Combining the resources of these public and private services may be a good idea:
1. If someone uses their food stamps to “buy” a hot meal at a soup kitchen, those facilities will be funded AND the homeless person will have a hot meal (hot meals are currently not allowed under food stamps ).
2. If people using the food banks and soup kitchens are required to have a food stamp card to get services, there would be a system to track the people getting food. Then cases where people who “double and triple dip” into the system will be discouraged and more people can be served. I know a man who has food stamps, disability checks and every day he eats 3 meals at the free feedings at shelters, etc. AND he goes to the food bank for snacks. He is 400 pounds, at least!
3. If people were at the food banks to assist the homeless in filling out applications for food stamps, there would not be cases where homeless people are falling through the cracks.
4. Food stamp fraud would be greatly reduced, because people would have only a portion of the amount they get in food stamps available for shopping at grocery stores. Maybe 20%. The rest they would have to get at food banks. No more people paying homeless drug addicts to use their food stamps. No more people buying junk food and unhealthy food on Uncle Sam’s dollar. No more steak and lobster on food stamps.
Sound good? Write your congressional representative or senator.
Just went by my old storage facility today. Glad I have a place now and don’t have to rent a locker any more. It is awful when you can’t get to something and then have to dig 5 feet in to get to a box with the stuff you need in it. Sometimes you just end up buying another one of the thing you can’t find, but know you have. I think storage places would be a great place for the VA to put brochures about their services. Lots of homeless vets use lockers. Just an idea.
But, they seem to be getting worse. The state lawmakers have gotten back from their holiday break and the homeless abuse has began again. Yesterday a couple with 2 small girls got all their clothes and food taken from them. I hope all the new residents of this country (that are pushing for these kinds of sweeps) get a chance to experience the same sense of loss some day. They returned our welcome with such cold hearts, and I think it only fair.
I see that more people have been clicking on my Small Houses Resource Guide post. It would be great if the mayors of our cities would take an interest in providing small housing options for people who do not want or need a large house, but who do want to feel like they have a house and a piece of land to work on and grow food.
I know, I know, we are all supposed to live in apartments, if we can’t afford big monstrous homes. That’s our punishment, right?
When did housing your body get so complicated? Lots of people only need one room and can only afford it. But does that mean they should be cramped into an apartment slum? Think about it; land that is just going to waste somewhere. Lay some plumbing and a road. Some street lights. Then divide up lots. 25’x25′ or 50’x50′. The people can move in with just tents, if the climate permits, and then move around in the space to find neighbors that they are comfortable with. No assigning and locking people in. Too George Orwell. When they find their spot and keep peaceful for a trial period (about a year)… then they get to meet with charities who can help them build their safe, affordable, snug home. Whooo ray for us, we helped stop homelessness.
Most homeless people give up on their struggle with the system. I have seen this among people I know and feel it is a damn shame that they don’t stand up for themselves if they are right. The maze of paperwork and angry faces gets to them and they give up. If you need job training, housing, food, medical help, etc. don’t give up. But if you do ask for help, do the right thing and find a way to pull your own weight or help someone else if you are able. If you get a low-income housing unit, take care of it and don’t be an idiot blasting the stereo all night. If you get food from the food bank and don’t want/can’t use part of it, don’t throw it out, give some to a friend (or stranger!). If you get job training, do something with it. If you pound your fist on the table demanding help, be responsible after you get it. That’s all I have to say about that.
One interesting thing about getting an apartment after you have been homeless is that some of your homeless friends seem to be less than thrilled to see you get off the streets.
I have been going through this experience for the last few months. Some of my still-homeless friends have now taken up the challenge to get their own housing and stand up for their rights, take initiative, etc. Others, (one I hardly know, in particular) have not-so-subtlety hinted that I should take them in as a house mate. Another has been calling me at odd hours with desperate pleas for help and assistance.
As much as I like helping people, I also don’t like attempts to get me back on the streets by sabotaging my living situation. If someone wants to use me as an example, fine. If I can do it, you can too. But don’t try to get me back on the streets… because you miss your buddy.