Saturday, December 27, 2008

Guide to Homelessness

You'll probably think I am crazy, but I found this great web site called Survival Guide to Homelessness. It's a survival guide for people who may either choose homelessness or have it forced upon them but still want to work and have a decent life. In other words, it is a web site that offers strategies to survive that which most of us ordinary middle-class people fear is the worst thing that can happen to a person. Homelessness. That fear is what keeps us from doing things like following our dreams or starting our own businesses or speaking out against injustices.

A comment I read sums up the hope this web site provides (I've snipped it for brevity):
...I have to work 50-70 hours a week, half a day on weekends...I lost half my savings in the market plunge, and it took me twenty years to save that much...The worry about bills and debts is constant and chronic, and keeps me up at night, and makes me depressed during the day. I have a nice car, a nice house, a great job...isn’t it strange that it doesn’t matter whether you’re homeless or not? Having things and a job does not make life easier AT ALL...I thought being homeless would be the most horrible thing that could ever happen to me. And it is that VERY FEAR that has driven my entire life and career. I never thought, “I need to be rich so I don’t have to live in a modest ranch home in Oregon. “ I thought, “I need to be rich so I won’t ever be homeless.” And reading your posts has been like someone throwing ice water on my face. WAKE UP! You are frittering your LIFE away on FEAR!
The author responds:
It is my hope to free my readers from debilitating fear, not necessarily to encourage homelessness, but to strip the threat of homelessness of its power to make our present lives a working nightmare.
The site is a breath of fresh air.

It's also a manual for how to extend something like a PCT hike outward from the trail. Some of these creative ideas could help a long-distance hiker save money on resupply stops. Some of these survival tips could help a long-distance hiker who quit their job survive without having to return to the trail to do it. In any event, anything that strips homelessness of its power to force us to endure bad situations in our daily life holds the possibility that equity could be restored, even if only a little, after so many decades of transferring wealth from the working class to the rich.

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