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With so much of our work force making wages below the poverty line this information should be helpful to a broad swath of Americana. Because even with the ACA two weeks of illness means not only lost wages for those two weeks but in most cases a loss of employment.

Many that are already poor already know much about these methods and, in some cases, programs to help us stay connected. Even though the largest obstacle to connectivity isn't really the devices or methods but the fact we are a permanent underclass forced to beg for help at every turn to get our basic needs met. This alienates friends and family and is part of the cycle of poverty that leads to so many homeless with no where to turn because they have been asking for help for years in some cases in order to maintain their home, clothing, vehicle, children...

Phones:

Lifeline

Lifeline provides discounts on monthly telephone service (wireline or wireless) for eligible consumers. These discounts are currently set at $9.25 per month. Federal rules prohibit eligible low-income consumers from receiving more than ONE Lifeline service per household. That is, eligible low-income consumers may receive a Lifeline discount on either a wireline or a wireless service, but may not receive a Lifeline discount on both services at the same time. Additionally, only ONE Lifeline service may be obtained per household. "Household" is defined as any individual or group of individuals who live together at the same address as one economic unit. An "economic unit" is defined as "all adult individuals contributing to and sharing in the income and expenses of a household." Lifeline support is available to eligible low-income consumers living in group living facilities. Lifeline applicants may demonstrate when initially enrolling in the program that any other Lifeline recipients residing at their residential address are part of a separate household.
It is good to have a phone, but if you are like me at the bottom of the pile it will rarely ring except for bill collectors and robo calls. And with the ten dollar limit I have experienced being on hold with Social Security for over an hour only to run out of minutes mid call thus not only not being able to complete my task but unable to communicate until my next month came up. Many social service agencies leave the poor on hold for extended periods making limited minutes an extra stress on poor families. Because apparently our time is not important. Also internet access from these phones is at last century speeds which means the pages time out before they load.

"Burn" phones are the next option and are a slightly more effective way to maintain communications.

Companies such as Tracfone and Virgin make phones that are able to connect to the internet, usually reconditioned, and make calls and send texts. Their pricing can vary with use. On the great side there is no contract so if the choice is eating or paying for the phone you will not be penalized beyond losing connectivity. On the down side you are paying premium prices because as a poor person we lack negotiating power. But those prices are still much lower than many contracted phones simply because of the extra charges that the contract companies are permitted to load on a monthly bill. One could theoretically complete a multi stage job application on one of these phones if they are patient enough to wait for the pages to load. And you happen to not have coverage drop mid application.

Internet:

Many communities have libraries and community centers with some limited internet access. The average seems to be an hour a day. Not much time if one is looking for housing or work making the effort to get to these computers questionable for many. There is also the requirement that one have a library card for that system to use those computers. If one is homeless the requisite bills proving residence are not going to be available.

The next option is a tablet device of sorts, kindles, iPads and other lower cost devices that allow some internet features at speeds that allow someone to complete a task in a reasonable amount of time. These items although inexpensive to the middle class are cost prohibitive to the poor as well as easily targeted for theft and damaged easily. Lap tops are also less egregiously priced but have the same drawbacks regarding damage and theft. Especially to the vulnerable poor.

Now one has a device getting connected is not as easy as it seems. One could use coffee houses and other public houses to gain internet access but one needs to have funds for whatever product that location is selling. There is also the issue of the homeless being ostracized to the point they are not allowed the use of these public houses. But if you can afford it and can pass the caste system appearance standards these venues are preferable. Some local libraries and community centers have internet as well but one needs to also have a library card to gain access.

Charging:

This is the number one reason why homeless ask to borrow a phone, because their battery has died and there is no infrastructure available to allow them to recharge their phone. When one is homeless going to a public house is a challenge because of social forces as well as economic barriers. Going to a cafe and buying one small coffee or other low cost menu item and then hooking up to the electric as soon as you sit down is socially oppressive in this nation of poor blamers. Someone will say something and in some cases the staff will ask you to leave. Going to the library or community center to charge your phone or other device can sometimes be an option if the electric terminals are not locked to prevent charging. So it is no wonder that being homeless is synonymous with carrying a brick for a phone.

Trying to "get a job" with these conditions is not as easy as it seems.

Originally posted to Kossacks for the Homeless Person on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 08:34 AM PST.

Also republished by Income Inequality Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Have a look see at the nokia e71 (7+ / 0-)

    Not to big to carry 24/7 , wifi , phone , etc .
    Not expensive , even cheap if you will 2nd hand .
    At the library here in Santa Cruz , free wifi no card needed , free electricity for charging .

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

    by indycam on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 08:48:15 AM PST

  •  When I call the california dmv (8+ / 0-)

    they have a nice call back feature ,
    I give them my name a number and they call back when its my turn , so no need to hang on hold . I wish everyone would have the same same .

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

    by indycam on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 08:51:13 AM PST

  •  A great resource. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III, mimi, CroneWit

    Thanks for this.

  •  HBIII, you are a gem. (15+ / 0-)

    Deprived of the ability to stay connected and informed, the poor, unemployed, and under employed are crushed and swept aside even moreso.

    Despite the fact that our small business has been hit hard by the GOP shutdown and failure of Congress to produce a budget, we let various individuals use our computers & internet to create resumes, job hunt, and stay informed about the lunacy of the far right.

    We all have to use every last available tool to fight the bastards who are hell-bent on destroying whatever is left of the American middle class.

    Sharing information and staying connected is essential.

    As always - thanks!

  •  I commend you for taking the time to share (6+ / 0-)

    this vital information, and for the sentiment behind it.  Great work!

    •  Hey, Ray, where did your diary go? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      serendipityisabitch

      Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.

      by Bob Johnson on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 09:45:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  OMG, Bob! I've written a few diaries, published (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Horace Boothroyd III

        them, and then on a second reading I decide I don't like it and remove them.  I think the features of the website include publish, unpublish, delete, etc., isn't that so.

        Now, what's really kind of weird is that now on a couple of occasions people have collected cashed copies of my deleted diaries and posted links to them.

        That is truly bizarre, and yes, weird.  Imagine if a writer write something that contains highly sensitive information that could be damaging (without realizing it at first) and then removes the diary, just to have someone not only get a cashed copy of the diary, but actually post links to it?

        That seems to be malicious to me... I'm going to send note to admin about this and will write a short diary about it.  I want to see what the community feel about this issue.

      •  I just sent the following complain to admin, and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Horace Boothroyd III

        will write a diary asking the community about whether this is acceptable behavior:

        Posting Cashed Links to Deleted Diaries...

        Dear Admin:

        I'd like to call attention to an action taken by a user which I think violates the spirit of good-faith engagement in a blog like Daily Kos.

        First, I wanted to inquire about whether it is advisable for people to get into the habit of getting cashed copies of diaries that have been unpublished or deleted and then post links to those cashed copies in unrelated diaries.

        At first blush, it seems to me that there is malicious intent in doing something like that.

        Imagine if someone writes a diary and the writer later realizes that there is content that may be highly sensitive, and decides to unpublish or delete the diary, just to have someone who's keeping close track of the author's published diaries get a cashed copy of the deleted diary and then starts posting links in unrelated diaries or comment threads?

        As to myself, I can't imagine ever doing something like that to another diarist.

        I just can't get my head around why this particular user would have done this (something that has happened to me before).

        Here's the link to the comment:
        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        Please advice as to whether this is an acceptable behavior at Daily Kos.

        Thank you.

        Ray Pensador

  •  thank you, Horace, for this diary (6+ / 0-)

    ... I became aware how difficult it is to stay connected via phone and give anonymity to myself and the homeless person I was trying to reach out to. Your diary is very timely to me.

    The homeless person had a phone with a limited amount of minutes for calls and text. Way too little to be able to "connect" in a meaningful way.

    I created a prepaid phone number on a second phone just for the homeless person to call in to, when he needed and felt appropriate to reach out to me. I on the other hand was hesitating to call the phone of the homeless person to not use up his valuable few minutes left for the month and the same was true for text messages. So, it would be crucial for the homeless person to have an unlimited amount of minutes and text available.

    The issue of finding a place to charge your phone and to find a place to sit comfortably to connect your labtop with wifi to the internet (if the homeless person is so lucky as to have gotten a laptop as a gift) also is a serious problem.

    Not always are restaurants who offer wifi for free willing to let a homeless person sit in their restaurant and use their own laptop. Same is true for using restrooms. It's a matter of luck, the restaurant personel and the biggest hurdle often are the security officers.

    Library access is so limited. And the address and ID problem of a homeless person still puzzles my mind.
    I am trying to think what the most important step and need a homeless person has to make and get achieved really is. What comes first?

    To me it seems the most important first step is to have a mailing address the person can give and can have access to. I am not clear (had no time to research it and hope others will pitch in with their knowledge) how a homeless person, who has absolutely no income and not any benefits beside food stamps, can get the correct ID, what kind of ID that is, and how to get an address, if the homeless person sleeps on the streets, under bridges or in the woods or is temporarily sharing a room out of which he might be thrown out any day to the next, never have a stable place to stay. Are shelters providing a "home address" for a homeless person? What

    How do they get an address and ID? My first question.

    How much is them having an address related geographically to where they apply for social security benefits? This is an important question for Washington DC which is bordered by MD and VA and often a better outside suvival place to sleep can be found in MD or VA, whereas  the benefits are applied for in DC. Better shelter places can be as far away as West Virginia compared to other less safe and more crowded shelters, where a homeless person can get shot, stabbed at and feels unsafe.

    For example I realized that my outside neighborhood would be a "better" place for a homeless as it provides in the town center place banks and free internet access, if you have a wifi laptop. You also have a library in walking distance as well as a gym and recreation center (very important places where a homeless person could access a shower, but you need to be able to pay the membership fees) and a store to buy food. Thus the homeless person could all get access to by foot. But it's not the place in the right state or county, for a homeless person in DC to even consider go to. Whereas transportation issues for homeless person to reach various facilities is a crux. Either you can't walk there anymore (because many are too weak or sick or simply not strong enough anymore to walk miles and miles) or you don't have enough money to pay for bus or metro. So, it sucks sky high.

    I had some ideas of what one could do, but before I don't understand all the legislative stuff concerning homelessness and applying for social benefits I won't say anything. But it goes along the lines to bring mobile services to the places where the homeless usually gather during daytime. That is somehow done already with food trucks who hand out soups and warm meals at certain places in Washington DC for those homeless, who can't find their way to soup kitchens. You could bring more mobile services to them, trucks who offer solar powerd wifi and mobile "restrooms" and showers.

    Gosh, that is just too much to think about right now for me. But it doesn't leave my mind....

    Thanks for the diary.

    Your diary is very important.

  •  Am I being an asshole at HuffPo? (4+ / 0-)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

    I attacked her in the comments.

    •  $80 a week? (6+ / 0-)

      Amazing they go for the maximum every time. Little do they know the homeless with no place to cook are the ones getting that. If they get $80.00 a week the challenge is eating with no place to cook or store food.

      •  yep, the nice plates with cooked split pea (5+ / 0-)

        soup on a whole wheat piece of bread ... just drop down from the skies on the lap of a homeless person sitting on a bench in a park and sleeping under the stairs of some buildings, if the security officers look the other way ...

      •  HBIII, did you see the diaries (6+ / 0-)

        for Hunger in America that I did about this very issue?

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        We have an awful lot of couch-surfers in this country who are not counted as homeless, but should be.
        There are things we should all be doing to make some of the basic needs of our brothers and sisters easier to get; instead, our politicians reassure us of the "Christian family value" of destroying our poorer brothers and sisters, our different children, our disabled and elderly ...

        Sigh.

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 12:04:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  BlackSheep1, your stove-alternative posts (2+ / 0-)

          are very informative and well-written.  Thanks for sharing them.

          For homeless folks, I can see where your methods would be very useful.  But a housed person (like me) would have other concerns: fire or eviction.

          In my HUD housing complex, all the buildings are 2-level, the upper pats having a woodend deck, the lowers having a concret slab patio.  In theory, your methods could be safely used on the concrete slab, but I would worry about using them on wood. (But maybe that's just me.)

          But beyond my worry, they could run afoul of lease/houserules and/or local Fire Codes -- either of which could be cause for eviction.  A few years ago, my complex cracked down on using grills on patios/decks, citing the Fire Code and stating plainly that they now view grill use as grounds for eviction.  I can very well imagine they would evict for any fire-based cooking method.

          I have something, purchased years ago, that would be too clunky and theft-prone (and with operating costs, after purchase) that I've kept in case of emergency.  It's a portable stove (found at a local Korean-run market serving our international community).  It's a sturdy molded plastic case which opens to reveal one gas 'stovetop' burner.  It runs on hairspray-sized cans of compressed fuel, and has an auto-starter (which doesn't work well, so I used matches to light in for the few days I had to use it, before I lived here).  I keep it for true emergency use, like if (gods forbid!) the New Madrid fault opens up and I'm without power.

          If one were to use something like this, safety procedures for both open-flame and carbon monoxide risks would have to be in place.  And since the fuel-cans don't last terribly long, fuel-conservation methods would help, such as heating a day's worth of coffee-water with a 2-3 level bamboo heater stacked on top, cooking other things.

          Drawbacks, including costs, with this method, but I offer it in case someone might find it helpful.

    •  I don't know how you call yourself (6+ / 0-)

      in the comment section of that article, but ... I didn't see big attacks against the author there.

      This article is a damn shame and a hypocritical attempt to show that the author could do something for a week indicating that any homeless person can do the same.

      Homeless people don't have a kitchen. Geesh. I hate cheap journalism.

    •  Offensiveness of HuffPo piece: Huge (6+ / 0-)

      The piece (for those who don't choose to click) is a 10- point slideshow on tips for 'surviving' the Food Stamp cut.  The points & my reaction follow.

      1. 'Fruity tea' from organic banana peel/hot water.  Banana peel tea?  Well, first spend your Food Stamps on a bunch of pricey organic bananas is pretty dumb. Or maybe you scrounge them from a dumpster? How much nutrition, and what kind, is in a banana peel, anyway?  You would do better to forage some chickweed greens (extremely nutritious!) and some dandelion and burdock leaves and roots (if you have a knife to dig/chop roots with), dry them (or use fresh), pour your hot water on, drink the tea and eat the leavings.  Maybe not so tasty, although salt would help, but you would be getting actual vitamins and minerals in abundance.

      2. Hot noodles in Spicy Peanut Sauce.  Well, this is an ad for the OXO kitchen scale and the big glass mixing cup with storage lid.  Foodstuffs would be a matter of food preferences, no nutrition info.  Pic implies well-equipped kitchen and financial ability to buy sleek new equipment.  An ad, nothing more.

      3. Wow!  Big news!  Save your veggie-cooking water and boil your other veggie scraps in it to make broth!  Umm, excuse me, but I think most Food Stamp cooks with kitchens, and frugal cooks generally, already know this.

      4. 'Beans on toast'/ breakfast foods for other meals & vice versa.  As in (3) -- umm, those with kitchens already know this.  That perky tone is starting to sound pretty condescending.

      5. Beautiful plate FULL of a big chunk of chili cornbread next to a green salad with shredded carrots on top.  Yum!  And such a full plate!  PIckings at the pantry must have been especially good this week!  'Hint' is to combine leftovers into 'new' foods (chili cornbread) and use shredded carrots so you don't get bored of carrot sticks.  Pul-eese!

      6. 'Don't waste money on junk food'.  Pic of sliced apple (the whole apple) plus raisins/walnuts as a snack.  Can't argue with the food choices, apples/raisins could be from the pantry, walnuts rarely show up there, are pricey protein at the store but excellent nutrition with 'good oils' so worth acquiring.  But for poor folks this is not a 'snack'.  It's 'lunch'.

      7. Pic of one halved poached pear as one serving, reasonable. 'Light the candles, put on the music, use the good dishes' -- because we want you to keep your spirits up, poor dear!  Note the assumptions of middle-class household lifestyle.  Candles, no matter how pretty, are for when the lights go out (did we manage to pay the bill?); the 'good dishes'?  Ha. Hahaha.  Hahahah, hahaha, hahaha, ha.

      8. Pic of black bean chili, carrot sticks, and 'banana scrapcake'.  Food choices are OK, but I see big chunks of meat in the chili -- ham was at the pantry, apparently.  And it's 'scrapcake' because it's made of mixed flours from the bottom of the bags.  Again, not bad advice, but poor-folk cooks already know how to use 'scraps', than you.

      9. 'Plan' for emergency meals for when you're starving between 'regular meals'.  Wow, really glad I had that bit of broth in the fridge, and some noodles on hand!  This assumes more 'food wealth' than many on Food Stamps enjoy.  As a singleton, I almost always have leftover bits in the fridge.  But a mom, starvingly hungry at mid-afternoon, might look at that broth and those noodles and know that they could be streched, maybe a can of veggies thrown in, and count as dinner for the kids, and close the fridge door.

      10. 'Celebrate your thrifty discoveries'.  Pic of chocolate cookies cooling on a rack, 'thrifty' because made with store-brand cocoa and olive oil.  Well, yes, 'thrifty' if you are starting with the assumption of middle-class lifestyle as the norm.

      Overall impression.  This article is an ad for the writer's two books, displayed below the article, with two high-end kitchen gadget ads embedded.  I've mentioned the class assumptions throughout.  But someone here has mentioned the impression about those living on Food Stamps this article would make on higher-income readers who are clueless about real life in poverty.

      This is a woman's magazine flip-through article composed of beautifully-presented dishes, aimed at a middle-class audience who can afford to buy gadgets and (hopefully buy the author's books.   A middle-class woman who knows nothing, even at second-hand, about real life in poverty, would get the impression that 'gee, if that's how they live, it's can't be too bad.'  

      Very very cheap and tacky way to sell books and get pageclicks.  Shame, shame on HuffPo for positioning this as though it address the political issues of real poverty.

  •  Horace ... your last sentence in your diary (5+ / 0-)

    is the most polite understatement I have read about the outrageous conditions of homeless persons are confronted with.

    Just saying while rereading.

  •  Great piece on Connectivity for Homeless, HB! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    Hi, HB.  Sorry to be so late to the party -- and when I got here I was captured by the condescending HuffPo article in a comment and felt I had to give it a full reply.

    Thanks for educating us about connectivity problems and needs of homeless people.  [Note:  I first wrote 'the homeless' then, annoyed with myself, scratched it out.  I will herafter make a point of NOT using the Reagan/Bush-ear dehumanizing label that makes homeless people into a faceless clump of  a 'social problem'.]

    I have a few things to say here, but first let me point to some comments  made recently on how communities can work with their local governments to have the governments work with internet service providers to bring low-cost access programs to your area.  I don't know enough about this yet to address it well, but I've asked the writer to consider writing a diary about this so we can all learn together.  her very informative comments begin here --

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    In regards to some points in your diary --

    I have one of the free phone services ('Obamaphones', although really they should be called 'Reaganphones, since he started the Lifeline program).  The phone they sent me is a 'dumb' phone and the free service allows 250 min/mo plus 250 texts/mo.  More minutes/texts (and I think more connectivity?) are available for purchase.  I don't use texts, and as you note the 250 minutes (about 4 hours) disappear very quickly.  The first second of a call (ie, hitting 'go')  'spends'  the whole minute.  Since I depend on others for rides, this means I have to budget my phone time -- first to make sure that I can plan my outings for groceries, laundry, other necessary outings; second for for other kinds of 'business' type calls (to an agency, to learn about a potentially-useful service, etc).  Since these 'business' calls, even if kept brief, usually take at least 10-20 minutes, I try when I can to do them near the end of my 'phone month', so I won't be out of commission too long.  I had a land-line Lifeline plan before the free phone, and there are pros/cos for me, between them.  The free cell allows free long-distance calls, while the land-line plan didn't include long-distance at all.  However, the land-line plan had unlimited minutes, so (if I used toll-free numbers when needed), I could use the phone for long and repeated calls to work things out with an agency, to do self-advocacy (ie, research  about, and arguing for, my Disability Civil Rights which burned up hours over years), or just to enjoy long or frequent chatty calls with friends, which is a Quality of Life issue since my health keeps me largely homebound and isolated).

    As to the impediments to access your describe, such as Library access impeded by need for Membership impeded by need for Address -- my town/county has created some very effective solutions for this kind of thing, which I'll try to share here.

    My town is a small-to-mid-sized city in a Midwestern town with a major University, an island of blue in a sea of red which had a sizeable hippie population back in the day, educated kids who successfully infiltrated and influenced city/county government and stayed to maintain that influence.  The University continues to attract humane-minded students, and actively encourages involvement is local social services.  Around 2001, a downtown Methodist church (and 'downtown' = near University) committed themselves to offering financial resources, volunteers , and donated space to start an outreach service program for local poor and homeless people.  they partnered with the City and others, and hired a man who had set up a similar program in his home state of Rhode Island.  (This man had gotten into this work because he had a brother who was both brilliant and mentally ill, and who had lived as a homeless person for years.  So the organizing first Director of the Shalom Community Center brought with him both  exceptional skills and a real understanding of how to establish certain values as an integral part of every aspect of operations.  He insisted that every guest (he insisted on that word) be treated with respect and kindness, and that their fundamental human dignity and rights to self-determination be respected.  The Shalom Center opened in the Spring of 2001 in a Sunday school classroom while the dedicated space was still under construction.  From the first day, they offered free coffee (and donated breakfast breads); a place to sit down, and tables to work on; reps from various agencies who visited to help people sign up for programs, and referrals tho programs which really gave your app a leg up; a phone to make calls an to use as a callback number; and one internet computer.

    That summer they moved to their dedicated space, and broadened services to include a washing machine; that ability for people to make Shalom Center their mailing address, urging people to register to vote as another form of social/political/agency validation;  a fax machine; a volunteer-run kitchen offering light breakfasts and hot lunches, along with free coffee all day long; a few soft chairs, with sleeping permitted anywhere as long as walkways and exits were kept clear; a dedicated computer room with donated computers connected to the internet.  The computer room did not last long, however, because the volunteer techies (some of them guests) couldn't keep the array of old and varied machinery, with their various operating systems running well; because of problems (hogging, accessing pornography on machines that were also used by children); and because that room was quieter and became a haven with moms with kids, so that room eventually became the mom/kids room

    The new building, opened a few years ago, has a shower and storage bins for people's belongings, so they don't have to walk around with everything on their backs; and probably other services I'm not aware of.

    I've gone on so long about the Shalom Center in part to show how it takes long-term involvement by many people and organizations to provide for the many needs of homeless and/or poor, and how one town did that.  (The other part has to do with the fact that Shalom Center saved my life and allowed me to access resources to stave off disaster and to find housing and other services that gave me a chance to hold on by my teeth and fingernails long enough to achieve stability; and I got lost in recollection and wanted to give them their due.)

    The Shalom Center's website, I'm' sadly surprised to note, has very little detail about their services on their 'What We Do' page.  But I'll include a link, in case some folks want to work in their own communities to find a way to provide these fundamental services.  Shalom might be willing to advise on process for replication.

    http://shalomcommunitycenter.org/

    •  Problem with using a church for this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CroneWit, PSzymeczek

      Is Fundaloons use it as a tool to not only capriciously punish the poor but to impose their version of morality on the poor. With 40% or more of the homeless youth being LGBT this means those services are not welcoming.

      Even if the program specifically is non discriminatory the Fundaloons wait until they have the "guest" to themselves before staring their tirades and petty punishments including denial of services.

      •  Not all churches are 'Fundaloons' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Horace Boothroyd III

        and many of the churches that are NOT Fundaloons have genuine commitments to human dignity and work actively against the 'social issues' (and their effects) of the Fundaloons.

        I fully acknowledge that the actions you describe do take place in Fundaloon-run service providers and that those actions are  unconscionably terrible and that those site should be shunned, avoided, and publicly humiliated.  But please don't let that admittedly horrible reality turn you away from the possibility of a community working together with non-Fundaloon churches that can bring together a community-wide coalition of deeply service-minded people to create a service provider like the Shalom Center.

        To the best of my memory, 'brand-name' churches involved with Shalom since its inception include the Methodists, who donated and rebuilt-to-purpose part of their church building, actively generated city-count-University partnerships, funded staff (and generated funds through their own member's donations), and maintained their space donation on ongoing financial support for about 7-8 years until Shalom could become free-standing.  Other churches actively involved since the start since the beginning include the Episcopalians, two Presbyterian congregations, and of course the Jewish community, both the Synagogue and the University's Jewish community.  

        (And, beyond Shalom, the non-Methodist churches above have other long-term outreach efforts:  The Presbys offer food resources (as to the Methodists, in addition to Shalom), and the Episcopals have, for several winters now, provided a warm, no-questions sleeping space to homeless people, with church members giving up their sleep to staff the place while others safely sleep.)

        All of these churches' members have given generously of their volunteer time, their goods, and their funds to make sure that their guests' needs are met.  And I can guaran-darn-tee you that NEVER, EVER has any guest been subjected by these ' church people' to any form of proselytization or identity/group-based shaming.  If an individual volunteer felt it his/her duty to do either, that person would quickly be taken aside and quietly but firmly told that such behavior was impermissible and and offered the choice to refrain or leave.  And I imagine that even a guest who indulged in such behavior would be told that such behavior is not allowed because Shalom has to be a safe space for everybody.  (Although I don't know if a guest would be asked to leave or banned, because that would run counter to Shalom's purpose, but I imagine they might be frequently reminded and perhaps their welcome might become conditional on appropriate behavior.)

        One long-term Shalom volunteer (a Methodist) is a member of the LGBT community, and I think (although not certain) that a particular high-level member of Shalom is, too.  And last time I checked the Episcopalian pastor (? right word? top guy) is in a committed relationship (married to?) his male partner.  If you would like, I can look into the possibility of putting you in contact with any or all of these people, so you could discuss not only the possibility of replicating the Shalom model elsewhere (with or without church involvement), and discussing safe/not safe churches for homeless/poor people to receive services from.

        Your voice carries a lot of weight here, HB, and it troubles me to see you repeat the inaccurate commonplace that 'ALL churches/church people are dangerous to seek help from because SOME people are Fundaloons.'  I fear that by repeating this you might cause people, or even entire communities, to miss out on safely-provided services because SOME people are dangerous.

        Wishing you the best, CW

        •  I didn't say all churches were (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CroneWit, PSzymeczek

          I'm saying Fundaloons infiltrate even churches with good intentions to terrorize.

          •  I can believe that, thanks for clarifying. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Horace Boothroyd III, PSzymeczek

            Nevertheless, I still think my baby/bathwater concerns are valid, about poeple/communities possibly missing out on safely-provided services because some people are Fundaloons.  

            For a Shalom-like service provider, this kind of safety depends on clear management/mission values and clear boundaries on acceptable behavior, vetting volunteers, making sure staff (and/or trustworthy volunteers) are easily available for complaints (while providing support so victims will feel and be empowered to speak out), and just simply not allowing that kind of behavior.

            I brought Shalom into the mix, not so much about connectivity, but in response to mentions about availability of basic things like an address, phone & messages, showers, etc, and told Shalom's story to show how one community created a means for meeting those needs.  In this community, non-Fundaloons churches (and church-people) brought this immensely valuable service-provider into being, and Shalom's existence has led to greater understanding of the problems of homeless/poor folks and has led to provisions for meeting even more needs, such as the Episcopalians' winter sleep shelter which has demonstrably saved lives.

            There may be an untold story of Fundaloon-caused PTSD hyper-vigilance in here somewhere, but it's too late for me to think about that now.  so I'll close with this:  If the fact that Fundaloons exist prevents homeless/poor people from getting valuable services  from, or partnering with, Social Justice churches, then the terrorists have won.

            Just sayin'.

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