It has been a very long time since I have blogged on this site. I confess to getting caught up in my own life. I guess it is simply easier to work within my personal sphere of influence and trust the universe to ripple (as it is inclined to do) that small good into the world. So never lose sight of the incredible impact you have as you go about putting your time energy and love into your communities. Thank you …on behalf of a grateful and changing world.
So what brings me back to this forum? I have been giving much thought to the affordable housing models which are being used today. Bearing in mind that we were many decades without any affordable housing initiatives, since the failed city housing ghettos of the 60s and 70s. Hooray for social consciousness and what we do have…. but as with all things it is growing and hopefully evolving.
The problem most cities have with ending homelessness is that access to housing (as with most of our culture for thousands of years) is based on a meritocracy. The idea that one is more worthy then another….that each must earn the right to x y or z. I am not here to argue against or for the validity of meritocracy….there are examples in human and animal kingdoms which support both positions. I am simply saying that in ending homelessness, meritocracy does not work.
A person is not an addict because they love the taste of a smooth malt on the back on their throat, or the sensation of needle piercing their skin. They like being some place besides awake in their reality. As harshly as society may judge, we all judge ourselves more harshly. Now imagine having NOTHING; being NOTHING in a meritocracy where worth is rewarded. You have no value…. Why would you deserve a better life…a home… a job, the love and support of a family and/or a community? When someone has reached that point they cannot be motivated by rewards because they do not believe they merit a reward. When we start valuing people just because they ARE PEOPLE we will see a little less self-loathing and more aspiring from them.
Everyone deserves a place to call home. It can be done …Utah was the first to eliminate homelessness and one major Alberta city has followed their example. It does not matter why we give housing to anyone/everyone; maybe we are motivated by compassion or by the cost effectiveness of affordable housing ($20,000 per year against the cost of providing support services to the homeless ($100,000 per year) the result is the same. Better quality of life for every member of our community.