Tag Archives: Awareness

Light a candle, don’t curse the dark

I think libraries that have big issues with homeless people should designate a meeting room for their use. If it is obvious that someone is homeless (like when they are found dozing on the premises) security could direct them to the room. That space could also be used for classes and informational seminars that will help homeless people find shelter and work.

John Joyce, RI’s Pioneering Homeless Advocate

This excerpt has my gold seal of approval:

Q: What got you into becoming a homeless advocate?
Being homeless myself. Some of the service providers that I went to, I felt like I was second-class. I felt like no one cared. I’ve seen atrocities in shelters, people being belittled, degraded and it basically pissed me off. What can I do to change that attitude? So I started going to meetings. I heard about state meetings and then the Coalition for the Homeless, I’d go there and I’d bring my backpack with my life on my back and I’d go to these meetings and it gave me a chance to vent. But what I was saying was what I was experiencing and then at the end of the meeting they would say, “O.K. Now, shoo, shoo, be a nice boy and go back to whatever dumpster you came from,” and that’s the attitude I got from people. But I didn’t let that deter me, either. Because I’d show up at the next meeting and I’m still going to the meetings. A lot of people out there, they think they don’t have a voice. I’m just a messenger sometimes. I’ll ask people, “What you just told me— are you willing to come to a meeting and say that?” and they’ll say, “Oh, no! I can’t do that because I’m afraid that I’ll get retaliated against.” So I just carry that message.


Interview by Patricia Raub

John Joyce (1962-2013) became an advocate for others after being homeless for a while. One of his accomplishments was to make Rhode Island the first state to enact a Homeless Bill of Rights. This interview took place last fall, when he was busily working while ill with cancer.

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Q: During the past session, the General Assembly passed a Homeless Bill of Rights into law. Could you explain what a “Homeless Bill of Rights” is, exactly?
It’s not special rights, it’s just equal rights. It was our feeling when we were going up there that legislators would think the bill was going to be special rights for a certain class.  But that wasn’t  the case. What we were hearing from people without homes in Rhode Island was some of the discriminatory tactics that people were using against them. The rights were always in place. The Homeless Bill…

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My Opinions on Homelessness

This looks a lot like a Brain Sections post, but it is a terrific post that I found on Word Press. — T.J.

Morgan Taylor

Homelessness is something that strikes just about every large city in America. Everyone has their own opinions on what causes homelessness and what to do about the problem. A widely held opinion is that homeless people are lazy and useless, but I disagree. Often times, those who find themselves homeless are without resources. The lack of resources does not allow for any growth or progress on moving out of homelessness. There are different responses from different types of agencies on how they think it’s best to end homelessness. At any rate, we must move from a stop-the-bleeding mentality to a cure-the-wound mentality if we desire lasting change in the homeless community.
In a big city, there are bound to be multiple shelters and agencies geared towards helping the homeless. One of the main problems with shelters is there never seems to be enough space for everyone who needs a place…

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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):


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


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.

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:


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.

What do Homeless People Want From Politicians