PERCEPTION vs REALITY
Homelessness is a circumstance we view very differently as individuals, and as a community. I know first hand that many people can share the same vision of outcome, while disagreeing vehemently about the path to achieve it. I also know that it takes everyone doing what they can, where they can, to make a noticeable impact. There is much value in nurturing connections and friendships with those who ask the simple question, " What do WE need to do; and how do WE need to do it"? These people are your tribe, and they will encourage doing the right thing, at the right time; and together we move mountains.
I have met some crazy wonderful people in my work with homelessness. The amount of love and hope that our local organizations, agencies, and groups put into their "missions" astounds me on a daily basis.
When we first start doing something about a community challenge, we have a picture of what that looks like in our mind, we see the need, and we see the outcome we want to achieve; we do not see or even imagine the complexity of the relationship, and community connection it takes along the path. This is the ugly, raw, eye opening, reality check about what each individual has experienced on their path to homelessness. Becoming more knowledgeable helps us to find our lane ( yes, you do have one) narrow our focus and attempt to find contribution in more than one aspect of the challenge, with more than one approach. Mental health issues are more of a challenge, depending on why they exist in the first place. Addiction, has a heavy presence, along with trafficking and prostitution, health issues, self care issues, there are so many different stories.
Watching the streets empty of our most chronic homeless took time, effort, and advocacy in a lot of directions, but moved to implementation very quickly. We are all doing better ! This kind of movement quickly points out gaps in services, but is also shows us where we can intercept some of the paths that lead to homelessness. This may be a reason you see non profits and agencies shift their focus, or promote awareness in areas they are not generally known to contribute to. Everything is connected, and when we remain ready to adapt to where we would be most impactful, outcomes improve.