I DO NOT, HAVE NOT, WOULD NOT ever suggest throwing money at a problem. I am a REALIST, believing in examining a problem to understand what the situation IS. I am not an Ideologue who, wearing the blinders of ideology, looks at a situation and sees what they want to see, not what really is. There is NO perfect solution. A system dealing with people demands flexibility and denies neat, easy answers. Rigidly applying Ideology guarantees failure. How I came to homelessness: click Backstory below.
“I don’t think there was any recognition of that in the budget. The best way to help the homeless is make sure they have the opportunity to find a job” Dave Hayer, MLA for Surrey-Tynehead, said Thursday the budget focuses on giving people opportunity to grow out of the lifestyle of living on the streets.
Neatly dressed Surrey businessmen and poorly dressed street people met yesterday in a program designed to show the dark side of city life. “We saw things that in day-to-day living we tend to avoid because we don’t like poverty and mental illness”, said Lloyd Craig, president of Coast Capital Savings. “Here we are in a great country and you see how absolutely desperate people can get”.
The tour was set up by the Canadian Business for Social Responsibility, a national, non-profit group that believes solutions to poverty and hunger must involve business.
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said participants came away with a good understanding of the challenges. Craig said Watts support was very important “She really understands this side of building a city. It’s more than increasing the tax abase”.
A matter of Choice?
The other day began with me being shanghaied into another ‘conversation’ I was reasonably sure would be neither comfortable not productive. Over recent ‘conversations’ I have come to accept that the way we view the world (and I must acknowledge, I view myself) is different enough that there are points that will never be agreed upon or seen the same way. But to me that is now OK. There was a time when I would have felt compelled to argue until I was proved correct or I would have felt there must be something wrong with me – which is why they would not agree with what I saw as right or I would have felt I must be wrong and must change. These days in acknowledging and accepting the wide differences in people, I have to accept that there are going to be many different views and ways of looking at anything. What I need to guard against is just dismissing these other points of view. These days I take opposing views and run them by friends whose judgment I trust, not because they always agree with me (they have no trouble disagreeing) but because we have a more common frame of reference. In doing this I have had them agree with someone else’s point, but express why in such a way as I could see and understand the point – and adjust my behaviour accordingly. I am still a little more sensitive to feedback from some people than I would like to be, but I am working on getting better. I have come to understand that if a friend offers feedback it does not mean they hate me, just that there is something they want to bring to my attention and have me think about. However, I do not relish a ‘conversation’ I can predict the outcome of going into.
Anyway, the point was raise was that I was and am homeless by choice. Which is a rather interesting and complex statement, containing some truth, some accuracy and a great deal of deception. It is one of those sneaky statements there is no way to safely answer. As if in walking away from my inquisitor I had turned back and asked, “Are you still sexually molesting sheep?”
1. an act or power of choosing
2. the thing chosen
5. the best (worthy of being chosen)
What is choice? Remember the news report on the man who had to cut off his own arm to get free, get off the mountain and get the medical attention he needed to live? It would be true and accurate to say that he removed his arm by his own choice. The great deception in this statement lies in the implication that there were any other choices he could have made, that there was a good alternative to choose. What happens when there is no good choice? One is left to choose the least bad or lesser of two (or more) evils. Yes I have chosen not to pursue what for me would have been destructive and unhealthy choices. In this way I can be said to choose to be homeless. What I want to know is why the system lacks alternatives or the flexibility to offer me some choices ‘worthy of being chosen’.
Of course this is one of the points our worldview differs on. “I was homeless, this is how I got out and anyone else only needs do this”. This lumps all the homeless into one big group and as anyone who has read my words knows, I firmly believe there is no one way, no one miracle cure-all for homelessness. This has gotten me accused of thinking I am better than others. Wrong. I just think that I am unique, the result of genetics, experiences and background that no other person exactly shares. If twins, raised together in the same environment turn out to be separate and distinct individuals, I fail to see how one could deny that we each have our own (good and bad) uniqueness. That this uniqueness gives rise to the different needs that must be overcome for each different, unique individual to escape his or her homelessness. I have no interest in just forcing square pegs into round holes, forcing these individuals through a set program to toss them into shelter somewhere and saying solved. Because if one does not acknowledge and address the unique reasons that each individual is homeless they will simple end up on the streets again. Only by overcoming these unique needs can they escape their homelessness.
Two very different world views on people, their behaviours and needs:
One size fits all
We all have unique differences
In recognizing and accepting that these very different views mean we are not going to agree on any points that depend on these points of view, I tend to see nothing to be gained in replaying arguments. As pointless as arguing about sailing around the world with a person who believes the earth is flat. I know that in not agreeing with the inquisitor and thus abandoning my world view on this matter the D word will be deployed – but a dissertation on denial is for another time and place. I have learned to accept that this point, the very different views of people, means fundamental differences on the way we see ‘homeless’ and ‘choice’. I accept this difference in the way we see the situation. I just wish the inquisitor could accept that I do not agree with him – not is it necessary that I do so.