Seattle recognition of homeless

P. Myers (mpwr@u.washington.edu)
Tue, 16 Jun 1998 17:02:49 -0700 (PDT)


I am writing to, first, congratulate Mayor Schell and those City Council
members who have spoken to homelessness as a condition that is rectifiable
and addressable, and to strongly urge the Mayor and City Council to meet
and work with WHEEL and SHARE, as the cumulative wisdom of these
organizations re homelessness, and their methods of operation and
decision-making/power sharing offer the most effective, timely
means-by-which to begin and maintain efforts to eradicate this condition.
Their knowledge is broad, articulate and well-defined. 

Ultimately, the most effective methods for addressing homelessness will
come from homeless and previously homeless ourselves.  We are neither
problems to solve, something "out there" or "not like others" nor are we
more dangerous than the homed citizen, in spite of incredible stresses,
many unnecessarily placed on us by agendaed and mistakenly fearful and
blaming interest groups that demonize as they profess to "help."

We often walk alone; those of us most needing the knowledge of community
and mutuality.  Sweeps such as that in the "Jungle" simply make our coming
together to dialogue, problem solve and find our own voices, and reown
*our identities more difficult.  Thank goodness that Seattle has Speakeasy
and RealChange, and that lists such as hpn exist to make this effort
somewhat easier! 

Nationwide, homeless are working to form alliances; to re-define
themselves and to consider their rights as fully franchised citizens; thus
the protests in San Diego and Santa Monica, resisting seasonal closure of
shelters, and the ongoing efforts in Toronto and Ontario, working to
correct mistaken diagnoses of "social problems" and envoice a heretofore
voiceless population of individuals, struggling with similar externally
designed and implemented stressors.

We are learning to communicate beyond our individual and state/national
borders, and to support one another through counter-education and demands
for peer help and less judgemental service provision, from those whose
knowledge of our needs is filtered through personal bias and professional
hubris.

We are human beings and not unlike you who are homed.  

Please listen to SHARE and WHEEL.  Suspend your biases for just a little,
and let their truths influence your decisions.

Respectfully, Pat Myers

*********************************
"To live dangerously is to live
in the Borderland, where desire,
justice and love meet."
                    Henry Giroux