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Nov 14, 2012

The featured filmed clip is from Matt Glickstein - Songs For A Better World.  It is well worth giving a look and just might make you think a little about homelessness.

Let's start this post with some simple truths.  'THERE IS NO AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN HAWAII'.  There has not been for some time and housing is hard to come by for even the folks who work long and hard.  'THE POOR WILL ALWAYS BE WITH US'.  It is just the way of it, there will always be folks who do not have cash, or so little of it, that life is an endless grind.  'THERE WILL ALWAYS BE HOMELESSNESS'.  Charles Dickens told stories of the plight of the homeless in London in the 1800's, while getting some things changed, homelessness is not one of them.  There are folks still living uncovered in London, as there are all over the world.  Hawaii is not unique.

Regardless of the efforts of well meaning individuals toiling in non-profits, regardless the massive sums we give non-profits to deal with the homeless problem, there will always be members of the community living in horrid conditions.

Non-profits in Hawaii get tens of millions of dollars to deal with the homeless situation.  There is some change, but the problem still remains.  No doubt the programs that deal with women and children who are homeless, and programs dealing with families without shelter meet with better results.  Truth be told, the plight of women and children living on the road is one that touches society deeply and great effort is made to protect this vulnerable segment of society.  Single men facing horrid conditions is not treated with the same level of compassion.

The old geezer tossed and turned all night and sleep was most troubled.  The events of the day were to blame.  Not to mention some of the comments heard.

'YOU HAVE NOT WALKED THE WALK', was the comment most haunted by in sleep.  It was hurled at MOI by one of the 'bright young things' connect with IHS.

There is ample proof to be had that this old geezer has indeed 'walked the walk'.  Has for many more years than the gentleman who works at IHS.  I may not be a 'paid professional' but have always tried to make a difference in any community a part of.  This old geezer does not walk through life with blinkers on and has tried always, to stop to offer a hand to someone less fortunate.  Daily, the horrid conditions of the homeless are observed in Waikiki and other parts of Honolulu.

I have always been curious, and that desire to learn more has made MOI stop and try to hear the stories of folks in trouble.  One comes away with an entirely different attitude about homelessness, when you learn how or way, one is sleeping on a bench, or begging on the pavement.

Not all who are homeless want help.  Quite a few of the homeless have found a way to live rent free and with responsibility.  Many get a government check and food stamps and like the idea of not paying for anything.  They like not taking responsibility for their anti-social behaviour.  That is the way of it.  They have the right to refuse help to change.  So, one moves on.

It is a whole different story to get into the mentally ill, the alcoholics and the drug addicts.  One could go on and on.  Best to leave that for a different post.

The second thing heard yesterday, that made sleep hard to come, was one made by Colin Kippen.

In his remarks to the attendees of yesterday's conference, he made strong reference to bringing all members of the community together to deal with the homeless problem.  He talked movingly about Aloha and Ohana.

In my darkest hour, it was members of the community, my 'family', that provided me with the courage to carry.  NOT a non-profit.

When the courage was found to make the call to a long time friend, it was met with the disbelief that the old geezer would not believe that some cared about and wanted to.  See how spot on Colin is in his belief that Aloha and Ohana of the community is valid and necessary to solve homelessness.

The worst 17 days of me life were spent at IHS.  Mind, over the years stories had been heard of the horrid place that it is.  At least the men's shelter.  Street wise professional homeless seem to thrive there.  They know how to work the system.  IHS is not the place the weak, old or different go to.  The battle to keep from being abused or robbed is too hard to fight.  Truth be told, it was not the correct place for young men with AIDS to go either, in years past.  Stories make the rounds among the homeless of a fate worse than death in going into the shelter.

COMMUNITY.  Ordinary folks doing extraordinaire things to help fellow members of society who need a bit of help and compassion.  Like my good friend.  A simple man who tries to help homeless in Waikiki.  Having jobs performed by homeless, to give a little cash to for food and toiletries ad clothes washing.

If you get the impression that no love is to be had for IHS, you would be correct.  Pray, let me explain my reasons.

Whatever IHS was in the past, is a far cry from what it is today.  Millions and millions of dollars pour into the coffers of IHS.  So completely have they convinced the powers to be that they deserve as much as they ask for.  Duplication of effort and bad mistakes seems to matter little and IHS has the 'data' to prove how brilliant they are.  More's the pity that IHS does not admit that they are no more capable in ending homelessness than any other organization.

I came away from the homeless conference, more convinced than ever, that while some do wondrous things to help disadvantaged members of the community, there are non-profits who receive far more than they should.  That turf defending is alive and well among the non-profits.  That IHS, regardless of how well and slick they self promote, do not have all of the answers.  That duplication of services offered is expensive and may well be best done by not placing all of the eggs in one basket.

Lastly, it would be so very wrong to allow the voice of a former priest of the Catholic Church, to drown out other voices.  Regardless of his connection with IHS, he is but one member of the community and when last looked does not walk on water.

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Posted: Wednesday November 14, 2012, 4:02 pm
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Rob Defrees
male, age 67, single
Hilo, HI, USA
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