I spent some time on the Internet and the phone yesterday looking for answers to the homelessness question. We hear solutions coming from one group of people as the media circus grinds its wheels and drones on about this and that. We, the public tend to either buy-into the message or stick our heads in the sand and avert our eyes to the issues at hand because no one seems to be listening to us.
Perhaps they aren’t listening because we don’t buy their message and haven’t created our own.
We need to find, be part of and help design a solution and quit giving the floor to the few. We are not very good at messaging because we are working, trying to pay our bills and frustrated with the current line of communication that sets an agenda bought into by traditional media. Now, with social media, You tube and all the other channels out there we have a voice but need to learn to use it wisely.
We also must really look for our own ideas and solutions to the problems at hand and redefine the way we talk about these issues.
There are two problems in our area that often get lumped into one. We have an issue with Homelessness that impacts many of our fellow citizens. These are families and young people who have lost their jobs, hit a string of bad luck and need a lift. There are also many mentally ill folks on the street who need assistance and we as a state have let them down by failing to give them the services they need. Many of these folks respect our community and are involved in programs as they look to find work and get back on their feet.
There are many organizations in our community who are working to help these folks and we can support those agencies as a way of assisting the homeless issue in our community.
I’m looking into some of those programs and will offer ideas in the coming days.
The second issue is the transient issue. We have become a haven for transients and they too need our compassion but also need to respect our community, our parks and our laws.
We must not get so wrapped up in the transient issue that we fail to assist those in our own community who are homeless and need our help. We can stand up for our community by demanding respect and adherence to the law while assisting our homeless but we must properly define the two issues.
I’m tired of watching people trying to put others, and me, in a box as they push for the change they see as the only answer. I want to be involved in a discussion that is not owned by any one group but by our entire community. So it’s time we start our own discussion and set our own message.
In order for us to be heard we have to act. I understand we are busy and government holds public hearings at times when the public can’t really attend. (That’s something that also needs to change) But instead of getting involved in the argument, find a program that assists the truly homeless and volunteer, give money, talk about the work they do and feel compassion for those without a home. Don’t lump the transient population in with those in our community who are having a tough time.
It’s time to get involved and stop allowing the conversation to be controlled by a single group. It’s time to do more than talk, even out of true compassion, it’s time to elevate the discourse and focus on solutions, not who can yell the loudest.
— ED: Here are a couple of stories and resources:
Ruby Resourceress: http://eugenedailynews.com/author/rubyresourceress/