Daily Dozen: Links galore.Well, 12 to be exact.

 

Trying something new here. I always have soooo many links to share that I get overwhelmed when I try to do it just once a week. And honestly, I can imagine when it’s a ton of links at once, it’s a lot to take in. So, I’ll try this. I’ll share 12 links every day. I’ll probably do some on topic (like food/recipes, SNAP,current events,gardening,budgeting,etc).

[content: parenting while poor,doulas for low income women,homelessness,transgender homeless people,homeless shelters,nice rappers doing good things for poor families and homeless people, teachers don’t get paid enough,wealth inequality,food insecurity]


 

 

  1. How it feels to be a poor mother living without heat during a blizzard – short answer: fucking miserable
  2. The Myth of Low Cost Doula Support – this was a heated discussion over at the FB page one day after I said I wanted to become a doula just to provide services to low income women. I understand in some areas, low cost doulas are totally a thing but it’s not the norm. Also, some people don’t seem to get that some low income women need it to be “no cost”
  3.  In North Carolina, Teachers Work Second Jobs to Make Ends Meet [via Raise Up]- “…16 percent of teachers nationwide are forced to work a second job outside the school system. In North Carolina, however, that number is closer to 25 percent — third-highest in the entire country. When you include teachers who take second jobs within the school system, more than half of North Carolina educators — a full 52 percent — work second jobs to supplement their salaries.”
  4. Travesty: It Is Now Illegal To Feed The Homeless In Thirty-Three Cities – ugh
  5. Chris Hedges: If You’re Poor, Justice in America Doesn’t Look the Same-nope
  6. Chance the Rapper Raised 100k to Make Coats for Chicago’s Homeless– they double as sleeping bags
  7. 2 Chainz Gives Family of 11 Facing Eviction a New Home – this guy ❤
  8. Study: Low wages drive up government costs– makes sense. You dont pay people a living wage, they will need to rely on government assistance
  9. Police: Homeless Woman Smashed Window to Escape Cold – she wanted to go to jail so she didn’t have to freeze
  10. Wealth inequality has widened along racial, ethnic lines since end of Great Recession -yup
  11. via TalkPoverty: “I can’t afford to fill up my freezer, but I’m denied food stamps” –Kim bit.ly/22oqUBM
  12. Tll HUD to house trans people in shelters according to gender identity – This is a big deal. The number of trans people on the street has gone up and it’s harder for them to find shelters that accept them. (this does not address SAFE shelters for trans people,though)

 

12.14.15

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[content notes: basic income, homelessness,education,domestic violence,

χ NYC Low-income high school seniors march their college application to the post office  – “I am going someplace and no one can stop me.” Bless them.

χ Interview with Guy Standing o Basic Income

χ  Meathead Movers offers their services free to domestic violence victims fleeing abusive homes  – It might not sound like much but it is. It’s a big deal.

χ Parenting while homeless– An excellent long read focusing on the stress of parenting while living in a shelter and one initiative to support those families to build strong families despite homelessness

χ How Boise, Idaho has criminalized homelessness– they just shut down a homeless camp behind a church that was a refuge to 135 homeless folks.

χ

 

Jodeci’s “Nobody Wins” makes a statement about domestic violence

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The video for Jodeci’s first single in well over a decade is a platform for the issue of domestic violence. There’s a part that touches on how poverty and the fear of poverty keeps victims trapped in abusive relationships. It’s a huge factor that keeps the abused from leaving.  A large percentage of homeless women became homeless after leaving a domestic violence situation. An abuser exerting financial control over the victim is quite common, preventing her or him from earning a stable income.

Here are a couple issues with the song and video I need to speak about. K-Ci himself was a perpetrator of domestic violence. In a statement when the song was released , K-Ci said, “We aren’t immune to issues that are important in our community. Domestic violence has always been an issue in relationships, but lately it’s been brought to the front of our community consciousness.”  I think we’re supposed to just assume that K-Ci has faced his own actions and learned how to do and be better, or if you’re unaware of the history there, K-Ci looks like a man who is stepping up to end violence against women. Either way, hearing more about what’s led to this activism via music would benefit those in the abuser role of domestic violence dynamics. The personal narrative of how he himself was not immune would certainly bring authenticity to the message.

The song itself isn’t all that in depth and might even make it sound like “fussing and fighting” is a 2-way street with victims having responsibility for having a part in their own abuse.

I certainly don’t want to undermine the message of the video by bringing up the problematic history because the message itself is important.

If you’re in an unsafe relationship and are able to reach out, here are some important numbers:

nomore.org

idvaac.org (Institute of Domestic Violence in the African-American Community)

The money spent on the F-35 would be enough to buy every homeless person in the country a mansion.

via Truth.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is looking like a very costly mistake for the U.S. military.

How costly? According to an analysis by ThinkProgress, the money spent on the F-35 would be enough to buy every homeless person in the country a mansion.

Read more

Now, every homeless person doesn’t really need a mansion but I understand why they used that to demonstrate the obscene spending here. I’d rather we find modest housing for everyone who needs it and then have some jingle leftover to feed the people who struggle with food insecurity. And we’d probably have some leftover for the other things that benefit society & low income families, like childcare  subsidies.

The Gregory Project, An Initiative to Turn Billboards Into Affordable Housing

 

The Gregory Project, An Initiative to Turn Billboards Into Affordable Housing

From the Gregory Project website:
Cities are engulfed with rigid constructions for billboard advertisement which are expensive to put up, maintain and their subsequent renting is a costly venture. The Gregory project brings optimization to the construction of billboard structures in a way that the insides of these, after the extension, could be turned into a living space. Such an object would need just  a minimal maintenance cost which could be partially paid through the rental of its advert space. 

I like that this is solution oriented.

The Homeless Sign Exchange Project

April 2013, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA

Name: Mike a.k.a. “The Pope of Harvard Square”

Read Mike’s story here

Artists Kenji Nakayama & Christopher Hope have started a “Homeless Sign Exchange”. They pay homeless people for their original signs (I don’t know how much) and then do a sign makeover.

The end result is the homeless person’s words in stylized typography on a shiny new sign. Basically , a sign any hipster would be proud to display.

April 2013, Davis Square, Somerville, MA

Name: Jimmy Sunshine

Nice hat, Jimmy.
Read Jimmy’s story here.

Feb. 2013, Central Square, Cambridge, MA

Name: Angela Douyon-Previlon

Read Angela’s story here.

 

\

Frank, February 2012. I-93 off-ramp near South Station.

“Frank is 74 years old. He has been homeless for twenty-two years in Boston, where he also grew up. Before living on the streets, Frank was in jail for theft. He says that since he has been sober, he “has been out of trouble.” When I told him I would stop by again soon, he told me that it wasn’t necessary—“you don’t have to buy a sign anymore!” He spends his days and nights near South Station. ”

 

So, let’s talk about this.

The signs look great. But how does this work as activism? Are the homeless people benefitting from these “makeovers”?

Initially, I thought the motive of the project was for the signs to work basically as an eye catching ad. With the new signs, people are obviously more inclined to look and read them, possibly motivating them to donate some money to the sign holder. In a post on tumblr, one artist says, “The first phase of this project has never been about “increasing the money” they get from the new signs. We pay them for their original signs, and I help many of them try to find housing and work in the Boston area. But in fact, many of the homeless individual’s original signs in our project are not soliciting for money. The signs become an extension of each individual’s self-expression (since they contribute to the design and we use their original text), and act as an invitation to conversation. We as a society cannot solve homelessness without first humanizing the homeless. This means recognizing they are a historically excluded group that suffers great prejudice, in addition to knowing that the experience of homelessness is dehumanizing itself.

We ask for compassion, as people learn more about the reasons why people are actually homeless. Now, there is a strong possibility that the next phase of this project may explore more direct solution-oriented programming. So please stay tuned!

I don’t know if even Don Draper could create an ad campaign strong enough to change public stigmas about homelessness and homeless people. The personal stories shared on the tumblr page are important to hear  and I do hope that some of these people get to tell their stories to people on the street as a result of the sign being a conversation starter.

But still…this idea that we need to makeover any element of the homeless population to “humanize” them is disturbing. Making homeless people look nicer and more approachable in some ways demeans the actual aspects of homelessness that are very ugly.

I see a lot of what I call Ivory Tower Activism and people with saviour complexes involved in “helping” homeless people. They see themselves as compassionate and helpful but are removed from the situation ,and often see themselves as elevated over the people they’re helping, even if they say they see everyone as equal. They themselves do not do a very good job at humanizing the people they are advocating for. When they speak about their activism, they refer to themselves a lot in regards to what THEY accomplished, not what the homeless person gained from advocacy. I know it’s a hard battle to fight in some cities where the policy makers and politicians can’t see that homelessness costs their city more money than if they did the right thing and created more housing and programs that get people off the street. I feel like a lot of people who refer to themselves as activists for the homeless do an incomplete job. They alleviate the symptoms of homelessness instead of focusing on ways to change policies and inspiring others to work to change the system as it is. I  don’t want to hear people speak of their successes as a homeless activist if there is still homelessness where they are focusing efforts. Complete activism is hellbent on ENDING homelessness, not just being nice to homeless people and making sure they’re comfortable while homeless. Compassion & basic needs are certainly very important but providing these also has to exist alongside activism that moves towards solutions.

 

(I’m not saying these sign makeover people are like that. That was just a stray related rant because of very frustrating conversations I’ve had recently with homeless “activists”. )

 

And I’m glad the artist mentions that she does try to help them find housing but it’s a bit disingenuous. If someone is homeless, they have already tried to find housing and the system didn’t work to help them.  People who do not want to be homeless have already tried to not be that way. At least it sounds like this project will hopefully lead to a more complete solution oriented activism.

One of my concerns here with the Homeless Signs project is the language used in reference to people. The most recent post is a memorial to a young homeless woman who died, Colleen. The artist referred to her as “nice but broken”. In an earlier post, the woman’s story is shared. She was a runaway and alludes to abuse as the cause of her running away. She became an  addict .

Colleen was not broken. The situation that caused her to become homeless and an addict was what is broken. Society is broken. Colleen herself should be remembered as a nice young woman. Not but.

April 2013, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA   *REST IN PEACE

Name: Colleen

Where are you originally from?
I was born and raised between Boston and Cambridge.

 How old are you?
20 years old.

What was it like growing up?
My childhood was good. My family did provide the basics. I do remember being a kid and imagining more for my life. I did not aspire for this. No one wants to be homeless. I hope that people read this and understand… no one sets out to be on the street. Its just that life happens, and it can happen to anyone. Growing up I was told not to judge anyone, so I hope people don’t judge me.

How long have you been homeless?

I have been homeless for three years.

How did you become homeless?

I ran away from home. I don’t feel good talking about why I ran away. Speaking about it is very difficult for me.  Unfortunately, when you’re living on the street you get exposed to different things and so I started taking drugs. It is something that I constantly battle with everyday.

A few months ago, I woke up in the hospital, and my boyfriend and the doctors were looking down at me as I lay in the hospital bed. They told me that I had a drug overdose. My boyfriend is the only support that I have out here, and he also struggles with addiction. I love him a lot. But it is difficult to try and help him with his problems when I can’t even help myself. I am hoping for a miracle so that we both can get “clean” soon and get off the streets.

What is your biggest struggle being homeless?I would say it is the bridges that I’ve burned with my family and friends. My addiction has created so many problems between me and my family. I don’t even know where to start to make amends. Every time that I think I’ve got this thing beat, I let them down. It hurts because I miss my family but I understand why they stay away.

Today’s Reads: “”We have an image of hunger that comes from Africa, but this is America.And unless your belly is distended we don’t have an image of what hunger looks like here.”

All the read-worthy things for this evening.

Viola Davis talked to People Magazine about digging through trash and stealing food as a kid growing up with hunger.

Now partnering with the Safeway Foundationand the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Davis is spearheading the campaign forHunger Is to raise awareness and funds to fight childhood hunger. 

“We have an image of hunger that comes from Africa, but this is America,” Davis adds. “And unless your belly is distended we don’t have an image of what hunger looks like here.” 

Food programs like Hunger Is were instrumental in helping Davis achieve her dreams and goals. “I am the first generation of my family to go to college. Those programs made all the difference for me,” says the actress, who has five siblings. “It’s been cathartic for me because I always had a lot of shame with going in the garbage dumps that had maggots in it, too. It has brought healing in my life to be able to talk about it.” 
djline
If you are 35 or younger – and quite often, older – the advice of the old economy does not apply to you. You live in the post-employment economy, where corporations have decided not to pay people. Profits are still high. The money is still there. But not for you. You will work without a raise, benefits, or job security. Survival is now a laudable aspiration.
Quoted from Sarah Kendzior’s “Surviving the Post-Employment Economy

“In the United States, nine percent of computer science majors are unemployed, and 14.7 percent of those who hold degrees in information systems have no job. Graduates with degrees in STEM – science, technology, engineering and medicine – are facing record joblessness, with unemployment at more than twice pre-recession levels. The job market for law degree holders continues to erode, with only 55 percent of 2011 law graduates in full-time jobs. Even in the military, that behemoth of the national budget, positions are being eliminated or becoming contingent due to the sequester.

It is not skills or majors that are being devalued. It is people.”

Her work is frank, speaking of a reality I hope that will never be mine. At the same time, it gives me a strange comfort to know that I am not alone.

(via sextus—empiricus)

 

djline


think-progress
:

This is the worst city in America to be homeless.

A must read.

djline

Meanwhile….
Florida homeless center’s superior reason for growth- more medical care:
bit.ly/1nWCjn5#poverty (Op-Ed via @bradentonherald)

And you thought nothing good ever happened in Florida.

djline

via victorequality

Not only does capitalism depend on it, it treats it the shittiest. Domestic workers tend to be women and non-white, helping capitalism contribute to the marginalization of those people.