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.

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About tjmcfee

Freelance writer. Activist on homeless issues. 48 years old. I write about subjects that need to be examined closely and thoughtfully. The idea for Brain Sections came from reading a book about abandoned asylums. I wanted to set a suspense story in that setting. The inclusion of crazed scientists turning homeless people into zombies is what makes the story unique. View all posts by tjmcfee

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