This website is intended to be a place to engage in reflections on the quandary that is homelessness in the USA. It begins from my own personal interest in both exploring this issue, as well as to create a place to express concerns and contemplate solutions. I view homelessness as a quandary because of its complexity, as well as the difficulty that we have had in the US in “solving” this problem, or dilemma. I want to explore the various reasons for homelessness, as well as the different forms it takes — for, as paradoxical as it seems, some people choose to be homeless and prefer to be “unhoused.” I want to explore the impact of the homeless and their encampments, on neighborhoods and communities, as well as the different ways that such homeless people relate to each other, and their surrounding communities. I want to look into the ways that municipalities either deal with or don’t deal with homelessness, and the “solutions” they have attempted, as well as potential “solutions” they have not attempted. I want to present and consider what it would take to provide “solutions”, and how politically realistic various such solutions would be, both locally and at the state and national level. In all these explorations, I’d like to invite others to contemplate these things along with me.
In order to engage in this exploration, I plan to do the following:
(1) Visit homeless people and their camps or cars and speak to these individuals, listening to their stories — or read what they write about their stories. I’d like to hear how they came to be in the place they are now, what they want, and what their ideas are about solutions for homelessness. What kind of place/housing are they seeking? How do they envision that being set up in the area they are located? Do they want a permanent home or, if they are travelers, a place to be when passing through? What do they think needs to be done differently in the USA in order for them to fit into it, to have a place to be? I want to understand what people are hoping for, who live on the streets and in encampments through the US.
(2) Engage in discussions with community members in places which are impacted by homelessness, listening to concerns of all types — of those who feel that cities should do more/spend more to help the homeless be housed, of those who feel that there’s a need to offer more treatment for substance abuse and/or for mental illness, as well as those who feel that the homeless should do more to help themselves, or who can’t understand why people camp outside instead of in shelters, or who are upset by the nuisance, blight and/or crime associated with homeless encampments.
(3) Study what has been attempted, in various places in the USA, to provide “solutions” for homelessness and its associated phenomena, and analyze where these solutions have been successful, where not, and perhaps offer some new ideas or visions.