Well, I'm freshly back from an encouraging and discouraging night spent with 800+ people at Focus Magazine's Forum on Homelessness. I hardly ever give a good rant on this blog because I'd rather champion and encourage the good that's out there. But tonight's attempt at an open-mic discussion about homelessness had me heading straight for the doors for a number of reasons and I feel the need to blow off a little steam.
But first, let me hit you with the good stuff. I won't bother going into all the actual details about the presentation because there was a lot of press at the forum and I'm sure they're better at that kind of thing than I am. So...
1. Some people challenged other people to do something for people with less (ie. those people with no homes).
2. Some people responded to that call and spent 3 weeks throwing together an unbelievably thorough (considering the time-frame) IDEA about how these people with less could find themselves with a roof over their head for a substantial amount of time at an affordable cost. These people deserve our thanks.
3. 800+ people showed up to hear about this plan and it seems as though there may be sufficient will, resources, and wit to pull the thing off.
Expect more GOOD news as the plan rolls on over the next few weeks.
Focus People, Focus!
Tonight's discussion was primarily set out to investigate solutions to "homelessness." Not poverty. The two are intertwined for sure*, but what we had on stage and available for our questions was nine people who have created a practical, flesh and bones plan for physically housing 2000 people who currently have no roof above their head.
As part of said plan already includes a whack of public input and discussion, we don't need to quibble about the minutia.
What would be helpful is pledges of support, praises of encouragement, thank-you's for trying, and genuine concern for potential oversights. And by this I mean, if you've got a beef, feel free to let it out, but don't use the mic to chastise the government (who wasn't on stage) or lack of public will (you were preaching to the choir).
*A simple way to understand this is as follows:
a)Poverty is often a result of homelessness.
b)Homelessness is often a result of poverty.
c)"Poverty" cannot be solved by building homes alone, but "homelessness" can be solved by building (affordable) homes.
Sit Down and Shut Up?
No matter how much you disagree with the person at the mic, have the common decency to let them speak without yelling "shame," "sit down," "my dad is stronger than your dad" or any other such juvenile evidence that supports the fact you're a complete and utter idiot yourself.