Archive for February, 2013

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I opened this e-mail last night and was glad to find a new book to add to my Bibliography for this blog journal. This email is from a formerly homeless man who has a blog post and book both titled Homeless Isn’t Hopeless.The books gives a real perspective of how it feels to become homeless. The email contains a link for a free download of the book. I am glad to find such an honest well written account.
Dear Friends,
The second edition of “Homeless Isn’t Hopeless” is now available as an e-book FREE OF CHARGE to anyone and everyone.
This free of charge offer is possible because neither I nor anyone else connected with this project will receive any remuneration, compensation, or reimbursement for expenses.
By making the e-book available at no cost, we hope to widen the reach of “Homeless Isn’t Hopeless” to include those who otherwise might not find room in their budget for the purchase of a book.
We are thinking of the homeless, and those who are living below, or hovering around the poverty line–people who might find encouragement in the book’s message.  There’s an old Kris Kristofferson song, “Why Me, Lord”, that has a line in the lyrics which describes my feelings about providing the book for free. “If I can show someone else, what I’ve been through mysel.”
We are thinking also of libraries, which have seen their budgets slashed, and advocacy groups and charitable organizations, which have seen revenue drop due to the struggling economy.
The “Homeless Isn’t Hopeless” e-book is free to all. Tell your family, friends, and those you work with or come in contact with.  They, like you, need feel no obligation.
But if your circumstances permit, and you wish to help those less fortunate, you can do so by donating to a charitable organization I am familiar with and wholeheartedly endorse for its good works and transparency.  That information, along with information about “Homeless Isn’t Hopeless”, and instructions for free downloading can be viewed by clicking on
http://williamlaney.net/

Best, as always.      Bill
http://williamlaney.blogspot.com/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-laney/

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Children sleeping in Mulberry Street (1890) ArtChildren sleeping in Mulberry Street (1890) Art

I am a student at Berea College and the first parts of this blog journal discovery will be part of my English 380, Professional Writing for the Web class. In Phase 1 of this assignment I will begin to explore the causes of homelessness and perceptions of why people are homeless. This phase will take place in Berea, KY. I will attempt to interview homeless people in Berea and ask them to complete a survey.

I will also be working on an idea for the Appalachian Ideas Contest hosted by Berea College in April that will address the homeless issue in Berea, KY. During this process, I hope to speak with city officials and organizations in the area to help understand how homelessness is effecting Berea, KY.

In the summer semester, I will complete an internship with the St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Foundation in Key West, FL, helping the homeless. I will interview homeless people and directors of several homeless outreach facilities in Key West and volunteer in my free time at the St. Mary’s soup kitchen. This blog will become a weekly journal during the internship.

Findings of the study will be posted here at the end of the internship. I will continue the blog after my work is finished as a student on these projects, volunteering and offering other insights.

Let’s get started. “One of every 50 American children experiences homelessness, according to a new report that says most states have inadequate plans to address the worsening and often-overlooked problem” (Today, 2009). According to an article in the American Journal of Public Health, “ Approximately 2 million Americans experience homelessness each year.”(Park, 2011). How many people are truly 2 paychecks away from homelessness? Is it likely that you or someone you know will suddenly become homeless? How do homeless people make their way to the street?

In the first phase of my study I will examine the causes of homelessness and explore how people perceive homelessness and its causes.

I will attempt to answer these questions:

Perceptions:
What is the public perception of how people become homeless?
 Are people homeless because of lack of jobs?
 Do you think people are homeless mostly because of mental illness?
 Do you think homeless people are mostly substance abusers?
 Do you believe most homeless people could help themselves out of their situation?
 Do you think there are a large number of women who are homeless because they were abused?
 Do you think people are homeless because of their social standing?
 Are most people homeless because of the lack of affordable housing?

Here is the link if you would like to take part in the study: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TPXRWT3

Causes:
 What role does substance abuse play?
 Is age a contributing factor?
 What is the incidence of battered women suddenly becoming homeless?
 How do long term incarceration and homelessness relate?
 How does mental illness contribute to homelessness?

Bibliography
Today, U. (2009, March 10). 1 in 50 Children Endure Homelessness. Retrieved Febuary 17, 2013, from USA Today: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-03-10-homeless_N.htm?csp=34

Park, J. F. (2011). Phisical and Mental Health, Cognitive Development, and Health Care Use by HOusing Status of Low- Income Young Children in 20 American Cities: A Prospective Cohort Study. American Journal of Public Health, 1.

We lived in a trailer for parts of my childhood and then in some rented houses but we always had a roof over our heads.Growing up, I learned about poverty. Other people we knew who were poor all had a place to live,like us. Some of their houses were cold in the winter or didn’t have running water and one family had newspaper lining their walls. I didn’t know about homelessness then but I knew what it meant to be poor.

The first time I actually saw a homeless person was in the 1980’s. My ex-husband and I were hauling new trucks to Los Angeles. The bus we were riding home went through downtown LA. I couldn’t stop looking at the people lying and sitting in cardboard boxes on the sidewalk. By this time, I had seen homelessness on TV but it is never as real as when you see it with your own eyes.

Some years later working with the homeless in a feeding kitchen and a couple of other ministries, I was able to look them in the eye and see how much like me they were. I discovered a need so deep that it scars our world. According to an article on PBS.org,a general description of homelessness is “a person who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence.” (PBS.org, 2009). The US Department of Housing and Urban Development says, “there were 643,067 sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons nationwide as of January 2009. Additionally, about 1.56 million people used an emergency shelter or a transitional housing program during the 12-month period between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009. This number suggests that roughly 1 in every 200 persons in the US used the shelter system at some point in that period.[5]” (Wikipedia) These images are cause for action.

This blog will record findings on my research that will examine the causes of homelessness and the entrepreneurial solutions.

Bibliography
PBS.org, N. o. (2009, June 26). Facts and Figures: The Homeless. Retrieved Febuary 15, 2013, from Now on PBS: http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/526/homeless-facts.html
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Homelessness in the United States. Retrieved Febuary 15, 2013, from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homelessness_in_the_United_States

Get Er Done!
By Donna Reeves
What does paradise look like from the street? A walk down the street will be hotter for the man with no shoes. Looking for a job will be harder without an address and a place to take a shower. Eating dinner will be harder for the diabetic with sores on his legs that can’t walk to the soup kitchen. And the ground will be much harder than the beds most of us will sleep in tonight.

How does it feel to lie down on concrete in the only safe place you can find to sleep? The rain soaks your clothing and you realize your Social Security card and license are missing. The night gets longer as you wait for morning, hoping your safe place to sleep is not discovered by police or the people selling crack on the corner, and you can sleep for at least a while. Asking people for money is not as easy as some might think, but eating is a priority and the sooner it is accomplished, the sooner you can look for a job.

How does it feel with the wind on your back when the future holds little hope for a place to lay your head? You cover in the night with as many articles of clothing as you can find. Your neck muscles tense against the cold and you wonder if you will freeze while you sleep or wake up one more time.

Pull your weary body off the ground and Get er done!

The problems faced by a homeless person begin with the simple things. Treasures are defined as showers, deodorant, soap, socks and a place to wash the other change of clothes. The world has changed for them and the smallest tasks can seem monumental in the face of all of the adversity they will face today. Finding enough food can sometimes take the biggest part of the day.

How did these people end up on the ground? Some of them fought for my freedom and then lost their focus because they were so traumatized. Some of them just walked away. Others lost everything and then couldn’t raise their head again for a while. Some of them are abused and beaten to the ground. Some are scared every night and they don’t know how to get out of this way of being. Some were abandoned and still others made enormous mistakes. Drug addiction and mental illness add to the mix and abused women and their children wait for the morning in the shelter of their cars.

There will always be difficult situations. How we react to them is the important part. There are some aggressive actions taking place across the United States to end and prevent homelessness. Solutions include emergency housing, transitional housing, supportive housing, permanent housing and housing vouchers,soup kitchens, clothes closets and food pantries.

The emergency housing programs offer immediate assistance for homeless clients. They provide showers, overnight housing and direction to community resources. Transitional housing agencies offer assistance with the transition from the emergency shelter or a street living situation to an affordable monthly apartment rental. These agencies also offer a place for clients to live while waiting for apartment placement. They may receive job search assistance and classes on how to improve their situations. Supportive housing offers assisted living for the elderly and handicapped homeless. Habitat for Humanity and others are working to provide permanent housing and a federal program is offering housing subsidy vouchers. We are hearing a persistent cry of, “END IT.” Since George Bush’s 2003 war on homelessness (Ending Homelessness, 2009), many other institutions are taking up the cause and acting to improve the situation.

I will begin this blog project for my English 386 course as a search for facts about the causes of homelessness and work to discover ways to strengthen the solutions. In the summer of 2013 I will be continuing the research to complete my internship titled An Entrepreneurial Study of Homelessness Solutions. I will begin the regular journal posts on this blog revealing portions of my research. Interviews with members of the homeless community will begin in the summer. I will post weekly updates from Key West, Florida as I interview these people and directors of the homeless outreach facilities. Please feel free to comment or add any helpful resources. -Donna

Ending Homelessness. (2009). CQ Researcher, 19(44), 1067-1068