What really excites me is that there are people who are coming up with ways to raise other people’s conciousness about what being homeless is like and people who are finding ways to help homeless people help themselves. I’ve reblogged a lot of good articles about these two subjects and hope it will touch other people to do similar projects in their communities. Here are some terrific ideas that I have come across while writing this blog:
Spend A Night Sleeping Rough. Great way to get people to realise how tough and dangerous it is to spend a night on the streets.
Build/Advocate Small Living Shelters. Not everyone can afford or wants a large house; help prevent homelessness by encouraging the establishment of settlements like Dignity Village. (See Welcome to the Small Time in the categories section of my blog.)
Volunteer for agencies and organizations that promote helping the homeless help themselves. These organizations do things such as provide small business loans, provide shelter for people who agree to work in exchange for rent, create service projects where the homeless given needed one-on-one employment training and job search support.
These kinds of ideas can be used to help in any community.
A few days ago a story ran on the news about how the city was finally getting rid of the tents around town, they were celebrating a victory. Then right after that a front page newspaper story announced how the mental illness issues and emergency room stays for the homeless were rising in the last 4 years. Now if people could put two and two together. Maybe the rise in mental illness among the homeless and the jump in emergency room costs are related to the “tents in the trash” programs (which, coincidentally, began around 4 years ago).
Another precious news story from just today: The homeless rates are going down from 2005 to now. If they would study the amount of homeless dying every year (which surely has risen) they might see the cause of the decline. As usual, public policy has chosen the low road to solving the problems of homelessness.