During an online search within the archives of the Homeless People's Network discussion listserv for items from around this time of year back in 2002 concerning people living in homeless encampments within Burlington, Vermont, I managed to stumble upon an old op-ed of mine posted there, one which I had completely forgotten about.
Since I was not blogging until later that same year, I have decided to reprint this particular version of my original The Many Hats of Homelessness essay here:
Sunday, July 14, 2002
Burlington Free Press
"It's My Turn"/Op-Ed segment
Homelessness is having no place to hang your hat
By Morgan W. Brown
If "home is where one hangs one's hat," where does a person who is living homeless hang their hat?
When a person hangs their hat someplace temporarily, are they no longer considered truly homeless even if, in fact, it is not really their home?
Being homeless myself, I know well how the smallest items of hope are always held onto very tightly.
Just like one's own sense of dignity, self-respect, pride -- which are equally cherished and held close, such hope can often prove extremely useful and even vital in the long journey being undertaken just in managing to survive as well as living independently.
These core parts of one's self can also be key to what is needed to help find, obtain and then move into some form of safe, decent and affordable housing of one's own; which is an essential part of what is needed to end homelessness.
As near as it may be to my becoming housed once again, after being homeless in its various forms for nearly five years this time around, one would think nothing could easily stand in my way.
Yet, there are many moments when it seems too daunting and so very far away to ever be accomplished on one's own.
There are those days, and even weeks, which do not seem to pass by without a severe and persistent need to find and renew hope, inner strength as well as faith in everything.
Almost constantly, in many different ways, I remind myself that whatever the circumstances or, how they are experienced and felt, there are always other ways of thinking about them and other methods of accomplishing something when it is waited for a little while longer and, what is sought is looked for even deeper than we may believe is possible and, the support needed to do so is received.
Just as crucial though, the value of the smallest or seemingly least important thing to provide inspiration should never be underestimated; often found in what we may perceive to be the most unlikely of places or persons, especially when it is needed the most.
These are among the things which often help me to never, ever, give up on anything or anybody -- and, most importantly, never on myself.
When I do find and move into a place of my own, my hat will be hung where it can be grabbed at ease when needed. Then whenever it is off of my head and in its usual resting place, I will know I am home.
Morgan W. Brown is living homeless in Montpelier.
[via HPN archives, here (2nd item posted; Sunday, July 14, 2002)]
*Update 1*: The original version of my The Many Hats of Homelessness three-part essay was archived on HPN:
- Part One: The Many Hats of Homelessness (Monday, April 29, 2002)
- Part Two: Just How Bad Is It?
- Part Three: Opportunity Knocks
*Update 2*: Have also cross-posted the same item, along with some additional background information not posted within this blog post, to the Green Mountain Daily blog, here.
*Note*: post last updated on Thursday, May 24, 2007 at 3:59 PM [EDT].