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Homelessness: It’s not their fault!

 

Have you ever been concerned about homelessness?  Have you ever wanted to help those in need, but didn’t know how?  Have you ever been in need and couldn’t find help? Have you ever wanted to donate food or clothes so those who needed them could get them for free?  What are your thoughts, ideas, concerns, or feelings about people in need?  Please read on and share your thoughts on this site.

Ever since I’ve been an adult, I’ve been aware of homelessness.  I don’t remember what I thought about it when I was a young adult, but I do remember not being a patriotic “American”.  I moved to Finland when I was 26 years old, pregnant with my second child, and looking forward to living in a country which would enable me to stay home to care for my son.  It was a beautiful experience to be pregnant, taking care of my five-year-old son, my body, and my upcoming baby without worry of having to return to work.  It was noticeable there in Jarvenpaa, Finland and then in Kerava, Finland, that homelessness was nonexistent.  When I was there over twenty years ago, they provided unemployment money to me even though I had never worked there.  Then I got other benefits to survive on after the birth of my son.  Everyone who needed them, got benefits to have housing, food, medical care and other basic necessities.  No one seemed to do without.  The only time I ever saw a homeless person was someone drunk.  Even those people were taken to jail, given shelter, and released in the morning.  They, too, could have gotten benefits, been housed, and fed.

I worked for the VA clinic in graduate school some twenty years ago, and there I worked with the homeless population directly.  I learned then something that was no surprise, they’re people just like you and me, down on their luck, often with mental health diagnoses which make it difficult for them to maintain work and housing.

After graduate school, I began working as a social worker or therapist and sometimes my clients were homeless.  They were and are great people, nice, friendly, human, real, and struggling.  I still really enjoy working with the homeless population and am grateful I am able to be contracted with the Oregon Health Plan because this contract enables me to work with the people who need it the most.

I’ve enjoyed the opportunities to work with people without permanent homes, to cook food for them, donate clothes, or provide other resources that I have and don’t need, which they need and don’t have.  This kind of work feels right, good, it bring peace.

I recently learned about an amazing organization, trying to do this as a group, rather than alone, like I’ve been trying to do it.  They’re called Share Fair, a neighborhood anarchist collective. In their words: The purpose of the share fair is to connect people with resources, services, and each other in a convenient and fun way.  I’ve contacted Share Fair and plan to gather items together to donate, food, toiletries, clothes etc.  I even hope to provide cooked food sometimes so those folks without kitchens can access food in another location.  I encourage you to consider contacting me or Share Fair to donate resources that you have in excess to help people who don’t have enough!  If you don’t live in Eugene, Oregon, I encourage you to seek out your local Saint Vincent de Paul, Soup Kitchen, or other organization which helps the homeless.  Good luck with your good Samaritan activities!

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