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Cities Banish Homeless, Not the Problem

Mary Jander, Managing Editor, Future Cities
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 10:00 EST

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Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/19/2013 4:12:34 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Homeless - lets just kick you in the gut even more so
I applaud you, Amy, for your understanding and your approach to helping your son realize that even though homelessness and other woes exist in society, it's possible to take action, however small, to contribute to solutions.

Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
12/19/2013 3:31:10 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Homeless - lets just kick you in the gut even more so
It's all very humbling, Mary, not only explaining homelessness but also parenting in general.

His school sponsors a pajama drive each Christmas time, and while we have given one or two sets each year, this year I made sure Jake was the one who chose the pajamas we bought and put the clothes in the bin. I want him to feel like he can chip away, however incrementally, at seemingly intransigent problems, and for him to have a sense that maybe if each person took on a tiny bit of responsibility, we could make a dent in them.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/17/2013 5:11:43 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Homeless - lets just kick you in the gut even more so
Wow, Amy. Awesome observations. I can almost hear a little fellow asking those questions. And indeed it's sad and sobering to think we don't have much to say to our young people. We have hardly made a dent in the problem over the last decades. Indeed, in some places it's getting worse.

Yes, a cause for gratitude and consideration of what we might do, however small, to help make changes.

Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
12/17/2013 4:57:37 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Homeless - lets just kick you in the gut even more so
There is nothing like explaining to a 6-year-old about homelessness to make you aware of your own lame grasp of why it IS still an issue in this day and age.

Three days ago my son saw a woman in a bus shelter with her head in her hands and several bags and boxes of her belongings around her.

"Is she sad, Mama?"

"Yes, I think she is."

"Why is she sad?"

"Well, she has no place to live. Luckily" - and here is where I try very hard to "round up," as it were (remember, he is SIX) - "she can go to a shelter and eat dinner and sleep in a warm bed."

"What's a shelter?" "Am I homeless?" "Why is she homeless?"

And on and on it goes. Sometimes I am absolutely stumped at what to say to him. And in those moments I feel my own good fortune most acutely.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/2/2013 10:30:12 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: density figures
I'll be investigating this, @PeterJ. We could speculate, but other cities with sizeable technology sectors don't seem to have the same density of homeless. Stand by more more after I do some research.

PeterJ
PeterJ  
11/30/2013 9:55:52 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Homeless - lets just kick you in the gut even more so
Absolutely. We hear this echo from the halls of Congress, but the resources don't follow the words of honor. At least the media sheds light on these issues, and there is more public awareness of the long-term physical and emotional effects of war and combat.

PeterJ
PeterJ  
11/30/2013 9:51:28 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: density figures
No, not really, Mary. What first came to mind to me was the tech sector there and if there is a squeezing out effect of other elements of the workforce. It just doesn't add up though. Might Seattle be better at counting/knowing these numbers? I think that tracking and identification may be a factor.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/30/2013 6:59:09 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: density figures
Without further study, I couldn't speculate on the reasons for Seattle's poor showing. Do you have any firsthand experience here, PeterJ? Anybody else care to weigh in on why Seattle ranks so high in terms of its homeless problem?

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/30/2013 6:57:28 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Homeless - lets just kick you in the gut even more so
Sadly, I think you're right, PeterJ, that many folk who've lost homes didn't anticipate anything like this happening. Who really does, until it happens? It's human nature to move along day to day as though nothing will ever disrupt the flow of routine. It's tough to get into a mindset that allows for disasters. I sure don't like thinking that way.

It helps if we think ahead collectively, though, planning for contingencies without panicking individually.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/30/2013 6:55:35 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Homeless - lets just kick you in the gut even more so
Good point, PeterJ. I think the priorities need to be set here. The US government is all about talking the talk of honoring veterans, but when it comes to action, things don't quite match the level of flag-waving hype.

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