Thursday, August 08, 2013

Ron Casanova: My Destiny, My Choice

A short video piece featuring New York City artist, author and social movement leader Ron Casanova (or just 'Cas' as he was widely known). Cas passed away recently. He was an inspirational & powerful man who touched every person he worked with. It was often said that he was the heart and soul of the many organizing efforts he led and participated in. His life's work endures in his paintings and his book 'Each One Teach One: Up and Out of Poverty, Memoirs of a Street Activist.' Cas' spirit also continues in the ongoing work of the organizers who worked together with him in the movement to end poverty. This video was produced in 2003 by the Media College of the University of the Poor.
[via YouTube, here; 5/19/2012]

Learn more (via Poverty Initiative), here.

Read excerpts from Ron Casanova's book, 'Each One Teach One: Up and Out of Poverty, Memoirs of a Street Activist' (via Stephen Blackburn), here.

Read Ron Casanova's Story: A fighter, a survivor (PDF), here.

fyi: Homeless Union History Project: National Union of the Homeless Timeline

Put People First Stories: Seth Collins

Seth's story is one of inspiration; with the help of funding from Pathways to Housing, Seth moved into his first apartment and then was able to purchase his own house and rent rooms out to other people in his community who were in need of affordable housing.
[via YouTube, here; 5/11/2012]

View more Put People First Stories (via Vermont Workers Center), here.

Learn more about Pathways Vermont, here.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Original NAHNN Website Archives Available Online

View Internet Archive WaybackMachine archives of the original NAHNN Website formerly maintained by Dale Crabtree back in 2000 and 2001, here (make sure to also click onto both recent as well as latest headlines provided within the left-hand sidebar of the main archives page as well).

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Commentary: What Works Best to End Homelessness?

*Updated* (with the usual edits)

What Works Best to End Homelessness?

by Morgan W. Brown

(original, lengthier and more in depth version, here)

After twelve years of living without permanent housing, four years ago this month, I was able to move into a safe, decent and affordable efficiency apartment and have been able to remain housed since.

Along with certain concerned family members and others involved, someone I had come to know over the years played a huge role in helping to bring about an end to my prolonged experience of living homeless.

What also helped was having an individualized contingency plan of mine established several years prior for if and when housing might be on the horizon (read: doable).

If it were not for the various aid provided on certain occasions when it was needed most dire, I could have easily either ended up at the Vermont State Hospital (VSH) or have succumb to worsening circumstances and intolerable conditions; neither being desirable outcomes.

If access to permanent housing opportunities can happen for me, one way or another, it can also be brought about for most anyone else living in such circumstances.

While it is true there are no easy, simple or quick -- nor one size fits all -- solutions to ending homelessness, there are practical, proven, workable ones.

More often than not, when there are others involved to help make something happen and, most importantly, working with the person in need on their terms (within reason), it usually does. Doing otherwise, is prone to failure.

Employing enormous amounts of flexibility and also carefully crafted individualized planning and individualized approaches are paramount.

This, however, takes the fostering as well as continuation of meaningful, healthy, quality and consistent relationships in order to help bring these efforts about and have them work in a successful fashion over both the short and long term.

It is part of why I have been extremely supportive of housing first models and most especially Pathways Vermont, which serves this small rural state well. The fact is, it works.

This is because, when done correctly, besides providing what it takes to help a person get into housing and remain housed afterwards, among the supportive services provided by staff are meaningful relationships, including those staff who might happen to be peers. Peers are persons who have lived experience of having traveled in the same type of shoes.

In addition, I am also very highly supportive of the housing voucher program being provided by the State of Vermont through the Department of Mental Health (DMH), with the housing vouchers being administered by the Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA), typically along with the provision of supportive services of one sort or another.

Without these permanent housing opportunities, those currently being served through the Vermont DMH housing voucher program as well as Pathways Vermont or other supportive housing or supportive service programs would otherwise be inappropriately as well as needlessly living out on the street, camped in the woods, residing under bridges or stuck in homeless shelters, jail, prison or state hospital type of institutional settings and the like, or possibly even end up dead.

These type of much more humane approaches and programs are certainly well worth funding and, indeed, each and every person or family who is in need is definitely worth the time and the effort needed to be undertaken.

Based on years of observation, I have come to the conclusion that the only lost causes, are the ones given up on.

*Note*: Made several edits for the purposes of clarification and readability; last updated on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 3:22 P.M. (EDT).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2011 FSTV Homelessness Marathon Interviews

*Updated* (swapped out embedded video and edited text accordingly)

View Free Speech TV interviews related and leading up to the 2011 Homelessness Marathon broadcast (which originated from Kansas City, Missouri on Wednesday, February 23rd and Thursday, February 24th, 2011):

Listen to archived audio podcasts of previous Homelessness Marathons, here.

*Note*: last updated on Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 5:09 AM (EDT).