Monthly Archives: December 2012

Health and Homelessness

This is a story about a doctor who is doing a lot for the homeless in Boston (the story is in an interesting paper too… Street Roots on Word Press):

http://news.streetroots.org/2010/03/23/health-and-homelessness-front-lines-wdr-jim-oconnell

A study in Britain states that homelessness shortens a persons lifespan by 30 years:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/behindtheheadlines/news/2011-12-21-homeless-people-die-30-years-yonger-than-average/

Of course, this statistic depends greatly on the lifestyle of the homeless person, access to medical care and other resources. One study that I am looking for actually compares homelessness to cancer and states that being homeless shortens the lifespan the same way cancer does. So, I can surmise that individuals and agencies that look the other way and do not assist the homeless when they are trying to leave the streets are like doctors who ignore signs of cancer in a patient. The outcome is the same.


Homelessness And The Loss of Roots

Here is a great blog post that I wanted to share:

 

Homelessness And The Loss of Roots.


Taking Time To See, Listen To And Respect The Homeless This Holiday Season

Taking Time To See, Listen To And Respect The Homeless This Holiday Season.


Christmas Gift for Readers: A Free Download

Pile of gorgeous gifts

Pile of gorgeous gifts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can get a free download of my novel Brain Sections: Trapped in the Asylum by emailing me at brainsections@yahoo.com. You must send your request by January 1, 2013.

Thank you for being part of the community.


Danielle Steel’s Crusade to Help the Homeless

I came upon an interesting story as I was doing research. It is a sad story, but inspiring as well. It’s about the famous novel writer and how she tragically lost her 19 year old son and what she did to heal the wounds caused by his death.

http://www.sfgate.com/style/bigelow/article/Danielle-Steel-s-secret-forays-to-aid-homeless-4044412.php


Housing Update

The short answer? None. The Public housing department told me I couldn’t prove I was homeless to their satisfaction. Translate: I didn’t smell enough, I guess. They also expected me to be in a social service program and have a valid homeless verification for the whole four-year period. That’s crazy. Those verification are valid only 3 months and WHO would be in a social service program for four years? All the SSP caseworkers did when I was at the shelter is give me two print outs about jobs she found on Craigslist. The jobs I did get, I found myself. If they (the housing department) make it a stipulation on getting these to have a spot for housing, they should give you a 2 week warning to get your stuff together and be verified, not disqualify you when they send a letter out of the blue and expect you to have these on a continual basis.  Arrrggg.

Will update you as things go along.


Lo and Behold…

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just got a letter today about how my four-year old (that’s four years, folks) application for low-income housing has finally come to the surface of the pile and I am supposed to go to a meeting to show them I am still interested. Does this have ANYTHING  to do with the fact that I complained to another agency one week ago that I was having a hard time complying with their requirements because of homelessness, and that I have been waiting on the housing list for four years? Humm.

Anyway, the journey has begun and I will send you pictures of the place and give you up dates, when and if it all happens. You get to actually see someone get off the streets. Mind you, considering the surrounding situation and the types of gatekeepers in my dear city, I’m sure they will put me in the sorriest spot they can find. Not being negative, just realistic. The reason I (and others like me) have been waiting so long on the housing list is that we are not part of the favored group that gets housing here. Unfair, since the group I belong to (via my family background) has been building this city from the beginning and have a long history in this area.

But, at least it’s a bed and a kitchen (yeah! I can cook my own food) and a bathroom and I can get my stuff out of storage. Take care and have a Merry Christmas.


Getting the Message Out and Finding Answers to Homelessness

Found this blog with an interesting plan about how to get the message out about living on the streets:

http://streetroots.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/spend-24-hours-on-the-streets-with-street-roots-sr24/

I’ve been reading these many different blogs while doing research these past few months and have realised there are many things that my ‘hometown’ can do to recognise the root problems of homelessness in our community and create pathways for change.

One of the great things that other communities are doing to raise awareness is inviting citizens to sleep rough for one night, just to give them a taste of what homelessness is like. I think this helps to give people empathy for those with out a bed, four walls and privacy. Some groups take this a step forward and have gotten donations when participants get sponsored. A certain amount each night is pledged and given to charity. Great idea. When the community gets involved to bring awareness to the problems that homeless people face, it show that it cares.

In some communities, they are taking the sleeping rough for a good cause theme to greater heights. Local celebrities get involved and have gone a bit scruffy to wander the streets, just to spring their identity on those who would treat them unkindly. Ha. Gives the mean people something to think about.

One more thing that has come to my attention is the churches that are housing the homeless. The gym, which would go otherwise unused, is being opened to homeless people at night to help them get out of the cold. It would help so many people if churches and organizations would become involved by offering empty buildings, open land and vacant parking lots to those who are homeless. Just having a warm place to rest, and perhaps a sandwich, would save so many people from making decisions that could lead them down the wrong path.

The push to recognize small home communities as an option for people who can not afford ‘traditional housing’ would also help the homeless and those in poverty. Okay, I know. Building low-income apartments should solve the housing problem, but all too often the need for units out paces the supply. A small home community would only require a vacant piece of land (with basic water, sewage and electricity) and those who are able would build their own houses or have them built at a minimal cost. Small houses that they can afford. And it would cost the government so much less.

In places where small homes are not an option, like cities, there could be a system in place where people in the shelters can get help finding and establishing a shared housing situation. Properties that need fixing up could be rented to 3 or 4 people at a low rate in exchange for unskilled labor to do some of the work. Charities could donate housewares and furnishings, and the government would take some of the fear out of renting with relative strangers (who may not pay their rent) by guaranteeing that the rent will be covered if any short fall should arise. Of course, the delinquent renter would have to vacate (and reenter the shelter) and a new tenant (from the shelter) would be moved in to replace them. I know, this idea takes a lot of management, but it will save money in the long run and get people out of shelters in a much more orderly and secure way.

Just a few ideas. I’m sure there are many more.


Homeless Man Saves…

I was looking at a story that was very short in a street newspaper about how four homeless men came to the aid of a girl on a bus in Modesto, CA and wanted to read more, so I Googled “Homeless man saves” and then I found so many stories that I had to share them:

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2012/10/23/exclusive-homeless-man-saves-police-officer-from-attack/

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-11-14/news/os-homeless-saves-girl-abduction-20121114_1_homeless-man-abduction-attempts-deputies

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2218869/Gary-Wilson-saves-baby-Homeless-man-saves-newborn-emergency-delivery-Oklahoma-City-truck-stop.html

http://ournewsnow.com/national/1686/Homeless-Man-Saves-Toddler-From-Fire

http://elitedaily.com/elite/2012/homeless-man-saves-woman-beaten-husband-ninja-star/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-11801147

and finally the story I was originally looking for:  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57517979-504083/homeless-men-save-calif-teen-from-sexual-attack-report-says/

I looked for a local story about how a homeless man steered a city bus to safety after the driver was knocked out by a falling tree but got no matches on that even though it was covered on the news for a short time in my state. It’s a shame, every bad story seems to go viral, but the good ones don’t get much attention.

English: A homeless man in Paris Français : Un...

English: A homeless man in Paris Français : Un sans domicile fixe à Paris. Tiếng Việt: Một người đàn ông vô gia cư ở Paris Polski: Bezdomny mężczyzna w Paryżu See below for more translations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


From Riches to Rags

Despite what people believe, not everyone who is homeless has come from poverty. I know of people who were singers who have traveled the world entertaining before they fell on hard times, a contractor who once owned almost three dozen properties before the economy soured, and an investor with a failed $400,000 portfolio. A friend of mine even knew an actor that was on a television series in L.A. that returned to a homeless shelter every night after filming (he was in bankruptcy).

Here is the story of the son of two well-known actors and his experiences with homelessness.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3634457/Dad-was-messed-up-but-I-forgive-him.html

Note: The story about the church in Erie, PA sounds great. I wonder how many of the churches in my town (and yours) would do something like that?