Mr Baggins wrote an email to Angels of the Road which I would like to respond to and share with you. Mr Baggins' comments are in regular type face and my response will be in bold face type.
Mr Baggins I appreciate your concerns and very much appreciate your comments...I am including them in a blog so others can read them also. I will insert my responses to each comment within the text.
Shall we begin:
I can't believe your arrogance and disrespect to those trying to help.
The homeless people who know (have met) me in Calgary and my other stays know I have nothing but profound love and respect for them. I discussed this potential journey openly with my client friends at the D.I. for months before getting on that first bus. I have their complete support for what I am doing. My co-workers in Calgary and the front-line workers, I have shared with over the past 6 months are glad that someone is out here telling their story and trying to raise awareness of the situation.
I am assuming that you are also being dishonest in obtaining accommodation Actually I use my own name and disclose complete financials when asked. I have lived in my daughter's home since Oct. 2005, so I am in fact homeless . Even with a pretty good salary from the D.I. housing in Calgary would be a struggle as it is for 59% of working and working poor Canadians. But that is not what prompted my journey. For that information read Nov. 3rd blog In the Beginning
and possibly denying a woman who really needs shelter by taking a place reserved for those in real need. I have never stayed in a shelter that was filled to capacity...so the answer is NO, no one has ever been turned away for me. I carry a small tent just in case.
Perhaps your ethics and morality need a check up certainly you don't adhere to any recognized professional research . Millions of dollars are spent annually on research into poverty and homelessness (Angels of the Road doesn't have any of that money). None of it getting the answers I needed. I have seen the shelter system as a civilian, as a volunteer, and as a worker...the only perspective left was that of the clients. Feel free to go back to the blog beginning and actually get to know what I have learned from all the Angels I have met along this road.
I attended the international conference on homelessness in 2009, when I talk with academics, researcher and delegates about Angels of the Road, All of them expressed their approval for my "observer / participant study". A common protocol used in anthropological research and social sciences. Although no one could remember a study of this scope being done on homelessness before.
In many communities facilities are limited and women are turned away daily. Has someone been denied shelter for your research? Shame on you for using resources that should be reserved for those truly in need. I have no income when on the street (I quit my job to do this, no E.I. for me) My saving are all gone and my RRSPs which I use to support my internet, bus tickets and cell service won't last much into the New Year. Selling my dream-catchers gets me a little pocket money. I continue trusting the Creator to provide for the journey He has sent me on. When I am in a strange city my need for food and shelter is as desparate as anyone elses in that moment.
If you had started your journey by actually living on the streets for a week or two so that you could really experience homelessness perhaps the facilities and food you have taken under false pretences would have been more palatable. That is an odd suggestion, Calgary is the one place even on the street where I could NOT truly experience homelessness. I would be surrounded by dear friends within the population who would guarantee I lacked for nothing. By beginning my homeless journey in Regina, where I was completely alone, I effectively removed that advantage.
You speak of mental issues and substance abuse and the prostitution that goes with it and then can't understand why computer access, cell phones and computer time are limited. I DO understand why these things are restricted, when I speak to lack of computer access or time it is simply to inform my readers as to a lack of length or content within the blogs and at that particular time.
Shake your head, street smarts are not taught in school and your education won't help you with this although common sense might. I was street smart long before I went back to university in my 40s and got book smart. Why would you presume the two are mutually exclusive? As for the uncommon gift of common sense I have been truly blessed. Thx for your concern.
Your self professed journey is a total farce, you are not homeless you are simply using facilities provided for the homeless. This is not the way that a professional conducts solid research. Now we are repeating ourselves Yes I am homeless and YES this is an accepted method of study. Assuming you have read the above I need not repeat.
Stop your journey and sarcastic comments of those helping and do some real good by joining the front lines with those who provide concrete resources that you say you once did. OK the Nov 21st blog was sarcasm...I don't really think there is a brainwashing conspiracy going on. You will find (if you read the blogs) I have never been anything but supportive of the agencies and workers in the cities I have visited. I have harsh criticism for Government rehousing policies at all levels. I share my experiences good and bad with my readers. I promised my friends in Calgary that I would be truthful in telling their story and I will do nothing less. There are too many myths, stereotypes and misperceptions about homelessness and the people who are homeless. I just hope that sharing my experience will help bridge some of the knowledge gaps for people who can't learn about homelessness any other way.
Many homeless shelters are run 100% by volunteers who staff facilities overnight, clean up and then go to work. Food is cooked and brought by volunteers, laundry is done by volunteers food is donated by stores. Does it meet Canada recommended nutrition probably not but people try and I have yet to see a homeless person criticize people for giving and doing what they could. Reserve your criticism for 100% funded government facilities not those run by people doing the best they can with what they have. Again not sure where you feel wrongly accused. The diets are hi-carb / low protien. The lines for everything are long. Dis-repair abounds. There are shortages in everything. These are not criticisms, they are facts and if it encourages one person to pitch in and help who may have spent the rest of their life opting out... then it is worth it. Government funding is rationed out to private chartible organizations and like the voluntary organization they are doing the best they can with what they have. NO one working in the shelter industry is over paid even the executives at the D.I. are getting 1/3rd of what they could get with a job in the private sector. My own take home pay after 3 yrs was equal to what the guys were making doing day labour...If you work with the homeless you are in it for the love. And I thank you for that.