Having read through many of the comments, I've noticed a couple of points I feel is worth mentioning. One is the tendency to wander off the topic of homelessness and drift into the default AOAND topic of being as one and sharing our love and light. As much as I'm sure we create our own reality, I don't know anyone who has successfully created the reality in which love and light projected from a New Age networking site actually keeps the wind and rain off in the absence of walls and a roof.
The other point is that there seems to be a focus on how we feel about homeless people. There are good points raised on both sides of this argument. Yes. They are human just like those of us who live in houses and, yes. There are complete assholes among the homeless just as there are among we of the the roofed community
. There are many reasons for homelessness and the main one is a disconnection with society in some way or another (and that, in itself, is a whole other issue).
However, is any of this really addressing the issue of homelessness? Human beings are the only species on the planet who are prone to being homeless (stray pets are "homeless" only because they have been raised to share a home with humans and because they are perceived to belong
in a house).
So why are we uniquely prone to homelessness? Because we have created a society that dictates the kind of shelters in which we live, where we can pitch up and so on. We think we own
land but, in reality, we simply assume the right to evict other humans from the land we think we own. When was the last time a squirrel was prosecuted for trespassing? What about woodlice
? Do they pay rent? Do we not even warrant the rights of a woodlouse
If you "own" a large piece of land, I'm sure you enjoy the birdsong and to see wildlife frolicking in the greenery. You see a rudimentary shelter with a family of fellow humans living in it. Do you welcome them or call the police?
Mel discussed the BIG ISSUE project in the UK but there are also a number of projects in the US. One of these is run by an amazing man called Dan Phillips and you can catch the first of three videos on YouTube in which he discusses the project in great detail. you can find it on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Std5taGTP6I
Just as wild creatures build their shelters from the very earth around them, we can do the same. It doesn't have to mean living in a cave. There are a couple of videos on my page by a man called Simon Dale. Simon is an advocate for low impact housing that uses the materials readily available in the environment and he has built beautiful homes that enjoy the luxuries of modern living in homes that can be built simply and cheaply and are sympathetic to the environment.
The only reason that a homeless person can't just build a home somewhere is that there isn't a square inch of land anywhere that isn't "owned" by someone else. In the UK, this is further confounded by excessive, obstructive and prohibitive planning laws. Those who "own" sufficient land to accommodate small housing projects need to be encouraged to consider doing so.
When you decide to make alterations to your home, do you dump old doors and window frames? Pay someone to come and take discarded masonry and architectural features away? If so, Dan Phillips would love to hear from you.
Yes. Homeless people are more closely in touch with reality... and we can help to improve that reality.