Monday, July 13, 2009

What is a home?

July 13, 2009
I'm going to try something new. I'm going to try adding a photo to this blog. We'll see how that turned out. The photo is a shopping cart packed full of personal possessions and on the back next to the handle hangs a small mirror surrounded by the words "Home Sweet Home"... Home what does that mean?
If home is where your stuff is then I guess that shopping cart is some one's home. Is home a place to find shelter from the storm, both literally and figuratively? If home is where the heart is then, any place your loved ones are should be home. What about things like feeling safe or a sense of belonging? I have a confession to make, I have never really felt at home. I have spent years in the same house, decades in the same town and I have always been surrounded by friends and family whom I dearly and deeply love. But I have always had an underlying sense that I am only here waiting til it is time to go there. "There", is no place in particular it is just the next place.
Whenever we tear down an old residential hotel or "revitalize" some neighbourhood, we displace people... often into homelessness. Isn't any home better than no home? I walked by a sign for Heated Indoor Storage units 12'x12' renting under $100 per month...If I got a humus toilet and a wash basin why couldn't I live there? Seriously though, make those into 20'x 20' with small bathrooms (think RVs) why couldn't such units rent for $300 monthly? I knew a woman whose husband built steel framed prefab houses 1000 sq ft under $8,000. These were mostly purchased by small countries rebuilding after natural disasters. Canada has its own national disaster a tsunami of homelessness washing over every major urban centre.
I commented to my children how I thought that our best option for affordable housing was to provide land to Habitat for Humanity. HH has the blueprints, materials, and labour...the only thing that slows them down is a lack of dirt to build on. My son said "where's the graff?" The problem with that idea, is the only thing anyone gets out of that arrangement is affordable housing. And politicians don't work that young, so cynical, so observant. We all need someplace to hang our mirror that says Home Sweet Home.

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