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Nov 13, 2012

My dears, if it was felt that the old geezer would stop sharing thoughts, this post will let all who are 'au fait' with, know that my ability to tell a story is still very much alive.  Truth be told, it took a day that was most interesting to shake MOI up and share with you.

There was a 'Homeless Awareness Conference' held in Waikiki today.  Having been engaged in the fight to enlighten folks to the social injustices that plague society, this seemed like the right point to pick up pen and share with all of the lovely folks known to or folks one wants to reach out to.

When first read in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser of the coming conference, I rang up one of the folks listed as an organizer of the event.  I told of my interest to share facts about the homeless in Waikiki.  I learned that it was going to cost $45.00 to attend the conference and was a bit put off by that.  Friends told MOI that some needed to go and tell the non-profits and other gathered interested parties that the general public might not share their view that the job being done was brilliant.  I emailed the organizer and told I would attend, even if my views were not ones the gathered good folks wanted to hear.

Early this AM, the old geezer went to the posh hotel to sign in and to try and meet folks.  I had told the organizer of the conference that it was my belief that many if not most of the attendees would be 'choir singing to the choir'.  As the ballroom filled, it was quite clear that this was indeed the case.  Not so much a conference but an opportunity for 'bright young things' to network.

Being extremely hearing impaired, the old geezer has to re lie on device in ear, lip reading and face reading.  All of my skills were in use and helped to know fairly early on, who wanted to hear what an outsider had to say about the homeless problem.  What was learned today was most illuminating and want so much to share it with you.

Many of the attendees were not interested in chatting with anyone who was not working for a non-profit, or connected to a government agency dealing with the homeless problem.  Most of the attendees felt that they and the organization they worked for were working miracles in getting folks off the street and into shelters or in a direction to get help with issues causing homelessness

There were some rather interesting exceptions.

Colin Kippen, State Homeless Coordinator for the Governor, was one of the first speakers.  Colin spoke from the heart and urged all the attendees to double their effort to try and engage 'the community' in the fight to end homelessness in Hawaii.  Only in getting all of the community involved would make the battle winnable.  He made no false promise and in some ways may well have said things many of the attendees did not want to hear.

I had a long chin wag with Colin and came away with the feeling that this was a man who could make a difference.  Colin knows full well that he has his work cut out for him and that there will be folks out to get him.  I rather think that Mr. Kippen is prepared to rattle a few cages to get things done.

Darryl Vincent was another person met who made an impression on.  Wrongly, the old geezer believed him to be another that works in the non-profit he is with.  I did not like that person two year ago and was prepared to fire me guns in anger about my feelings towards.  It takes a big person to stand ground and correct a wrong impression.  Mind, Darryl has a massive toothy grin and the personality of a slick used car salesman and loves to 'close the deal'.  Darryl may not have shared many of my beliefs about the failure of non-profits to deliver change, but he heard me out, which was more that many were prepared to do.  I still believe that his organization could do more, but he made me believe he is at least willing to listen to a different view.

State Senator Josh Green,MD, from West Hawaii, was another presenter who spoke true to the attendees about Healthcare for the homeless.

Dear reader, you who have followed this blog for some time know that the old geezer share his life with the world at large.  You, who are 'au fait' know that I have shared my mental illness, my fight to save what little hearing is left, my battle with food, my stroke and the brief period hope was lost and I was homeless.  You know of my community activism.  When it comes to the problems of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, troubled mentally ill folks and 'professional homeless'  the old geezer is no dilettante.  I may not be a member of a non-profit', but I have tried to make a difference in the world I live in.

It came as a shock to hear so many folks today tell that I did not know what I was talking about, 'you never have walked the walk', the old geezer was told.  What I had to say about failings on the part of some non-profits was completely antedated and of no value.

One of the individuals in an exalted position at IHS, was one of the least approachable folks at the conference.  Mind, his real value is in his being very politically connected and unless you have value to IHS, he really doe not have to listen to what you say, regardless of how you say it.

Throughout the day folks at the conference used 'data' and 'numbers' to support how brilliant of a job they are doing.

Data can be wrong and numbers can be played different ways.  A report in the newspaper today used numbers and data to tell of changes in the homeless problem.  Have no doubt that the attendees used them to show how the fight is being won by their efforts.  How interesting.  Like Colin said of the data, it depends on how you look at the glass, half full or half empty.

If you have come to think that the old geezer sees this day as a bust, you would be wrong.  The opportunity was had to tell folks in positions to help homeless folks, that not all felt that they were doing the best job possible to end homelessness in Hawaii.

The conference opened with a presentation by Matt Glickstein.  It was a musical video of a song sung by students from a local school.  "Dream What Could Be Done" is the name of the song and it can be found on YOUTUBE.  You need to watch it.  The children of this world are our hope, and this video makes one believe that the children just may get it right.

The snap used to start this post is not meant to demean anyone.  It does serve to show that not all of the folks who are homeless want to be saved.  Personally, the joke is on them.

The old geezer is back...

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Posted: Tuesday November 13, 2012, 9:36 pm
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Rob Defrees
male, age 67, single
Hilo, HI, USA
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