Assessing The REST and Marin Safety Net Part 2
Hate that I might seem exceding harsh and feel I must again emphasise my admiration for near all persons I have encountered on the front lines. My standards are political and pragmatic. The REST program is unsustainable and I'd be much more admiring of the Congregations suporting it were they to join together for political action.
Homeward Bound, Mill Street, New Beginnings, that there is a great gulf fixed tween the mission statement and day to day operations is no great failing, the great failing is in complacency. Mill Street should be some where else and have at least four times the capacity and no need of anyone calling in to get a bed. I have watched persons having to do this and the stress is taxing. A three tier systym, bottom tier anybody needing a bed, 2 tier persons trying to work a program and 3 tier those capable of running the shelter and demonstrated abilities. Persons on the third tier would apply to New Beginnings where they would have one of at least two hundred private or semi private rooms. No "contributions" would be collected, but participants would have to have a savings plan and participate in revenue generating activities. All these programs are woefully inadequte to the need and the need is much greater then most persons in the Homeless Business realize. It5 is gonna get much worse before it gets better.
No action, no program that does not include a camp run by the campers will be taken seriously. A camp adjoining a farm, multipile oppurtunities for income producing and barter activities without the need of an employer A home with no landlord or fat cats sitting on the board. The oppurtunities to make money from building"low income" housing, prisons,treatment centers and shelters are very attractive; payday loans, check cashing,pawn shops , cheap liquor and tobacco products have as well created wealth. Today the wealthy and especially the newly rich are making the most stupid of investments: 2 and 3, ad infinitum homes, investments which generate no economic activity beyond meager wage employment for the mostly undocumented workers will keep the mostly always vacant properties nice or rebuild them in the event of some act of God.
Much can be learned from the OCCUPY movement by any person serious about poverty, homelessness and the whole industry composed of those previously mentioned enterprize. I first came to the Bay Area for People's Park and the "radical" studies available at Berekely, to train for the ineviatability of prison at the Institute of Non-Violence' to intern at Esalen and of course become a Zen Monk and I stuck around to work on Walden House and the FREE Clinic, to work with the Black Panthers in the creation of community gardens, food co-ops and a FREE Kitchen, to put people in charge of their food is the most revolutionary act. I've little patience with those think they are doing somethiong cause their dayplaner is chock full of meetings to attend and aren't joyously willing to put something on the line.
* twice duriing the REST will be approched by a participant repsenting some few others wanting a price to murder some other participant.
at my OpenSalon Blog/david edwards,rough drafts of my work from the project The New Face of American Poverty can be read