Tag Archives: homelessness and joblessness

Giving Voice (first wind-down)

This post marks the closing of what I consider to be the first part of my Giving Voice series.  While I have several more relevant articles in various stage of readiness to post, I think it’s time to take a break.  Because Giving Voice is an ongoing series, I intend to resume its ‘focus’ after an undetermined period of time.

Instead of composing some sort of summary post, I thought I’d ‘re-post’ a Swimming with Swans vignette I presented here on the blog in 2013.  Written at the close of our first stay in Las Cruces during our between homes journey, I think it speaks to the issue of ‘street people’ stereotypes in a positive and personal manner.

In doing this, I am also engaging in a blog experiment that I’m not sure will work!  Please bear with me.  Both this wind-down post and the archived vignette-post are presented in ‘sticky note’ fashion.  Theoretically, this first time published post will be ‘sticky-ed’ first and The Prophet and the Gift should follow without changing its original blog posting date.  We’ll see.  ;-)

Thank you for the many responses I’ve received during this first part of my Giving Voice series via personal e-mail, face-to-face discussions, and of course in the comments section.

No Place Like Home: Working families increasingly homeless

Quote symbolReporter: Darlene thought she had done everything right, even taking classes for her master’s degree.  She held a good job with the veterans administration for the last 15 years, had savings, college and retirement accounts, and a comfortable suburban home for her three sons…

‘They had never worried about anything.  They never had to go into the kitchen and look into an empty cupboard.  I lived a middle class life all my life.  That’s all I knew. I dropped from middle class to no class.‘  Continue reading

Giving Voice: Margaret Thatcher on Unemployment

I find it interesting that unemployment has been an issue of glaringly huge proportions for quite some time within the free market world.  That there have been sound ways of alleviating it during the course of these past decades, yet left untouched by those in power is disheartening, very telling and ultimately totally inexcusable.
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…Characteristically she covered her own weakest flank – unemployment – by counter-attacking Labour’s  record in the 1970’s. ‘In the end Labour always runs away,’ she jeered in her adoption speech at Finchley on 19 May:

            ‘They are running away from the need to defend their country…They are fleeing from the long overdue reform of the trade unions…They are running out on Europe…Above all, Labour is running away from the true challenge of unemployment.’

Promising to create millions of jobs, she insisted, was ‘no more than an evasion of the real problem’.  Real jobs could only be created by gradually building up a competitive economy with profitable industries that could hold their own in world markets.  ‘We Conservatives believe in working with the grain of human nature, in encouraging people by incentives, not in over-regulating them by too many controls.’ ‘A quick cure,’ she repeated several times in another favourite formulation, ‘is a quack cure.’

Margaret Thatcher circa 1983 (excerpt taken from The Iron Lady by John Campbell, pg 222)

Bearing Witness in Art: Refusing to Turn Away

I am so pleased to present to you the following post written by Deborah J. Brasket.

Deborah’s blog is one that enriches all who visit.  Her writing is beautifully embellished with artwork, quotes, thought provoking prose/poetry, and peppered with passion.  I appreciate her intuitive ability to integrate the arts, nature, facts and her own life experiences into expressive pieces on a variety of subjects. 

To my surprise and delight, when I asked if she’d consider being a guest blogger for my new Giving Voice series, she said, “I’d be thrilled to do so!”  Wow. Thank-you, Deborah.


The Beggar by Gaspare Traversi

Too often we are tempted to turn away from images, people, situations, that seem too horrible, too hopeless, that make us feel too helpless to even think about it, let alone do something ourselves to help. Like extreme poverty, hunger, homelessness, addiction, rape, human trafficking, mass murder, mental illness . . . the list goes on.

It’s human nature to do so, to turn away from the ugly faces that our human condition sometimes shows us. To pretend it’s not there, or doesn’t affect us, or isn’t us, or won’t be us, or someone we care about, some day. But it’s important to resist that urge to turn away, even if we have no way to address it.

It has to do with what I’ve come to think of as “bearing witness.” Continue reading

Homeless & Jobless Americans: Breaking the Stereotypes

Quote symbolSomeone once said that we all, each and every one of us are at most only two tragedies from homelessness.   It could be a family illness coupled with a job loss or any number of similar situations, including fire, earthquake, storm, abandonment, death of loved one, mental illness, service in war, or simply a landlord deciding to use his property in a different manner as the Beamans found out.   Also we all know that foreclosure is forcing hundreds of thousands out of their homes.   Couple that with another unfortunate event and many of these will be homeless.  Unexpectedly and unwillingly homeless through no fault of their own.

Combinations of these unexpected events can push almost anyone into homelessness at any time.   Not drugs, not alcohol, not laziness, not gambling, not any of those things.  Think about it.  Many of the homeless in the woods near your neighborhood are just plain people like yourself that have hit a couple of speed bumps in their life too many.

Homelessness, and by association Joblessness, has become the biggest non-discriminatory segment within the American population.  While this group has always encompassed fringe members of our population, its reach has expanded considerably to include veterans, families, all ethnic & racial groups, spanning multiple generations and social spheres and as many slices of diversity in mainstream society as one can imagine. To further complicate the stereotypical profile, a full 25% of the homeless are actually employed, and 44% have done some sort of paid work during the past month.

In short – this ever-growing community encompasses: Everyday Americans…living a Third World existence in the land of freedom, opportunity and great wealth. Continue reading


churchill quoteToday I learned a new skill.  Using a layout design I created for a favorite quote, I transferred it from WORD to PDF to JPEG in order for it to be viewed in a blog post.  Yes, it takes that long-line of a process to get it from there to here. With those faithful Dummy Books by my side, I googled more info on how to do this and voilá! What you see is the end result of what I learned today!  Pretty cool, this inner geek of mine.  And, oh yes, the quote itself is very worthy of contemplation.

Obviously, this post has nothing to do with my current Giving Voice series. While I have several articles neatly tucked away waiting their turn to be presented, there are those that are incomplete, unfinished or just not quite ripe for public viewing.  Such is the case for the one next in line; surrounded by other completed articles, that one just isn’t up to snuff yet.

Plus, I realized that for all my concern about presenting potentially controversial topics in a balanced manner, I’d all but forgotten to address the fact that stereotypes are often steeped in some form of truth.  There are reasons why the average guy on the streets is avoided, looked upon with caution or treated as if he were invisible. Continue reading

Home Sweet Homeless People Wisdom

“After work on Friday, I gave some food to the homeless people who hang out by Civic Center Station.  With one sandwich and a croissant, I felt bad when I realized I didn’t have enough to feed everyone.  But a kind, older man told me that seeing me happy was enough to brighten his day.

As I ran down the stairs, he called after me.  I stopped midway and braced myself for the insult I was sure he’d spit out.  He’d changed his mind; I was inconsiderate, lazy, privileged – or worse, he’d call me something derogatory, sexual.

But instead he said, ‘Young lady, don’t let nobody take your joy.’

Meredith Jaeger, a San Francisco writer in love with women’s fiction, 9/1/13

Giving Voice: NCIS and Homeless Veterans

Yes, I admit, NCIS is my favorite TV show to date.  Quite often this Navy based television series tackles real world military topics.   Indeed, “Shooter” takes a look into the troubling subject of homeless veterans.

Hardly the poster boys and girls for public perception of what it means to be homeless in America, this episode strives to break the stereotypes of homelessness and joblessness.  And while examples given in this article are pulled from the television show, there are countless stories of real vets in real situations clamoring to be heard.

This NCIS episode gives voice to the problem in a way that is easily assimilated into the mindset of our mainstream population; offering entertainment with thought provoking moments written within the scripted dialogue. Continue reading

Intro: Giving Voice (an ongoing series)

On the wall overlooking the sewing table in a far corner of my studio hangs my latest cut & paste collage.

These collages come and go. Serving as conduits of expression, they bring to light brewing intangibles. Those yearnings, thoughts, and insights within the inner self find their way and ‘voice’ through spontaneously selected images and words gathered from a myriad of sources.

This one emerged late in the year 2014, after more than five years of silence.

The lower left corner of the poster board backing reveals a magnificent tiger walking amidst snowy territory.  His eyes speak – Survival, Determination; his body encompasses – Beauty, Dignity.  The text reads – Be the voice for those who have no voice.

While this visual encompasses the overall view of this newly launched blog category regardless of actual topic, I can’t help but put a human face to that tiger.  Walking amidst cold and snowy circumstances, I see human eyes speaking the same message; a human body reflecting unexpected grace while journeying a similar path.

When confronted with a potentially volatile subject matter, I tend to err on the side of documenting sources to support my findings.  Unfortunately, that often kills the very (he)art and passionate force behind one’s need to Be the voice when done to the extreme.  In that respect, the debut of this ‘ongoing series’ reflects my own attempts at balanced writing.  Admittedly, the first subjects I have slated for exploration I find difficult to keep an objective tone.  Yet that splash of subjectivity or personal investment is the very life blood of why I’ve been trying so hard to put this long promised ‘serious series’ together in the first place.

My sincere hope is that each Giving Voice post will be thoughtfully considered by the readers of this blog.  Giving Voice in no way assumes to be an exhaustive reporting of issues.  Balancing experience and exposé, feeling and facts, I am but one voice, with a very small reach.

As always, I welcome any genuine comments you may have to share, either in the comments area below, in an e-mail via the contact button or message via personal e-mail.

Agreement is not the goal; engagement/awareness is…one voice at a time.

Quote: Suffering & Grace – Brennan Manning

homeless feet

‘Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever.’
Brennan Manning
4/27/1934 – 4/12/2013