[RE: Newscity, “Scraping By,” Nov. 1-7] Well, I guess we know now that homelessness is not brain science. People are homeless because there is a lack of housing: 3,000 homeless (many think around 5,000) and a total of just more than 300 total beds available.
Housing First is a great model for housing, if only we could expand it to the largest percent of those experiencing homelessness and poverty and not just target the program from a public safety program. Address it from a public health program and safety will be one of the outcomes. We know now through studies that Housing First alone is not as effective without partner programs that fully fund and support a strong emergency shelter program. Housing First alone cannot build enough housing needed to address the support of many who become homeless because of domestic violence, kids coming out of foster care, jail, lack of rent support, nuisance abatement laws, evictions and all the other reasons why people loose their housing. Those experiencing emergency loss of housing need a place to stay now, not later. A few days in cold weather is a hardship enough, let alone weeks or months without access to housing. How will we address housing when we have hundreds or more already waiting for low-income housing through HUD? What about those with disabilities, coming out of nursing homes, or veterans coming home suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and other challenges? We still have not done our best outreach to our Vietnam-era veterans.
We need to either pay a living wage to support housing or support a fully funded housing program or a combination of both.
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Route 66 Roach Motel
I moved to New Mexico from Indiana in August of 2006 with a steady but low income. I ended up homeless and panicked.
One month later, I found a place I could afford. It was a furnished efficiency where everything was breaking down! The walls were covered in incontinence and I worked tirelessly to get the place up to code. Before I was finished, I was called back to Indiana for an emergency. By the time I got back, I'd lost my apartment, even though I did everything I could to pay rent on time.
I was guided to a long-term hotel, which charged more per month than I could pay for if I wanted to stay longer than one month. I found myself in a roach motel. It was a nightmare! I ended up losing most of my belongings and going to a homeless shelter just to get away from the bugs because the landlord would do nothing.
Nearly a month later, I found myself another apartment and endeavored to start over again. Once again the place turned out to be a roach motel and once again the landlord would do nothing about the bugs nor the necessary repairs. I'm living in someone else's filth, which I cannot clean no matter how hard I try, awaiting Section 8 housing in hopes that I might find someplace where people take care of what they own.
Why did I move to New Mexico? There may be higher-quality places for lower prices in Indiana, but the people are cruel to each other. I'm seeking a place where I can start over and find happiness. So far, I've found individuals who are friendly but businesses and owners who embarrass the human race. Please, Albuquerque, clean up your own messes. After all, would you want to live like I have over the last 14 months? If my career didn't require space to spread out in safety, I'd prefer to be homeless!
Dear Santa Corporation
An open letter to Wal-Mart, Target, JC Penney, Best Buy and all the other corporate vampires:
Your underhanded and vile tactics of trying to put citizens into a "Christmas spirit" and therefore a Christmas buying mood the day after Halloween is absolutely disgusting and pathetic.
Your companies bait and prod people and shove a false cheery mood down our throats by blasting music and images best left for mid-December in order to benefit your bottom line. You should realize it does not work. It only creates stress and an uneasy feeling that one is being forced to bend over for your company. America’s corporate thinkers have led themselves to believe it’s not the 12 days of Christmas but the 65 days of spending. Continue down this path and five years down the road people will be lined up July 5 in order to get the best Christmas deals.
At this point the celebration of Thanksgiving is almost totally forgotten and is used only as a rest and planning day before the unheralded buying spree the morning after. That day is being spent standing in line at 4 a.m. by spiritually empty and vapid fools that somehow believe wild spending and gift-giving will buy their souls peace. Unfortunately, the majority generally find out the real truth the day the first bill arrives and they realize the debt has trapped them once again for the year. They will also find the corporate Christmas spirit equates to 29 percent interest.
The corporate greed exhibited by our country is really unbelievable at this point in history, and companies have latched onto a horrendous way of making a buck. I’m only shocked that one of them hasn’t rolled out a cuddly Jesus figurehead to proclaim that “Thy dollar and soul is blessed by spending it here.” It’s probably only a matter of time.
I’m sure I’m not the only one witnessing these sickening phenomena. As for me, I specifically refuse to do Christmas shopping at any of these stores for this reason alone. If it comes down to giving cash with a self-made card and doing Christmas shopping at Allsups, I’ll be better off for it.
All I can say is handing the guy at the corner with a sign a $20 bill and telling him he’s not forgotten is more along the lines Jesus taught and would probably want. Try doing that and see if that’s better for your spirit than fighting over Trash-Talkin’ Elmo at 5 a.m.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
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