Jan 08 2011

What a glorious story of being homeless while holding
out with hope and a positive attitude.

 

It was an inspirational moment when I viewed this first video on YouTube.com last week.  What a neat person and what a story. But, as the week went on, the story and the video’s posting on YouTube got better and better. This is a perfect example of keep love in your heart, knowing what you want, visualizing it and making it happen. Seeing this was a great way to begin the New Year. See what you think!

 



Standing on a street corner with a sign advertising
his abilities has changed Ted William’s life. He has
gone from homeless to famous, literally overnight.

 


CBS and the Today Show both picked him up and
interviewed him giving him more national exposure,
a new job and a new home!



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Nov 16 2010

It seems many homeless people have pets to
cuddle for mutual warmth and comfort.

Homeless. If you live in any kind of urban setting, you must have seen homeless people. People who live on the streets, trying to figure out how to survive another day obtaining the basics of food, water and shelter. The indigent poor and the “by choice” freedom seekers: there have always been those who lived outside of society’s demands for a regular job. There have always been those that preferred the freedom to choose a living experience, even if that selection lacked security and comfort. Now, however, the numbers have increased significantly and the face of homeless people has changed. In addition to those who might be considered a little off beat, we find families with children experiencing urban survival in its rawest form.

Homeless is like old age. You can’t begin to know what it is like until you have experienced it, stared it in the face and realized, up close and personal, it has happened to you. Homeless is something that happens to others, until you realize, putting two and two together, that with the mortgage crisis, you are just a stone’s throw away yourself. Not a pleasant feeling. And the belief that friends and family will sustain you in your crisis lasts only as long as the last phone call telling you they have problems of their own and “can’t help right now, maybe later.”

The prospect is startling. The realization daunting and the means to remedy the situation can be illusive and far in the future. Where at one time, I, myself, would have thought homeless people unconditionally mentally ill, without direction and just plain “should have planned better,” now I have a compassion that daily reminds me, “There, but for the grace of G-d, go I.”

In today’s economic climate, it is good to consider the possibility of being homeless, yourself. Whereas, in better times, it was pro-active to plan for only vacations and retirement, now it is also prudent to examine the “what if” of being without shelter or the means to feed oneself and one’s family. Even if your mortgage is paid in full, the possibility of bio-hazards and social upheavals cycle the options closer than ever before. It is better to think of solutions and alternatives before you need them and figure you never will, than the other way around. As my Marine husband was taught in Boot Camp at Parris Island, S.C.: “It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”

With all of this in mind, why not examine the situation for yourself, as it relates to you? And, for those of you who can relate, all too well, to what I am talking about, let this be your guide that you are not alone and have a compassionate ear leaning toward you. Discussing possibilities and options will familiarize you with realities while leaving you better prepared, should things turn out unpleasantly.

For an introduction, here is The Shelters and Soup Kitchens Directory listing facilities in the United States offering aid and sustenance to those who need it. You will surely find a facility near you. And, now being proactive about your own possible homelessness, you might want to consider donating goods, services, time or money to insure life saving options are there, should you ever need them.

A compassionate trucker interviews a homeless couple.

To preview this moving book, hover your mouse over this link:

The Visible Poor: Homelessness in the United States



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Nov 04 2010

Successfully living in a car is a result of attitude
and how one feels about it. Do you see it as a shameful
humbling? Or a temporary adventure with a positive resolution?

There are free spirits that love living on the move. They avoid any fixed address, always looking for the new adventure just around the next bend. Then, there are those “not so free” spirits that find they have no other choice when life changes happen and live in their vehicle because it is the only address they still own and have a right in which to stay.

It has to be unsettling to the “not so free spirits” to find that, for one reason or another, they haven’t a bed to sleep in for the night, or even, sometimes, a roof over their head. Those who have vehicles realize that they can sleep in the car, SUV or van “to get through” until things ease up. Without a second thought they take to the road, intent on living in their vehicle, but not realizing that any unfamiliar living space has its requirements and, in this case, literally has its “rules of the road.”

Having been a Girl Scout, I think it is wise to be prepared and consider the mobile apartment options before the need strikes. That way, small necessities can be gathered to insure an easier transition to the sometimes fishbowl life of vehicular living. But, hey! Why listen to me when the voice of experience beckons from the other side of the Internet. Let me introduce you to Chris Damitio, author of Rough Living: Tips and Tales of a Vagabond when he says:

"I've found that parking in secluded areas is almost always a mistake. The best places to park are places where there are people around and plenty of vehicles moving in and out all the time. I've parked in cul-de-sacs and had people report me to the police because it was "suspicious" to see a car parked there. Oddly, I've parked in residential neighborhoods where I didn't know a soul for weeks on end and no one thought anything of it. I suppose they all thought I knew someone they didn't know. My bus was robbed behind the liquor store in Fairhaven. (If the thieves want to return the disks with my photos and writing on them you can send them to the Bellingham Weekly.)"

Now, that’s the type of practical advice I’m talking about. Good to know the ins and outs of mobile street living. For instance, one should be aware that some municipalities have ordinances prohibiting sleeping in cars, while other areas, such as large box stores almost encourage sleepers and their vehicles. Always good to know where you’re not welcomed and where you can expect the welcome mat out.  Becoming descerning in one’s choice of a rest stop is far easier than rousing up half asleep to the shine of an police officer’s flashlight in your face. And, wouldn’t you know they are always snooping around right before the alarm goes off?

So, now that I have introduced this concept of transient living, both with and without choice, let me introduce you to a range of experienced viewpoints. “Johnnomads” has made a YouTube video for your information and delight, while Craig S. Roberts has written a book and has a web site:

In this YouTube video by user johnnomads, a love
for mobile living is shared by someone who says
he is “houseless, but not homeless,” by choice.”

If you are considering living in your car, whether
for fun or necessity, you might be interested in
this book of practical observations by Craig S. Roberts.
If so, to preview, just hover your mouse over the link:

Ten Consecutive Years Living In Cars: Living, Traveling, Camping, Attending College and Performing Surveillance in Cars—and Loving It!

Or go and enjoy his web site.



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Oct 22 2010

 

Sadly, the number of homeless people is increasing

When one thinks of homeless people, it is easy to understand the level of poverty putting a person on the the streets would cause extreme hardship. Food, water, bathing and so many other things that we take for granted become luxuries. But, I did not understand the danger of living in such an unprotected manner, just out in the world without shelter. I never dreamed that aggressive individuals would feel a need to harm and physically abuse those in such a miserable, vulnerable position. Here in Maryland, we had a homeless man killed where he slept in the grassy, wooded area of a highway cloverleaf.

As Brian Levin, advisor to the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) and director of the California-based Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, states in the article below, “Homeless people have become a socially acceptable target of aggression.”

US Senate urged to act on rising attacks on homeless

WASHINGTON — The US Senate was urged Wednesday to require that violent attacks against homeless people be tracked and formally reported as hate crimes, which could lead to stiffer penalties for the perpetrators.

Senator Ben Cardin (Maryland) said he was “shocked and horrified” by reports of 43 homeless people killed in 2009 alone, compared to 27 murders a year earlier.

The victims were specifically targeted by their attackers, including cases in which people were strangled, beaten to death with bats or set on fire, experts and family members of the deceased told a Senate judiciary subcommittee hearing.

Cardin urged support for his “Hate Crimes Against the Homeless Statistics Act” that he introduced a year ago that would allow authorities to track homeless attacks along with other hate crime categories such as race, religion and sexuality.

“The homeless, just because they’re homeless, are being victimized and that has to stop in America,” said Cardin, who chaired the hearing.

Acts designated as hate crimes lead to harsher punishments for those convicted. For example, a second-degree felony would become a first-degree felony, with a maximum sentence bumped from 15 to 30 years in prison.

To read the entire article, click here.

It is hard to imagine this would be a problem, with teenagers being the main protagonists and advertising their cruelty by posting videos of their cowardly conquests on YouTube, but that is where we are. Apparently it is happening all over the United States. Here is some coverage of the situation and then comments by those who are determined to stop the violence. To watch, click play:

Heartless cowards are beating up homeless people, sometimes to death.

 

Hard Lives, Mean Streets, just released in May, 2010, has a well documented look at the dangers to one of the United States’s most defenseless populations. If the subject interests you, hover your mouse over the link below to preview the book:

Hard Lives, Mean Streets: Violence in the Lives of Homeless Women (Northeastern Series on Gender, Crime, and Law)

 



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