I’ve been thinking about sharing this with my tribe, as defined by Junger. His book is something I appreciate and criticize. I welcome a feminist analysis of the same issues which is not too much about criticizing the maleness of his perspective; I acknowledge that. But, I would contemplate a less gender specific discussion of the world’s tribes. And the values described.
CLOSE TO HOME Why do the homeless leave their things?
By ADRIENNE LAUBY
After the homeless micro-village nicknamed Homeless Hill was cleared, someone who is a wonderful ally looked at the “after” pictures and asked: Why so much abandoned stuff? Consider this: You and all your neighbors get a two-week notice to be out of your house. You can’t believe this is really happening. You think how nice the neighborhood is, how much you care about one another and all the things you and others have done to make the neighborhood nice. It’s unjust. You feel targeted and humiliated.
You live on a hill and have hand-carried everything you own up a steep single-person path over months — or years. You have no money, and the last time you tried to rent a storage unit, you failed to keep up the payments and lost everything. You have lost everything you own several times in the past. You don’t trust anyone, especially cops, social service agencies and government workers — people just like them have tormented, bullied and harassed you in the past.
Rumors run through the neighborhood that a lawyer has been obtained. That no one will have to move. That everyone is getting into a house. That those who stay the longest will get motel vouchers and not have to go into the shelter. That the cops will be here tomorrow, or the day after … or any minute now.
If you use drugs you live in fear that people will steal what little you have. You dare not leave without everything of value on your back. Informal agreements among neighbors have broken down. Old irritations flare into hostilities.
The police come through and say everyone is going to have to leave. Social workers come too. You
feel barraged by police and social workers who give inconsistent messages. Some of your neighbors leave. Others vow to stay no matter what.
You’ve been in shelters and found that you couldn’t sleep, were harassed by staff, picked on by other residents, couldn’t take the crowding, found your sobriety threatened by the drug and alcohol use, were made sick by bad air, couldn’t eat the food, were allergic to the perfumes and cigarette smells on people’s clothes, were traumatized when they kicked you out for a rule infraction, were traumatized
Adrienne Lauby is a member of Homeless Action! a group of service providers, church congregants, homeless people and caring individuals. They meet at 9:30 a.m. every Monday morning at First United Methodist Church Santa Rosa.