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Hi from Paradise,

I promised to post weekly journals from Key West and I began doing it on week one and two. Because this course is supervised by two advising professors the journals got long and complicated. They looked ridiculous and tedious in this format. So, I decided to post excerpts from each week. I am mostly writing about my examination of some of the business models of homeless helping organizations in Key West but there is a good deal of study of other areas of the homeless helping business as well.

I love this. This recent event was organized to benefit some homeless helping projects. It is a great way of connecting art with helping the homeless. Have a look and follow this link to browse the art. http://www.fremantlegpnetwork.com.au/ -Donna Reeves

juliepodstolski

Soroptimist International of Fremantle presents the 4th annual Help the Homeless Art Auction at 4.30 pm Saturday 8th June 2013 at Fremantle Town Hall.

I am honoured to be participating in this worthwhile event where invited artists’ works are auctioned to raise money for people who need help in our local community.   The event is run by the Fremantle branch of Soroptimist International.  Who and what are Soroptimists you may ask?  Soroptimist International is a worldwide volunteer organisation for women in management and professions who seek to advance human rights.  It was first founded in 1921 in California.  Since 2010 the Fremantle branch of Soroptimist International (who formed in 1953) has focussed on improving the lives of the homeless.

Who will benefit from this auction?

1. Fremantle Street Doctor   Doctors in mobile clinics (fitted out vans) serve the physical and mental needs of homeless, at-risk, marginalised people with low or no income, substance abuse and those with diagnosed and undiagnosed mental…

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Photo By Donna Reeves Summer 2013

Written By Donna Reeves
Key West paradise offers sun, sand and an elaborate night life to all who seek it. Thousands arrive here every year to escape the cold and bask in the tropical sun. Not everyone will be staying in the posh hotels and homes that line the sun baked streets, however.Riches and oppression bask together in the lavish Key West atmosphere. Many are homeless, disadvantaged, impoverished and disillusioned. The dream of living, working and becoming a part of the island scene is often charred by the burning sun or washed away with the tide.

Homeless sleeping on the beaches is not an unfamiliar scene in Key West. I was out for a morning bike ride last week and arrived early at the beach to find sleeping homeless not yet up with the sun. It is not as intimidating as one might imagine. It is just terribly sad.

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Photo by Donna Reeves
Tourist and locals seem not to mind the interaction. That is good I suppose. The beaches belong to all of us. The segregation of classes is obvious but all go about their daily business of beaching and sunbathing. Some have spent thousands to play here and others lost everything and came to sleep on the beaches instead of in a colder climate. Part of my research here will include interviewing some members of the homeless population, vacationers and locals.

The homeless resources are nearly as abundant in Key West as are the hotels and taxi services. Supply and demand drives them all. I am inclined to believe that some of the homeless come here for the food and digs. I don’t mean that in a bad way. We are assigned as human beings to help one another. I hope they find the best of every thing. It just appears that because of the dramatic number of homeless in Key West, the city and outreach sources have worked at a more efficient level than in some other cities. I will investigate that theory in my Key West research. The homeless outreach centers are working long hours to find ways to accommodate and mobilize the homeless.

When I say mobilize, I do not mean they are working to ship them out. NO NO. There is one island outreach center here that provides bus tickets to people who have opportunities for jobs and a better life in another place. But they adhere to very strict guidelines. They are not working to send these folks from one bad situation to another. They cannot be leaving with the promise of another homeless shelter to move to. They must have hope for work and a  person on the receiving end of the bus line who will agree to take responsibility for them. If these people don’t have a plan to improve or a better place to go they are encouraged to just work things out here utilizing the available resources. The mobilization means that the Key West helping sources are working to improve the lives of the Key West homeless by meeting their needs and finding ways to improve their employ ability and sustainability.

There are new plans on the horizon for the Key West sun baked homeless. A new homeless shelter is being built and I hope to take a tour in the next few weeks. My interview with directors of the outreach facilities begin tomorrow and I am hopeful of the outcomes. Sleep well and dream of many solutions.-Donna

Southernmost Point of the U.S., Key West, FL

Southernmost Point of the U.S., Key West, FL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a poem from a homeless man I met a few days ago. He told me about his blog and allowed me to listen to a CD of the song he wrote.

Kevin is a nice man a little younger than me. He is very friendly and open. I read through Kevin’s blog and, with his permission, I copied this post to share with you.

I will post Kevin’s blog link at the end of the poem if you would like to visit his site. Please be aware there is some profanity and vulgarity. Poetic Drummer Point of view gives a real look at life on the streets and some of the ups and downs in the southernmost point of the United States.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Poem Of The Day Before They Kick Me Out Of The Library

Quick post, gotta go, before I leave, here’s a poem, I wrote today.Written By Kevin Dale Sanders April 29th, 2013

DRY MY EYES, FROM THE TEARS I CRY

LEFT ALONE

WITHOUT A HOME

THE TEARS

I DRY

BY MYSELF

GIVE ME

ANOTHER DAY OF HOPE

WASH AWAY THE PAIN

I WISH

TO DO WITHOUT

NOT MY FAULT

NOT IN THE CARDS

THAT I WANTED

TO BE DEALT

TRAPPED

WITHOUT A PLACE TO GO

TOUGH ROAD

I WISH

NOT TO BE

BUT IT’S A FACT

THAT REMAINS

REALITY

TRYING TO WRITE A SONG

THE ONLY THING

I HAVE LEFT

IN THIS WORLD

SHOOT ME AT THE STAKES

FOR TRYING TO RELIVE

MY MISTAKES

MY MOM

WENT AWAY

BY THE TIME

I WAS FIFTEEN

I WRITE THESE WORDS

TO STAY ALIVE

TO SURVIVE

WHERE THE DAD

I NEVER SEEN

WENT

YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND

I TRY TO EXPLAIN

BUT EVERYTHING

WENT THE WRONG WAY

THE OTHER WAY

I STILL HOLD ON TO A DREAM

NOT EASY

A LOT OF TEARS

I HAVE BEEN THROUGH

I DON’T RECOMMEND

THESE WORDS I LIVE

THE ONLY THING I HAVE LEFT

TO HOLD ON TO

AND GIVE

PLEASE FORGIVE ME

I WISH I

COULD TELL YOU

SOMETHING ELSE

MY ADVICE WOULD BE

HAVE FUN

WHILE YOU CAN

BEFORE YOU FALL

INTO THE GRAVE

REGRET SOMETHING

YOU NEVER DID

I TRIED IN LIFE

THE BEST

THAT I COULD DO

ALL I HAVE LEFT

IS BLOOD TO SPILL

YOU THOUGHT

YOU HAD THE TRUTH

MY REALITY

A LIE

NEVER TOLD

MY PROBLEM REMAINS

STILL UNSOLVED

DRY MY EYES

FROM THE TEARS

I TRY

NOT TO CRY

A PLACE

I RUN AND HIDE

HAVE TO GO THROUGH

THE PAIN

BEFORE YOU GET TO

THE GLORY

JUST ANOTHER

PRICE IN LIFE

YOU HAVE TO PAY

I DON’T RECOMMEND

GOING DOWN

THE SAME ROAD

I HAVE BEEN TO

I’M A CRAZY …(words deleted)-Donna

LIVING ON A DIFFERENT CORNER

WITHOUT THE COST

OF RENT

BUT THE DREAMS

ON THE STREET

ARE NOT THE SAME

AS YOU MIGHT THINK

JUDGE ME

BY THE COVER

OF MY BOOK

TAKE A SECOND LOOK

BEFORE YOU MAKE

A JUDGEMENTAL DECISION

I JUST MIGHT CHANGE

SHOW YOU

A THING OR TWO

I HAVE TO GO THROUGH LIFE

JUST LIKE YOU

JUST THROUGH

THE EYES

OF A DIFFERENT STORY

WITH END RESULTS

UNKNOWN

These words are all over the place, but then again, HEY, SO AM I..!!, what a coincidence, how convenient, matches the point in question, as if, you didn’t have an answer. Stare in the mirror, to see what I am after.

(Sanders, 2013)

Works Cited:

Sanders, K. D. (2013, April 29). Poem of the Day Before They Kick Me Out of the Library. Key West , FL, United States.