Hiding The Homeless | VICE News

Here’s a 13 minute video, linked below, that addresses some of the major problems of the system to keeps homelessness going. It also offers some realistic solutions.
~ gnat

Hiding The Homeless – November 23, 2015 

A growing number of American cities are ticketing or arresting homeless people for essentially being homeless. The new laws ban behavior commonly associated with homelessness like reclining in public, sharing food or sitting on a sidewalk.

Supporters argue these measures are necessary to push homeless people into the shelter system and maintain public safety. Critics say the laws violate the rights of homeless people and ignore the more complicated drivers of homelessness like mental illness.

We found homeless people camping in the woods to escape police harassment, a homelessness consultant opposed to feeding homeless people and a city that uses solitary confinement to force homeless people into shelters.

VICE News began its investigation in Boise, ID, where a group of homeless people have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of these laws. Their case could change the way homeless people are treated across the country.

via Hiding The Homeless | VICE News.

Homeless In America: 5 Things to Say And 5 Things To Not Say

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USA / San Francisco / May 2004 Christine beg to many on Fulton street of San Francisco. The city spends $200 million a year trying to get homeless people off the streets and into a better way of life – but over 20 years, the problem has only gotten worse. † Fatih Pinar / Anzenberger

When you see a homeless person, what do you do?

Most of us tend to have the same response: We avoid eye contact and walk a little faster. But you might also ponder the situation, thinking to yourself, What’s his story? How did this happen to her? How long have they lived on the streets? Maybe you even wanted to help, but didn’t know how to start a conversation.

Should you decide to talk to one of the more than 600,000 homeless individuals in the United States, what you say is vitally important. Utter the wrong thing, and you make a person in crisis feel less than human. Make the right comment, however, and you just might provide the help that he or she so desperately needs. Here’s what the experts advise saying and what’s better left unsaid. [cont reading] via Homeless In America: 5 Things to Say And 5 Things To Not Say.

~ shared by gnat for Occupy Homeless

Topics, Tags & Catagories

So here’s a list of topics that we’re talking about on these pages:
Affordable Housing, Employment, Food Stamps SNAP, Food, Food Deserts, Work, Jobs, Manufacturing Moved Offshore, Poverty, Welfare, Income Inequality, Occupy Homeless, Gnat, AtomGnat, Gnat-one-ette, Facebook, Twitter, Activist, Religion, Mental and Physical Health, Education, Writer, Artist, Community…

Do You Have a Story to tell?? We want to publish that on this website and our Facebook page! Come on, don’t be shy! And if you are, we’ll happily help you with a alias so that your identity can be kept private. 

this is a test to figure out the placement of tags and wtf categories are…

A light In The Darkness

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IT’S HARD TO SEE the light within us until someone holds up a mirror to help us reflect.

Over the past three decades, I watched my younger brother, Adam, deteriorate from musician and high-functioning bipolar to exhausted alcoholic. In November, he was found dead in a cold New York City subway stairwell.

The coroner just recently called to say my brother had seven times the legal limit of alcohol in his system, which stopped his weak heart.

Adam, who was homeless, often told me that he was “drinking away the darkness.” He was so blinded by others’ light that he failed to see his own.

My brother believed that his light had gone out.

I’ve written before that the homeless are invisible to most people. We don’t want to see them; they make us uncomfortable. By shining a light on them, I hope people will be forced to open their eyes.

Because of the last piece I wrote about my brother, at Thanksgiving, other homeless people and shelter workers who read his story online contacted me to say they’d met him in his final years.

Adam would have been shocked to learn that he was their light. His self-deprecating jokes, guitar playing and sketches on pieces of cardboard, handed out freely at shelters and on the street, brought joy to others.

Hearing that, I resolved to hold up a mirror for others who are walking around in the dark.

A veteran in North Carolina who had been stationed in Hampton Roads and has been homeless off and on since 1981 contacted me through Twitter. Many street people find a kind of safe invisibility online as they spend countless hours in public libraries while waiting for shelters to reopen at night.

On Twitter, this veteran uses the handle “Occupy_Homeless.” “You good folks that are not from our tribe, seldom understand,” he said. “Being invisible can be safer at times, but we need to be visible and you need to keep writing that. Please. It’s hard for us to trust, but I trust you to do that.”

Darkness isn’t reserved for street people, though. Last week during the weekly chess night at a Norfolk community center, I noticed one of the regulars, a young, divorced father, sitting alone in a corner.

He’s always been one of the lights in the room. Seeing him go completely dark shook me up.

He works hard at a blue-collar job and still makes time to bring his son every Wednesday evening, from another city, so they can learn the game side by side.

This man’s quiet presence speaks of hope for fatherhood, community, the mending of broken families and broken dreams.

He told me that his problem that night was a weight familiar to many: Finances. Self-worth. Family issues.

Sometimes sharing your own story can help other people pull themselves together, so I told him mine.

I told him about Adam and my pain over feeling that I had failed him.

Then I told him that seeing him with his son, and all the promise they held, helped me look away from my darkness and into their light.

He needed to know that he was a light.

As soon as it sank in, his eyes told me his spark was still there.

Sometimes we need to take that few moments to recognize when someone’s gone dark and stoke them up.

In addition to being a light, we are all mirrors for each other. We reflect what we see. To be the best reflections we can be, we cannot be blind to the suffering of others.

 

The author, Lisa Suhay of Norfolk, is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk Initiative for Chess Excellence, http://www.NiceChess.net.

**This article first appeared in The Virginian Pilot news paper (online) and can be seen here: http://pilotonline.com/opinion/columnist/guest/lisa-suhay-a-light-in-the-darkness/article_a913f84f-2ae0-5809-9045-5f52afd31ac0.html and has been used by permission from the author.

Things That Knock Us Down and Kill Us Slowly

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This sort of story is so common that many of us homeless folks barely mention it anymore. If you’d like to meet the worst sort of people, try getting housing with a very little money or while homeless. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll get ripped off or worse.

Besides low paid jobs, housing costs and deposits are our biggest obstacles. The fastest way that i know of to become homeless is to get in the wrong area, by trusting some property owner. Sure, they have it rough, the probably get a lot of low-life’s that tear up their property. But does that justify them overcharging and gaming the system to cheat everyone else?

And while i’m on this topic, maybe now would be a good time to mention the mental and emotional toll all of this has on person. As you may see, J and i are not weak-hearted and i think we’re both rather intelligent. What may not come through in words is, we’re also rather brave and will address problems head on. We’re both more stubborn than an old mule and don’t get pushed so easily.. lol, this makes it tough between us at times, 😉 but it’s given us both a resolve to make it through the tough things in life. The things that generally stop other folks. We just don’t quit and never give up. Sadly, that’s not so for most folks.

Humans can only take so much rejection and/or abuse. We give up. We get crushed under the hopelessness of it all. Many will have some sort of breakdown. Others, turn to drugs or alcohol for relief. Others find themselves selling themselves for a meal and/or a warm bed… even if that bed is a high-priced back ally motel.. these things eat your heart, mind and spirit… we despair and die a little at a time until there is nothing left of us… those are the ones that most people see, our broken ones.

None of our words on this page/s are meant to shame you or us… we’re really hoping to gain some understanding, a little peace with all of this mess. We hope that your understanding will help us to bring about the needed social changes to prevent this from getting worse… and maybe even to turn it all around and end homelessness, once and for all.

Now, this post started because i’d read an article By Terrence McCoy, at the Washington Post called: ‘The confounding story of the disabled veterans who went weeks in winter without heat — and then were evicted ‘ and it can be found at this link: https://goo.gl/A1W8Gm

As always, thanks for reading and such… ~ gnat

visit our facebook page -> http://www.facebook.com/OccupyHomeless Thanks