustainability.  Maybe I'll get better at
> getting an online version happening before too much longer.
> later,
> Tom M.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Tom Boland <>
> To: Tom Musselwhite <>
> Sent: Sunday, December 12, 1999 1:09 PM
> Subject: Re: Greenstar - sustainable communities - no want, no war,
> > Tom, thanks for your post and call for sustainable communities,
> > from the greed-war economy.  Let's brainstorm online the outline of the
> > future we want.
> >
> > I share your concern to advance sustainable lifestlyes.  I've taught on
> the
> > subject, have never owned a car, and have lived about 25 of 30 adult
> > near or well below USA poverty level.
> >
> > Let's reenvision and remanifest sustainable communities.
> >
> > For a world without want and war. -- "Harmonica Tom" of North East
> > Family
> >
> >
> > *******************************************************
> > 7,000+ POSTS by or via homeless & ex-homeless people
> > Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy
> > *******************************************************
> >