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Hearts Of Fire Project


Hearts Of Fire Project

For people who are interested in empowering homeless people to show the world who they are. We believe that people without homes have much to teach us about what it means to be a human being. Join in!

Location: Virtual
Members: 21
Latest Activity: Jul 20, 2010

Discussion Forum

Er... coming back to the issue of homelessness... 6 Replies

Started by Ron Tocknell. Last reply by Ron Tocknell Jul 28, 2009.

The End of the Industrial Age and The Homeless 13 Replies

Started by mary rose. Last reply by mary rose Jul 25, 2009.

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Comment by mary rose on July 16, 2009 at 3:06pm
Holly, in the many months that i have been contemplating this time and knowing that it was coming, the words "and the meek shall inherit the earth" have passed through my mind many times.

As i have told Bob, i believe the homeless are our real hope because they now have nothing to lose -- everything has already been stripped from them. So, they can lead into the future. But those of us who have not let go of our material comforts will still hold on to the money clip in our pockets because it owns us, And as long as this is the case we are afraid to let go and be free of our addiction to "things" as you express and return to the "natural living' that provided us with soul.

We have allowed ourselves to become "things" without real value as we have given ourselves over to a world of materialism in which everything, and i do mean everything, is for sale to the highest bidder. And there are plenty of bidders around us.

Food sovereignty is the cornerstone of freedom, but how many of us are sovereign in this respect? Most of the food in the U.S. is now shipped an average of 1500 miles from point of production to retail outlet. What happens when the price of gasoline prohibits the trucks and other transport vehicles from rolling our food to us, as will inevitably happen. It will take only a couple weeks for the store shelves to become bare. And then, what will happen to those hwo live in the city and are unable to raise their own?

Shouldn't we be looking for some answers now? Thinking about changing our lifestyle? Shouldn't we have begun to plan ahead so we are not left as New Orleans was when Katrina hit? Should we not be thinking about our children and grandchildren whose future it appears we have stolen as we have demanded more and more of everything -- the hell with the cost.

And, with that last remark, how many of you realize that with both the costs of beef and oil, we have deferred the "external" (meaning environmental costs) to future generations. If we had not done this and included the external costs in the retail price, not one of us would have been able to use oil or eat beef. .
Comment by mary rose on July 16, 2009 at 12:00pm
I want to add some statistics here that we all very much need to be aware of.. They are taken from the book: "End of Work" written by researcher Jeremy Rifkin. Here is a summary of this

But in it, Rifkin reveals that in 1997, when the book was published, that due to advances in technology, only 30% of the presently available worldwide labor force was needed to produce all the goods and services necessary for the 6+ billion of us on the planet. And, he noted that as we moved forward into nanotechnology in order to conserve on fast-dwindling resources, only about 3 - 4% of the worldwide human labor force would be needed to provide for all of us on the planet.

So, the question arises as to how we are to provide a means of living for those who are being disenfranchised from the labor force as need for their services decreases.

While there is a call for "full employment" today, how can this take place? Won't it only use up more vital resources on an unprecedented scale and continue the rape of the planet in order to create jobs and income for people who have been disenfranchised from their natural surroundings and placed in artificial environments?

Statistics from the Ecological Footprint Index today show that by the year 2030 we will need the equivalent of 1 more Earth in order to meet the demand for resources equivalent to of that of today.

When one considers this figure what it essentially means is that we are ecologically bankrupt today. And, of course this is evidenced by looking around us at the state of our ecological systems as they collapse in front of our very eyes.

While i am leaving a lot out here due to time and space, the question arises as to whether or not a dramatic change of lifestyle and consequent change in the way we use resources could offer a way out of this. And then we need to consider as the driver of all of our social systems just how much influence the present monetary system plays in holding us into our present destructive pattern?
Comment by mary rose on July 16, 2009 at 11:34am
Holly, i concur with you that homelessness is a complex issue. And no one understands this better than i.

Something that may have been overlooked here is that i have been a homeless person and you have to be on in order to understand it. In the early 1990's, in the recession much like this one, i became homeless having had an income of $150,000 that year as a real estate broker. I had six months income in the bank at the onset, but could just not make it through as a single women with out additional income. I lived for nearly a year in the back of my station wagon and slept in underground parking garages where the police would think i was part of the night cleaning crew in order to be safe. I learned, with the help of a group of other homeless, to dumpster dive for food and found other places to park at night where it was safe and the police would not bother me. Sometimes i was able to find employment as a telemarketer, but this is definitely not "me". So, it was difficult for me to meet the goals set by these companies and i never lasted very long. Sometimes i never got paid for the work i did, but was let go when the companies were forced to shut down. Co-workers in these companies were others like me who had made good incomes as real estate agents and stock brokers prior to the downturn.

My reason for being here now is that i made a vow at that time to find out what in the hell went on in this country that caused so many to work their entire lives in an effort to have a secure retirement only to lose everything in one fell swoop as these recession/depressions took place. . So, i have spent 18 years now studying this phenomenon and i have much information to share with those who are interested and want to know.

In my commitment to doing this, i also made a commitment to serving humanity and not the money masters. So, while i occasionally am the recipient of small amounts of money with which to buy supplies to keep the organization going, i take no money for myself and live totally on a very small social security check that puts me well below the poverty level. But the lack of money does not keep me from speaking what i feel to be the truth.

And it is fear that keeps many from diving into the river called "homelessness" with its attendant "addictions" as people attempt to deal with their pain. And you will often see me write or say that we do not have a drug or alcohol problem -- we have a pain problem as people are forced by the conventional mainstream system into doing things that are completely against their natural belief system.

What is needed is for us to return home again to live natural lives unfettered by the artificial systems we have created today called "modern". Where once we rushed madly forward to embrace "modernism" it is now doubtful that modernism can even outlast the next couple decades, whereas the natural living associated with indigenous cultures has lasted many thousands of years. And it is to these 'natural beginnings' as expressed by Jeanne and myself, and which were inherent at the beginning of our social evolution, that we are striving to return.

These were/are the feminine qualities that give us soul. The masculine and emergent qualities of technology, social structure and rationality, have tended to suppress these qualities and bring the system into an unbalanced state. What is necessary, writes Jay Earley in "Transforming Human Culture" is to now integrate these qualities so that we, the people within the system may regain our balance as the system itself regains balance, and move forward into the future in health and wellness.
Comment by Jeanne on July 16, 2009 at 10:38am
No... you're right Holly... the homeless situation is complex. I'm sorry if I wasn't more careful with my words... because I believe that you are also right on about respecting the fear factor. Diving into a raging river to save another isn't always the best choice for either one... In this case - homelessness - it is necessary to make it a community effort where individuals offering help are not compromised and folks being helped benefit by the efforts of many.
So sorry to hear about the loss of your husband... that must've been harsh. But good you have supportive family... many don't.
Comment by Jeanne on July 16, 2009 at 9:01am
While I understand the altruistic motives to take folks into your home who are experiencing tragic circumstances... it is naive to think that because they are homeless, they are any safer than the general lot of people. And to recite examples of tragic outcome, is to also ignore the many stories of overcoming.

Drugs and alcohol aren't restricted to the impoverished nor is crime. In fact our system well rewards some criminals. It is also naive to think that people who are without the basics of life, won't steal... most would.

The us and them concept regarding the homeless is wrong... we are them. I don't remember how many times I, as a single mom between jobs, couch surfed until I could get it together again. After completing further education in social work, I returned to my old vocation as designer, (the money was better and after living like a student again for a few years... I wanted good money... not nonprofit wages) There I met a single mother who, because she made too much money, couldn't get any help. (A weird series of badly timed events had conspired against her and she never recieved a penny of child support... something I can relate to.) She and her two boys lived in an overpriced, raunchy residential hotel, with her worrying about them in their before and after school activities. Eventually she got a place with the assistance of an org that expected her to attend training sessions on how to be a good renter for 4 weeks... more time away from her pubescent boys who were becoming increasingly difficult with the circumstances. (teens are difficult under the best of circumstances... much less...).
After completing that contract job, I went to another company... same thing; another single mother who was worn down and failing fast and another single mom was the receptionist and also struggling to keep her kids from being taken by an ex who married a rich woman. She has since lost her kids.

My point is, people living on the edge are everywhere... including plush highrise office complexes.

No shame on you, Holly, for being realistic and protective of your survival. You are not a coward for being caring or careful. But you are also no different than any homeless person... for if you're not careful... you too will be counted among their numbers. I believe its the old "there but for the grace of God go I".

I don't know if any of y'all are familiar with Dignity Village... a community by and for homeless in Portland, Oregon. It is a wonderful solution for some.

One last statement about homelessness... the majority worldwide are in that predicament due to war. And the economic crisis here in the USA is a war... between the expedient rich and the excess poor.
Comment by Holly on July 16, 2009 at 6:20am
Mary Rose.. the homeless situation is such a complex one. And most of the time confusing to compassionate people who want to help. I am torn when it comes to a solution.
Take hurricane Katrina for example again. Right after the storm, people were lining up to help and take people into their homes. One of those people was an elderly woman who had helped people her entire life, she took in a young couple, gave them a room, fed them.. and to repay her.. they murdered her
My neighbor saw a man sleeping under a bridge, he passed him everyday and felt guilty for doing so. Then one day, he stopped, picked him up and took him in. The man stayed there for a few days and then disappeared without a word. Then one night while our neighbor was out , the man came back, broke in and robbed him.

In the City of Orlando Florida, there is an organization that feeds the homeless. They set up a make shift kitchen in the park downtown. Local government has shut them down over and over again, because the crime rate spiked in the area on the days they set up to feed the homeless.

People have fought the cities decision to ban feeding the homeless. But the cities attitude is much like saying - don't feed the pigeons.. it will draw rats.

Florida has a unique homeless situation .. much like tourists flock here during the winter, so do the homeless.

So, the dilemma is, how do you sort out the schizophrenics who need special care, the vets with post traumatic stress disorder, drug addicts and the new surge of homeless families who are victims of the economy?

People want to help, but are afraid to help.. and I'm sad to say I'm one of them. I take the easier road and ease my conscience by donating money to the Salvation Army. Shame on me ..but the only way to tackle a problem is to be honest..admit our fears and work toward a solution.

All in all, its not just a matter of the homeless needing love, food and shelter. These people need professionals.. social workers, psychologists, rehabs and a government agency that can help each and every homeless person on a case by case, need basis.
Then after careful screening, the rest who simply need the basics.. love, food and shelter and a home base to launch a fresh new start, will be greeted by cowards like me with open arms.
Comment by The Ancient One on July 16, 2009 at 6:16am
"Your soul mission is your reason for being, your life purpose. It's your calling in life-who you feel called to be, what you feel called to do. Mission is an energy that flows through you-a drive, voice, or passion that you cannot ignore. It's what you know in your heart you must live if you are to experience inner peace and harmony."

~ Alan Seale
Comment by mary rose on July 15, 2009 at 2:25pm
Holly, thanks for your input here in this beginning discussion on homelessness and the attendant factor of addiction. There are so many different levels upon which a discussion of the events that cause it and its solution may take place.

My thoughts on New Orleans have always been that it was a city that never should have been built there in the first place when all factors are considered. It was constructed initially as a "money-maker" due to its access as a port, . but over the long term, was it ever a good idea in the best interests of all concerned.

I am also aware of the difference in the manner in which "survivors" of both the New Orleans event and those of a San Diego fire were treated. Those in San Diego were fed healthy food, received massages and were able to listen to healing music in order to relieve the stress in their lives, And in New Orleans, we all know how those caught up in this tragedy were treated.

The difference appears to be held in the collective consciousness of those handling events in different locations with one mind set intent on healing while the other is intent on destruction. So, what is the difference in thinking here and how do we elicit compassion and understanding vs engendering hate and destruction.

It seems to me that over the long run everything is broken down in terms of human consciousness and understanding what motivates us to move in either direction.
Comment by mary rose on July 15, 2009 at 10:03am
Jeanne, these are incredible statistics which will only grow worse as the economic crisis deepens. Thank you for providing them.
Comment by Jeanne on July 15, 2009 at 9:09am
Correction to my previous comment... 2005 stats approximated 1 billion without suitable housing and 100 million totally homeless.

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