Friday, October 17, 2008

Sleep In Part 28

Interview with Matt:

Why are you here?

"Wel,, one thing is trying to become more aware of homelessness. I have firsthand experience so I try to come out to rallies. It you meet someone who is recently homeless, you can interact with them and teach them the ins and outs of homeless. Plus, people who don't know homelesssness might want to talk with someone who has experienced it."

Why do you think there so much stigma?

"Honestly, at some point in our history, we put our personal status of where we are in society ahead of our needs and desires. I have talked with people who have been homeless for 40 years, who hold jobs and make the choice to be homeless. Society needs someone to loook down on. To be homeless makes you instantly different. There are so many people who assume that homeless is due to personal fault.

I know a family who was homeless because of a house fire. It was not their fault, but everyone assumed they were crackheads. I talked to a guy tonight who said that people think he's a wino.

People don't want to see it. They don't want to another person's suffering as anything but there own problem. They don't want to connect and have to share their own stuff.

They think 'If I don't acknwoledge you as a human being, I don't have to give anything of myself to you.'

What will this event accomplish?

"If one person treats a homeless person better or helps one, then it is a success. If two homeless people band together for survival on the streets, it is a success.

One thing I notice is that the elected officials show up and don't stay. I would love to see the Mayor or an elected official spend the night out on the street, on a real blanket not a fancy sleeping bag. It won't happen unlesss it is an election year."

What do you think of local services?

"Services for women and children are better than for men. One local men's shelter requires you to give up all your posessions, wear a hospital gown and walk around in socks. You have to be there at 3:30 PM which is impossible if you have a job. Women's shelters lets you in at 9 PM. That doesn't encourage people to get jobs. Reforming welfare to help people transition to being independent --- they need a transition period. If you get a job and can't get daycare, what good is it?"

"A question I have is why is it illegal to be homeless? What is transiency a crime? How can your housing or lack of housing be illegal? Why?"

Thank you, Matt.

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