I spent most of last night watching videos on homelessness, or as a young lady said, "houselessness." I've concluded that no one, I mean no one, could plan, prepare, or expect to be "houseless" (I really like that term - it fits the crisis we are in today). The stories are vast, unexpected, and diversified. I like making connections and looking for patterns; it helps me problem solve, but I couldn't find a consistent link. The common denominator - people in the stories had no home, were tired, and apathetic, accepting, or almost conditioned to stay in communities (some tent cities) that made them feel connected but still remained isolated from society.
I'm not much of a political person; I don't talk about religion or change people's minds about their choices. I might debate with a friend if I'm passionate about something, like young women's image issues or mental illness. We are free (I think) to choose what is best for us, even if others disagree. I spend most of my time "s'ingmh" when I walk by the radio at home and the political station that plays all morning long. This morning's musing was about the no-fly zone, and how it is reported as meaning an area restricted from air traffic (smh).
How have we become so simple? How have we become so complacent? How do we untie our hands to provide for others after we have provided for ourselves?
I began thinking about all the time we spend looking online, on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, trying to reach for something that feels good, like animal stories or funny kid videos. Or individuals looking for love, or having addictions, or trying to find your life purpose, just something that takes them beyond themselves to feel better. I think if we stay disconnected from what's happening on the ground, we may regret that we've spent so much time "looking."
Ignorance is bliss, but a disregard for humans and humanity is abuse. I know we live in a country where the American Dream was possible. I'm not an economist, but I know capitalism works; however, we are abusing our right to a free system for the sake of money. And, as I watched, there was a millionaire or two who lost everything due to an economic downturn, not drugs or mental health, thriving, educated, and successful people, so "houselessness" does not discriminate. Perhaps, greed and irresponsibility with money played a part, a huge risk, I know there are always two sides to stories.
Many articles I've read lately emphasize asking "how" and not the "why" to be a good problem-solver. As I asked myself, "how," "How do we add more housing?" "How can we learn from Europe to house people in community settings or infrastructure?" "How do we get away from terms like "affordable housing" (which means nothing) to housing for all that still produces profit?" "How is homelessness affecting young children and future generations?" I could go on and on, but sitting and asking questions won't do anything.
Support, social services, and government assistance only go so far, and many of those resources are tapped. But, honestly, most individuals did not have money issues; they had nowhere to live within their means. It's not a glamorous subject I know and there are so many other things happening right now. There was a woman who reiterated the quote, "You're only three paychecks away from homelessness." This reality is - this is a lie. You are a divorce, job loss, family death, mental health, economic downturn, relationship failure, and or healthcare issue away from "houselessness."
I'm learning Maine is no different. Recently, in a brief conversation with someone who is a Maine transplant from several years ago, "I've even contemplated renting and living in a self-storage space." To me, that's a crushingly painful thought and loss of a dream.