The Mad Housers


The radio article in WABE was very nice, and it demonstrated what I call the "win-win-win" nature of the Housers outreach.

In the article, the reporter met not only our client for the build, James, but also a family whose house backs up to the lot where we deployed the shelter. James' having a shelter made the family happy, because by keeping criminals away from his area, he also keeps them away from their house. So stabilizing James' situation also helps to stabilize the neighborhood, which is win-win; but also, because James and the community are mutually supporting each other, the Housers don't have to worry about the site, either - so it's win-win-win.

This is an aspect of our outreach that many folks don't recognize: that once a homeless person has a stable shelter in the neighborhood, they become invested in that neighborhood. Before having a shelter, a client has nothing to lose; but once a client has his own place, he's less interested in trouble that could hurt his own household. They now have a stake in their future and in their community's future, and that stake makes a big difference.

Now, I'm not going to argue that every homeless person is perfectly rational operator or that there aren't idiots among the homeless. But that holds true for the population at large!

At the end of the day, we should ask ourselves: would we rather know who our neighbors are or not? As long as we pursue a strategy of sweeping homeless away, we'll never know for sure who's staying in that patch of woods. Ultimately, helping our neighbors helps ourselves.

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