reening Ways         for earth-wise days
Human Issues Helping Humans/General
HELPING HUMANS General Discussion INDEX The Rationale For Good Quality Human Intervention Systems Nice Areas, Good Jobs - Living In The Land Of Make-Believe Social Groups and Working Together Important in Recovery From Abuse, Poverty, and Crime Consider Working Together In Coops Like Extended Family Walk In Beauty: Small Amount of Money Doesn’t Have To Mean Ugly and Hard Eco-Friendly Properties: Low Cost, Elbow Room, Quiet, Peace Low Funds On Hand, Living On A Shoestring, And Trying To Find Shelter Motels and Hotels Hostels Extended Stay HELPING HUMANS - HUMAN SERVICES, ETC. The Rationale For Good Quality Human Intervention Systems Areas with good quality social work and volunteering tend to be safer and more gentle places. Nurturing both humans and the environment creates a better planet for everyone. Having support systems available for those in need is a key element in any civilized society, Finding ways to open doorways and help light the spark of each unique individual so they can find their own path, independence and survival to the best of their abilities are primary concerns in working with human service enterprises. Human Services programs in and of themselves can be difficult to pay for (ie, taxes, donations), cumbersome and inefficient (low staff, high demand; bureaucratic red tape, long lines, waiting lists) and insufficiently prepared (staff with inadequate education, experience, or personal vision) to handle the growing numbers of victims of poverty and violence. They can also be places that are misused by people who want a free ride. Things can and do get mishandled and lost in the system. However, without some kind of outside intervention, people usually have nowhere else to turn. When we are dealing with food, consider creating gardens that the poor tend for their own bellies and to sell at markets for income for the charity center. Include year-round gardening strategies. Consider getting people off junk food which is often donated to food banks and homeless shelters. Look into various groups which have already worked with these concepts in various areas. Nice Areas, Good Jobs - Living In The Land Of Make-Believe Realize that the protected middle class and upper classes may be living in a fog and illusion which is not preparing them for the upcoming shocks of planetary shifting. Living in isolated well kept neighborhoods with plenty to eat and drink may be creating an artificial sense of safety and normalcy when in fact people should be sensitizing themselves to upcoming possible major upheavals. By working with the poor in a sincere and non-judgmental way, people can start preparing yourself for “What if that was me, too?” By attuning to hardship issues in others, people can better prepare fo a possible planet without enough water, overheated conditions, and diseases gone awry without adequate medical and security support. In many parts of the world, this is already a reality. By getting into the groove with realism, people can start sensing why we need to make major changes on the planet before it is too late. When people start sensing where others on the edge are coming from away from protected income sources and lifestyles, they start having a more direct relationship with the natural world. In addition, those people on the streets become less frightening as it is realized that homelessness and poverty can happen to anyone, anywhere. It becomes less of an “us” versus “them” concept. Many times people at a higher economic and educational level carry a symbolic Lysol disinfectant bottle with them when coming around people they figure are low income or homeless; it’s as if they are afraid they are going to catch something. That attitude of distancing from problems in general contributes to the environmental problems we have today. People detach themselves from the machines and modes of our own destruction because many people keep the rougher side of life, including industrial activities, off to one side. Social Groups and Working Together Important in Recovery From Abuse, Poverty, and Crime We need to work together to help create stronger human relationships which are easier on the spirit. Positive social groups and extended family support can help with this (Please see the book The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog in Books. Particularly see the final chapter, Healing Communities starting on page 231.) Treating each individual as a worthwhile Self and not an object of scorn, sexual abuse and neglect is also part of this. Consider Working Together In Coops Like Extended Family As the gap between the very wealthy and the poor or low to moderate income groups grows, we might consider group- based support systems which work as coops. Using a well-organized strategy to work with everyone’s income, time and availability, people can work together to cover housing, food, transportation, child care and elderly care. Several people wanting this kind of mutuality can find each other through posters, Craig’s List, newspaper ads, etc. or local social service networks may help getting several people to come together in this way. When people pool resources and other things, it can act as an extended family. It can be a mix of single mothers, singles with no children, married couples, etc., or it can be more of one type of household. This can be done within one building (like a large rental house with shared rooms), on private land (people pitch into buy the land and help put together one large or several small properties) or across several buildings close together in a neighborhood or block. The private property could be owned by a stable organization that allows people to come and go, too - this could be a mix of people who live and manage the property and those who either rent or buy short-term. In these coops, people look out for each other and make sure no one member of the groups ever goes without food, water or shelter. It would be designed as a responsible organization with an eye on personal safety (gun-free, non-violent, drug-free, abuse-free) respect and kindness. We should look into how ideas like these have already been put together in other areas, see what worked and did not work, and consider implementing ideas which fit certain needs. Part of this should include organic gardening and sustainability education wherever possible, even in cities. Walk In Beauty: Smaller Amounts of Money Doesn’t Have To Mean Ugly and Hard The walk with poverty often gets lost in a quagmire of ugliness. Ugly city streets, crowded homeless shelters, mean- spirited low cost apartment complexes, and then of course the whole dismal rough and tough cycles of abuse, street violence, drugs, and so on found in crowded conditions everywhere. Poverty also finds itself in small rural communities with low education and heavy atmospheres of no hope and non-creativity. We need to start feeling and finding the poetry of the land. Removing the harshness of gray city lifestyes or conformity driven small towns, and replacing them with the gentleness, loveliness and nature. Some people in the cities have never even been to the country at all. They don’t what that feels like - but some people in the country don’t use the innovativeness and opportunities often found in cities and keep things narrow. Eco-Friendly Properties: Low Cost, Elbow Room, Quiet, Peace Creating small inexpensive eco-friendly properties which give people a place to garden, have personal space and privacy, have a sense of plants and nature are much better than expensive apartment complexes or other areas with crowded conditions. Don’t have the houses lined up like graves in a cemetery. Give the areas a sense of roundness, curviness and flow. Put small indigenous garden areas between the houses so people have elbow room and privacy. Keep a small grocery store, post office and other essentials nearby so people can ride their bikes or walk there if they want to. Don’t make these areas feel over-processed and controlled like many housing subdivisions with a fancy sigh and name outside the complex. These areas should not have a formal housing subdivision feeling, but should be more natural and open. Once something is linked with a subdivision or building corporation, it changes its tone and often becomes more formal, stiff and controlled. You don’t want that with these properties. Consider revamping old ugly city areas with these eco-properties. Don’t scrape of forests and natural terrain. Rework what is already there. Each very small, humble and low cost, but solidly constructed and with human dignity in mind. The people with money usually spend it on themselves - big houses, large business complexes and so on. They are always looking for ways to make more money, at the expense of the environment and other people. Try to imagine making money from real estate while also cleaning up old and stale areas. Provide people with small, lovely and respectable properties which give something to the present and to the future. Reconsider how you look at a real estate money- making venture. You might not make as much per unit as you do with larger houses, but you would sell lots of these things because more people could afford them. Plus you would have the satisfaction of knowing you helped create sustainable lfe-ways for people. Low Funds On Hand, Living On A Shoestring, And Trying To Find Shelter One thing to look for in helping people rise out of poverty are low cost start-up rentals. Currently, we have a huge problem in most cities and towns with this issue. Here is what is happening: people find themselves on a shoestring; they do not have much money to put together for a rental, because most rentals require: strict application process - job, credit history, references; usually at least half a month’s to a full month’s deposit plus the rent, sometimes more fees on top of that; a commitment for six months to a year on a lease. Most people living on the edge don’t have the wherewithal to deal with all that. They just a need a place to get off the street quickly and without a lot of fuss and expense. People who are well-grounded with employment and housing often don’t realize how very difficult it really is for someone on the edge to try to start fresh or over with little funds and no job. Motels and Hotels Frequently people end up paying high weekly costs in motels or hotels; usually these places are the cheapest in town, and they often harbor rude and suspicious front desk personnel, criminals, drug addicts and prostitutes. Because these places are known to draw such people, the police are also often there, using Gestapo-type tactics to invade and question at every given opportunity. It is no joke that people with minor offenses like unpaid traffic tickets get hunted down and treated like full-blown criminals by the police in places like this. Expect the cops to be checking out whole night roster lists, peering into your car when you sleep at night and checking you in any other way they feel so inclined. Someone who is already and stressed and on low income just trying to make things work on a shoestring by staying someplace like this long enough until a job is found may find there is more stress and harassment living in a place like this than living in a tent. At least in most campgrounds, there is more personal space and privacy. Hostels The other place people on a shoestring go to are hostels in those areas where they exist. Not all towns have them. Some get become quite seedy and unpleasant; others are kept safe and clean. A person can find a roof over their head for low cost at these places, but the problem is that usually people are not allowed to stay very long (a week, ten days, two weeks maximum average) and the low cost comes with the price of no privacy because the place you sleep is in a dorm style room with bunkbeds; there can be piles of snoring and strange people in the room with you - people you have no way of knowing their personal backgrounds, criminal history, etc. If you can sleep through snores and other noises in the room at night, you can probably handle places like this; some of us are sensitive to noise and need more personal space and privacy. Again, there are times campgrounds and tents give people more options than this. Extended Stay Hotels There are extended stay hotels with small kitchenettes which in many cases really do help people relocate, get a fresh start, and get out of the full-blown motel scenario. The problem with these places is they are usually expensive and tightly run. Again, these places are watched by suspicious front desk clerks, security hiding out behind the surveillance cameras on-site, and the police. People are watched very carefully in these places, just like motels. In the nicer and more costly extended stay, the sense of surveillance does go down. RV parks offer those people with an RV, camper, etc. a place to go at daily, weekly or monthly cost. Many people have wisely started trying this as an alternative to renting. It does save money, it gets people off the streets with some kind of shelter, and it does provide more personal space and privacy than room rentals, hotels, etc. The main problem with living in RV parks is they can be dangerous. You have no way of knowing who is around you at any given time, and for all you know, someone could be watching you from their RV, deciding you are a target. Most RV units and campers are not very secure; it’s generally not that hard to break into someone’s unit. The exterior materials are usually flimsy - doors and windows can be pried open fairly easily, for example. Sometimes people find a low cost piece of land to put the RV on; this would be preferable to living in a park, but the trade-off is mobility. In addition, parks usually have all the utilities including Wi-Fi; with a new piece of land, a person may have to put in the utilities, dig a well, put in a septic, etc. That all costs money. Ideally, what people trying to get a fresh start need are small one unit studios spread across the grounds with a little elbow room between each unit. Each unit would have a small kitchen, bathroom and living space. They would be designed for one or two occupants at most. The cost of these units should be kept to a minimum. People should be able to rent these units by the day, week or month. These need to be run by independent, privately owned citizens, not major apartment, motel/hotel, or extended stay corporations because once those groups get hold of a project, prices go up. Each person who comes into the complex needs to be given the disclosure up front whether or not police are actively checking occupant lists and keeping an eye on the property. Where there is a particular problem with police intervention in the hotel/motel industry is that many people do not realize they are under scrutiny. It is better if people know up front if the police are watching the property; this will also help keep suspicious characters from wanting to check out the property.