Posts

Homelessness in Chicago VS Homelessness in Auckland

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Rachel is invisible in this massively spread-out city called Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland, New Zealand). She tries to sleep in her car at a local petrol station every night. Many more are doing the same, just in different places and vehicles. She has a host of fears but also plenty of dreams. She isn't seen, she's forgotten, but she's there! Kenneth is visible in this condensed crowded city called Chicago. Every night he hides under a blanket and tries to sleep on the noisy El train that travels from one side of the town to the other. Many more are doing the same, just in different carriages and trains. He has a host of fears but continues to hope. He's seen, he's forgotten, but he's there! In this post, I will highlight 7 differences and 7 similarities I've observed between the two vastly different cities I've lived in. This list is not comprehensive by any stretch of the imagination, these are just my observations that stem from having worked over 25 yea

How Terminology Affects Those Experiencing Homelessness

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  “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”  — Mother Teresa Whether people want to admit it or not: Homelessness, poverty, and the need for housing are severe problems in Auckland and Chicago.  In  response to what I've been noticing and experiencing, I've been writing a  post  about  7 Differences and 7 Similarities  between the 2 cities I've lived and worked in .  After realising writing this will be a long journey, I've decided to post each "difference" and "similarity" as separate posts, as well.  Here's the 4th Difference: Definitions of homelessness matter. Homeless counts matter. Why? Because they're used to establish policies, generate funding, and build housing that affects those experiencing homelessness.   My friend  Dan  was a Vietnam veteran. Depending on which season or year it was, he would sleep on cardboard and under blankets behind the local clinic, in a tent under

How Cultural Awareness Affects Those Experiencing Homelessness

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“The kind of hope that creates a willingness to position oneself in a hopeless place and be a witness, that allows one to believe in a better future, even in the face of abusive power. That kind of hope makes one strong.”  — Bryan Stevenson Whether people want to admit it or not: Homelessness, poverty, and the need for housing are severe problems in Auckland and Chicago.  In  response to what I've been noticing and experiencing, I've been writing a  post  about  7 Differences and 7 Similarities  between the 2 cities I've lived and worked in .  After realising that writing this is going to be a long journey, I've decided to post each "difference" and "similarity" as separate posts, as well.    Here's the 3rd Difference: whether someone lives in their vehicle, in a shelter, rides a train, or lives in a tent, it is essential to be aware of and honour who they are, and to respect each person's culture, race, and religion. This is the goal, but th

How the Landscape Affects those Experiencing Homelessness

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"The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members." -  Mahatma Gandhi Whether people want to admit it or not: Homelessness, poverty, and the need for housing are severe problems in Auckland and Chicago.   A s a response to what I've been noticing and experiencing, I've been writing a  post  about  7 Differences and 7 Similarities  between the 2 cities I've lived and worked in .  After realising that writing this is going to be a long journey, I've decided to post each "difference" and "similarity" as separate posts, as well.  Here's the 2nd Difference: The landscape and climate affect how those experiencing homelessness live. The "City of Sails" has about 1.7 million people spread out over 53 volcanoes, has plenty of forests, and is surrounded by 2 harbours. This diverse green terrain has a complex maze of roads on it, resulting in an inept public transportation system and many homeless

How Visibility Affects Those Experiencing Homelessness

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"The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members." - Mahatma Gandhi Whether people want to admit it or not: Homelessness, poverty, and the need for housing are severe problems in Auckland and Chicago.   A s a response to what I've been noticing and experiencing, I've been writing a  post  about  7 Differences and 7 Similarities between the 2 cities I've lived and worked in .  After realising that writing this is going to be a long journey, I've decided to post each "difference" and "similarity" as separate posts, as well.  Here's the 1st Difference: Just because homelessness can visibly look very different in different places, that doesn't negate the needs and trauma of those experiencing homelessness. The magnitude, the sheer numbers, of those experiencing homelessness in plain sight are vastly different. In many ways, this is probably the most obvious.  Kenneth is visible in this condensed

Unique, Beautiful, and Different: the Stories and Faces of Homelessness

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Everyone is unique, beautiful, and different! It is imperative to remember that each and every person experiencing homelessness does not fit into a stereotype. The only thing that unites them all is, they are without a place to call home.   It is unfair and unjust to lump everyone into one or two boxes, as there’s so much diversity and beauty. It is also unfair and unjust to see certain people as exceptions. It is unfair to claim certain people are “not like those other homeless folks”, creating a picture of there are those deemed worthy in a pool of unworthiness.  All are worthy of our love, respect, and dignity. The diversity of people I have the honour of connecting with most days comes with a remarkable range of ages, genders, ethnicities, races, and skills. Everyone has a unique personality and it’s beautiful, seen in each person’s individual mental health, spirituality, physical differences, addictions, cognitive abilities, and health issues. Everyone’s whānau (family) has its ow

To Those On The Outside: Welcome!

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Hospitality; it's a strange word, a misunderstood word, a word that often seems old-fashioned. Yet, when I delve into scripture, I see how  hospitality is a radical concept, an essential part of following and honouring God. I use the word "radical" because God's hospitality goes well beyond being the perfect host by making a scrumptious meal in a tidy house for our friends, family, and worthy guests. It goes far beyond the order, cleanliness, and good manners that seem to be equated with hospitality.   Radical hospitality welcomes strangers, foreigners, and those judged and seen as unworthy. It has this messy, ugly, and chaotic quality about it. It asks us to be "all things to all people". It embraces those cast aside and oppressed, those living in squalor, and those who wreck our plans. Radical hospitality says to our neighbours, even the most annoying and aggravating neighbours, "you are always welcome here". Radical hospitality goes well beyond