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February 13, 2013

ANDERSON: In whose backyard?


If I could spare them anything, it would be that they have nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. The mothers are always working at how to somehow find a little relief, but there is never any for them. The men constantly try to find a day job, a full-time job or any employment. It’s funny, as tragic as the stories are, as sad as they are, there is an amazing sense of family between the residents. A loyalty that develops. Maybe even a little hope.

As we struggle to find ways to deal with homelessness, we have to examine how open we will be to some of the solutions. We will need more services, we will need more resources, and if we are truly ready to deal head-on with the issue, we will put our differences aside and truly begin to work on the issue. 

Permanent Supportive Housing for those with disabilities will need to be built. Where? In your neighborhood or mine? There is a very strong need for families with parents in recovery, but where, and in whose community? Single men need affordable housing in a huge way. Do we congregate them or open up scattered sites for them, and who will help with the rent subsidies since all the rental subsidy waiting lists are closed? Will we be willing to invest in programs that help people move out of homelessness and into independent housing? Will we pay the right wages or subsidize those wages? Will we advocate for those who need to access food stamps even though they are employed? 

We must examine what we will do as a community to help. When we speak of the poor how do we speak — from the perspective of one who has taken the time to ask the questions and seek the answers or from the perspective of one who listens to generalizations and propaganda offered to keep us angry at the poor? 

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