When housing Activism is actually De-activism

Deactivating housing without replacement is…

It is immoral. It is always rich, without exception, to be comfortably housed, and then work against other people’s housing conditions, when there are no realistic replacement options immediately available.

One disconnect seen commonly in the past are complaints about various SROs and other low cost housing units that have not been maintained adequately. Yet, remove that housing and often, there are no other good options. To oppose this housing, even in a substandard state, only condemns the people living there to be homeless.

You may find some housing detestable, but still many people that actually live there choose and desire it over the alternatives available to them. What right does any housed person have to say that another person should be homeless rather than poorly housed?

Personally, I’d rather be in the crummiest apartment than a shelter or worse, a tent or a blanket on a sidewalk. Most housing activists seem to get this.

When there are too many low cost SROs and other low cost housing units vacant and for rent, then we can start to worry about forcing them out of the market.

Ditto for faith-based shelters

It is a fact, there are not enough available shelter beds in Chicago. Speaking from experience, I would like to thank -all- faith-based shelters for caring and stepping up to the challenge. Without the faith-based shelters voluntary help, thousands in Chicago alone would be living who knows where, because our government has failed its citizens miserably. Housing, emergency or otherwise in Chicago, gets an F grade.

Everyone I have known to experience homelessness including moi, have stayed in faith-based shelters at some point, if not the entirety of their homelessness experience. How rich of anyone to think they and their ideals have some right to force other people to live on sidewalks or loading docks, just because they don’t like some particular shelter rules or policies.

I’ll be the first to admit, living in any homeless shelter is likely not a positive experience for a variety of reasons. There are some faith-based shelters I am not keen on and some I love. Still, anything short of personal housing is going to, well… fall short.

If you are upset at the quantity and quality of public shelters, please do place your anger where it belongs, with your government representatives, not the private individuals and non-profits kind enough to try to help, even if they do so imperfectly.

Corrupt governments always love it when its citizenry tears each other up instead of it…

Tip: Be careful of second information about shelters. Most times I have heard negative stories about shelters, a major piece of the story was left out which changed everything. The reality of homelessness is bad enough, we don’t need to cook the facts please.

More Importantly

Stop complaining and do something. If you feel there should be governmental shelters, non-faith shelters, or specialty shelters for any group not currently served or served well, power to you!

Please consider putting your time and actions into positive gains. I am part of an organization that has spent a lifetime doing so. Every day, we now directly house 300 homeless individuals and 100 senior citizens. 400 total.

You too can do that. Sometimes the non-profit sector has to step in and do what the public one won’t. Seriously, I think time is being wasted with anger that could be better spent on positive gains.

Search your own heart. Personally, I feel it is ultra-important to have either new or truly new-minded government representatives as well as continue to litigate corrupt government, but beyond that, unlimited bull horn yelling and sign marching are not going to have the real use that actually building a new homeless shelter or volunteering as a positive advocate at one will.

When there are too many available shelter beds, then we can start to worry about…


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By |2017-12-07T12:56:56+00:00October 18th, 2017|Activism|1 Comment

About the Author:

Member of the Jesus People USA Covenant Church. Founder and leader of Uptown Outside and Election 46. A founder and former leader of the Uptown Tent City Organizers. Resident of Uptown Chicago since 1978. Various corporate and consultant information technology positions since the mid 1980's