I say until you have set aside what you know, you will not create a viable solution.
I will continue to invite Sam Liccardo and Dave Cortese to think outside of the box. For now, it should be very clear that harassing these people is not the solution.
San Jose Homeless camps
Starting from scratch, a clean, slate, an empty binder, with no preconceptions of how to address this situation will yield the very best result.
Let me ask a question. Are the homeless people citizens? Are they truly homeless? Have we revoked their citizenship? (Sure maybe a small subset is from another country – I’ll give you that).
For now, assume everyone is human, a citizen, and has unalienable rights.
I’m looking to create a new distinction. What new word can we create for this amazing class or group of people? The Greeks created citizenship. I’m curious what we can create that enfolds all of us, especially those we call homeless.
Join me in thinking outside of the box. Set aside all that you know or think that you know. Embrace this opportunity to create a solution from scratch. Not idea is too silly, too bold, or to be discounted. All ideas will be considered – they must however be respectful of all citizens.
Today I had lunch with movers and shakers in the Santa Clara county. State Senator Jim Beall was speaking about issues he is addressing at the state level, which impacts all of us. Homelessness was one of the various topics he raised. Ironically, I had raised this conversation, about the homelessness in San Jose, at my table not knowing that Mr. Beall will later raise the issue too. I was fortunate enough to spend lunch with a couple of very powerful and friendly people. A philanthropist who I will be following up with.
At one point the conversation turned to women’s rights to decide what happens with their bodies. Very engaging and enlightening conversation.
I grew up spending much time out of doors. It was fun, boring at times, and I enjoyed spending time in nature.
Then as an adult I had the opportunity to become an Assistant Boy scout Master. Once a month we had a camping trip – rain or shine. Some trips were very cold, such as snow camping. Cold was never as bad as when it rained. Rain water has a habit of getting everything wet – especially clothes. Then chill would set in…BRRR!
As I walked to my car today I came across a couple of people living outdoors. An elder lady with a shopping cart – she pulled under an eve to blow her nose. I later saw her walking her cart through a very heavy down pour of rain.
The second person, well he had taken his wet shoes off and was sleeping in the elevator at the parking lot. Three people went to get on the elevator and ushered him out of the elevator.
I wonder, are they enjoying living in the great outdoors? How did they get there? What happened? Do they have mental health issues as most of the indigent do? Maybe they simply lost their job and their world collapsed. Or maybe they are like a friend of mine, Phil, who had health issues, lost almost everything and then lost everything when another car hit and totaled his van.
Do you wonder what happened when you see these people?
Is it camping or a bad situation getting worse?
Maybe you believe in Karma – the drought is here until we solve this issue?
I don’t have the answer, yet. I do know this issue is eating at me. I do believe solutions exist. I also know that there is not a solution, this will be a body of solutions.
I don’t believe in hand outs, only hand ups – or hug ups! I heard a story a couple of weekends ago. A man was walking an outdoor mall in Southern California. He walked by a pan handler… A few steps later he turned around and asked her what she needed most. She thought and responded with, “A hug.” He gave her a hug, a long, long hug. She told him that she had not had a hug in over a year. Not long after this she managed to get her life back on track. She reached out to this man to let him know she was okay.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
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