ON THIS PAGE - Envisioning Shelter     Shelter-Commentary   Homelessness: Books/Resources       Creative Architecture     Gentle Charm in Shelter      Secular Shelter sheltercommentary_envisioningshelter_humanissues_thegoldenrivernet_updates_ 02/07/2017_06/01/2016  to top of page /menu  SHELTER: COMMENTARY SAVE THE HUMANS: FLEXIBLE WAYS TO HAVE A ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD Suggested are innovative ideas for low cost housing and shelter assistance.  We need to embrace new modalities for indigence and alternative housing approaches while identifying and retaining what works.  Rather than seeing poverty and homelessness as a burden or unconquerable problem, we need to see such things as an opportunity to seek new visions and approaches. A variety of non-religious ideas and personal input from others for shelter are included in the shelter section.  It’s a growing list.  Please write in with your info, even if it is in the UK, Mexico or Canada. Many shelters in the United States are run with heavy religious overtones, requiring attendance at prayer sessions, Sunday sermons, biblical lectures, etc.   People need additional options. back to top/menu: human issues - envisioning shelter  Being Homeless Not Shameful Before judging people who are homeless, please consider the fact the government has probably been involved in cocaine, crack and other drug sales adding up to billions of dollars.   In addition, remember the secret governmental programs using American tax dollars as well as proceeds from illegal activities like drugs, porn and prostitution for black box projects.  Many people who are well-employed and fruitfully paid are working for companies with publicly dangerous aspects at least somewhere in their tiers or for fossil fuel industries with heavy impacts on the environment and human health the environment.  Having a job is not an instant badge of honor or guarantee of a seat in heaven.  Many people equate human worth with human employment.  While governments spend billions of dollars on many other things on their agendas, they put very little attention and effort improving the quality of life of people who do not or cannot keep up with those life draining practices.  Many of the people with lots of money are not righteous or better than the masses they step on and take from.  They have just figured out some tricks or had ties to wealth and privilege to begin with.  Many people who tell themselves they worked hard for their money are under the illusion that their efforts are somehow better and more involved than the trials and tribulations that the poor go through. Being homeless is not shameful and people in this situation should not be looked down up on, treated as scum, lazy bums or low lives.  Having shelter should be seen as a basic right, not a luxury.   Many people feel they have to go through long hours and bad work in order to have small pay.  They then do not have emotional space to help the homeless.  Others feel they went through the process of stair-stepping and rising to the top.  They feel if they had to do it - and could - so should everyone else.  These attitudes keep society in a stuck space while things continue to go downhill around both big and smaller cities.  Their hard ass attitudes toward employment and the poor  do not work for a large number of people.   Time To Get It Together Once people are down and out, it can be very difficult to pull out of that without some help.  We need sustainable programs that help people for the long haul, not just for a couple of weeks here and there, which is what many shelters provide.  After a week or two, people are back out on the streets again.  More long-term shelters often are specialized for women and children, requiring signs of domestic violence.  This leaves men out as well as women without those issues (unless they lie).    Most people probably need at least a few months to pull out of poverty or other bad situations.  It takes time for paychecks to come in and money to be built up for rental deposits and rent.  Sometimes before rent can be paid,  more pressing debts that have been put off during the homelessness need to be paid up or down for fear of legal or other consequences (like high interest and late payment fees that keep building up putting people into deeper holes).  We Need Really, Really, Really Smart Shelters Here are some ideas for sustainable low cost housing for people: 1. the system is honoring and full of hope; rethink work as the joy of sustainable activity for positive returns and as meaningful in and of itself, not as punishment or authority driven agendas designed by smarter, more together professionals handling lazy and lost small children needing direction 2.  New ideas or suggestions are encouraged from everyone - workers and the inhabitants of the shelters alike 3.  Sustainable food is produced on site 4. Well insulated walls, floors and ceilings; solar panel roofs 5.  Small individual units with maximum space efficiency - one style for singles, one for single parents, one for families 6. After three months, graduated payments for rent are required in order to stay 7.  Inhabitants and workers together help to build more units for future inhabitants 8  Workers have option of housing as part of salary to cut down on jealousy and resentment toward inhabitants found in other shelters (Discourage workers from complaining about their hours and rate of pay in front of inhabitants; discourage workers from comparing their worker status to non- working inhabitants) 9. Make this kind of sheltering concept also  available to the community at large.  It can be a practical way to help low income people and those trying to save money by providing a truly functional and available way to get ahead.  Understand the human tendency for begrudging help given to others, and understand that the more members of the community get to benefit from a piece of the action, the more the shelter system will be supported.  If non-homeless working or adequately financed people feel they are getting something out of it - or could - the shelter will take off better and will be sustained for the long haul.  This needs to be a community event that offers dividends for more than the homeless, including purchase of goods and services from local stores and contractors.  The more the locals get something from the shelter, the more they will feel positive about it and will want to keep it going. 10. Consider live music during work projects and interesting approaches to dress, maybe something like artistic, unique, joyful and colorful garb provided  (including exotic earrings, hats or creative head gear and necklaces) upon entrance into the shelter in exchange for the street clothes they come in with (which can be stored) to give the community a sense of life and adventure, and to take off the sense of harshness, drabness and poverty often found around shelters and poverty in general.   Many times shelters have stale and old things lying around.  Encourage art and music therapy on the premises.  Keep lovely and charming things around.  Lots of plants and windows.  11.  Have real world training - skills building - and interesting talks on a variety of subjects - stimulate the mind and the spirit.  The key words should be “inspirational” and “real world.” 12. Have dogs around and/or other animals 13.  See about ways to sell handcrafts and small technical gadgets to help make money 14.  Have the shelters paid for and on privately owned land that is paid for; the shelters shoul never take out natural world areas but should work on existing sites or improve older sites 15.  The shelters should pride themselves on having enough space for everyone - no waiting lists Maybe some contests could be put up for the most efficient low cost sustainable shelters. Shelters By Type: Addictions, Personality, Lifestyle Habits Drugs and alcohol are often a problem.   People with addictions need to go to another type of shelter.  We need to group shelters by type - and also need to provide personality or lifestyle type categories within the shelters themselves so that people have a better fit and an increased chance for success.  Keep smoker and non-smoking sections firm.  Some people frankly are noisy in their lifestyles and personal satisfaction choices.  They require stimulation - TVs, phones, radios, music, chatter, other people,  cigarettes, gum chewing, chip eating, pop drinking.  Other people are non-smokers, would prefer to be healthy eaters and drinkers (no or low sugar), need quiet, rest, personal space and privacy.  Shelters often lump people together so that things clash.  They can keep some people more tense and uptight than rested and sustained. Disturbing feelings at shelters with inadequate sleep can keep people from focusing on doing what they need to do (like looking for jobs and more permanent shelter) for survival after leaving the shelter. Opportunity Time, Not Drag There are a number of ways to help people discover ways to help themselves without putting them through a grind.  The old pain for gain attitudes need to loosen up.   If we really put our minds to it, we could make major headways with this issue in our country - and perhaps the world.  creativearchitecture_envisioningshelter_humanissues_thegoldenrivernet_updates_02/07/2017_ updated 06/16/2016c  back to top of page /menu  CREATIVE ARCHITECTURE Smart Things With Small Spaces and Creative Materials In Structures Syncronos Design, Inc. PO Box 1833 Corrales, NM 87048 Very helpful and detailed DVD shows how to build your own hybrid straw bale and adobe home and have it be small but aesthetically pleasing. http://buildingwithawareness.com/ Interesting Architectural Ideas Stick Art Work/Architecture: Patrick Dougherty Although generally not structurally useful but more visual, these stick structures add a dimension to our awareness by showing what is possible.  The  artistically placed forms of the sticks and related materials seem to work on our awareness in a number of different ways - they seem to take on a visual language of their own when incorporated into art form.  They give the feeling of motion, flow, twist and language in often earthy and preternatural ways.  It’s like we are being invited to something at once familiar but outside the normal in sensing the dance of the sticks, but it is hard to say exactly what the feeling is. http://www.stickwork.net/ Arcosanti, Cosanti - Arizona Paolo Soleri From hand-made bells to social eco-architecture, Paolo has been exploring the connection between people and smart community spaces for many years.  Some of the ideas incorporate closed community systems for survival much like a spaceship but lived in on earth.  These ideas might be useful in the advent of global destruction of our air and atmosphere as people might be forced to move into artificially contained environments.  Studying these systems could also potentially teach us about a number of other things, including the power and effectiveness of natural ecosystems versus those that are artificially induced by man, the ability of people to live and cooperate together in small contained spaces, and the dangers possible in controlled environments (like the rapid development and spread of bacteria or viruses.) http://arcosanti.org/ Sand Bag Homes: Nader Khalili (1936-2008) Nader was a professional and successful architect who wanted to create a system for making homes that anyone could do or afford.  He started with the concept of the stable arch in reference to bags filled with sand as they are incorporated into the structure of man-made dwellings.  In exploring this form, he developed a series of ways to build houses without expensive tools or know-how, and created a school in California. https://calearth.org/ Creative Architectural Design:  Various Sources A number of different links here, the photos demonstrate clearly many ways to explore the bridge between architecture, art and nature.  Some of these ideas are a delight to the soul; it is worth one’s time to spend a few minutes just flipping through the pictures to get a feeling for things. http://www.pinterest.com/lovedesigncreat/creative-architecture-design/ Tiny homes making big inroads in inner city Portland http://www.treehugger.com/tiny-houses/tiny-homes-making-big-inroads-inner-city-portland.html Land Use Precarious Alliance 2015 symposium http://www.precariousalliance.org/ gentlecharmshelter_envisioningshelter_humanissues_thegoldenrivernet_updates_02/0/2017_updated 06/16/2016   back to top of page /menu  GENTLE CHARM IN SHELTER Returning to an old world ambiance, a sense of flow with nature and a whole-brained connection with the broad picture of all life.   Working with a sense of humility and quiet dignity in creating space for ourselves on this planet.  This is a core concept for this website and its sister websites greeningways.com.   Many Americans and those living in modern contexts have lost the sense of a certain gentle charm when building houses.  We have gone for size and a mundane type of grandeur in replacement of tranquil, stable feelings for the basic reasons behind creating a house - shelter.   We have also lost our sense of connectivity to the rest of nature.  Once many Americans have enough money, they seem to discard the idea of shelter for something that is beyond shelter.  Let’s return to a sense of humility and gentle charm in our building styles.  Humility, as it is used here, is not a back-whipping dejectedness.  It refers to a quiet sense of being a part of a bigger picture of life rather than projecting our material manifestations into a me-first centrality that takes on large shapes and displaces other things.  This type of humility does not deny the importance of the self or the importance of a human in context with other things - far from it.  Every human is unique, important and lovable.  What is meant here by humility is the sense of balance that keeps a person from imposing and destroying.  It is also about realizing that there are deep joys and delights available to us beyond just another large building or parking lot. Gentle charm can incorporate a number of ideas and need not be set in stone.  I am drawn to old European country cottages, simple pretty little dwellings that blend in with rolling hillsides and green pastures, native forests and old craggy seacoasts.  That’s my bag.  However, it can be a modern high tech expertly efficient house, a house with all the bells and whistles of a mini-NASA spaceship and a space age look to boot - just small and easy on the landscape around it. The main point here is that it is best to not wipe out nature to put up any kind of property being developed - whether it is residential or commercial.  Nature is disappearing rapidly for a variety of reasons.  Some of it is from forest fires and beetle epidemics, acid rain and soil depletion.  Yet more of it is from bull-dozers and developments.  What we need to understand is that we live in a widespread human culture that has lost its respect for small humble things like native trees, bushes and wildlife.  We need desperately to turn this around and go for a softer, gentler approach to the land and all of life.  There are so many things that can be done with small spaces and an eye for quiet beauty.  Please open your hearts and minds to this concept and help change the way we look at development and opportunity.  Then turn around and teach others to do the same.    Help people make money creating these spaces for each other.  Restore urban decay to a much more livable and beautiful natural experience.  Retard urban development that would continue the centuries old tendency to wipe things out during expansion.  Set your eyes on unique small structures that blend in harmoniously with the natural world around them. We do not need another large development, housing subdivision, parking lot or street as much as we need a sense of quality and soft attention to details and artistic tones.  Rather than slapping together another identical looking shopping center complete with the same old package of Walmarts, Targets, Home Depots and the like, let’s go back to small individual private enterprises with a sense of dignified low impact charm.  Rather than create housing developments in which the houses look like one big identical sprawl of color and shapes,  like a train running across the landscape, let’s slow down and figure out another way to do housing.   Don’t let large land developers get away with destroying what is left of our prettiest natural areas around growing parts of cities.  It’s happened so many times in so many places, yet people never learned and they are still doing it right now, at this moment -  as we speak. In addition, art and charm need to be affordable for everyone, not isolated in tinsel town, high cost areas in which the real estate alone seems to suck money energy out of people just by walking through the downtown section.  Gentle charm is a quality that embraces the common man and the wealthy all in one breath and does not discriminate against either.  It brings a sense of belonging and well-being to the soul no matter the size of the pocket book.  Communities built on the notion of gentle charm as expressed here do not have an outer layer and an inner layer, but are cohesively together throughout.  What you see is what you get.  And the local people can afford to live there, too. homelessnessbooksresources_envisioningshelter_humanissues_thegoldenrivernet_updates_02/08/2017_ 06/01/2016   back to top of page /menu  Books and Resources on Homelessness Lynne Rienner, Publisher rienner.com    At Home on the Street: People, Poverty, and a Hidden Culture of Homelessness Wasserman, Jason Adam and Jeffrey Michael Clair Down and Out, On The Road: The Homeless in American History (2002) Kusmer, Kenneth L.                Ending Homelessness: Why We Haven’t, How We Can Donald W. Burnes and David L. DiLeo, editors Excerpt:  The number of people experiencing homelessness has not changed significantly in the past 35 years—despite billions of dollars spent at the federal, state, and local levels. Why aren't we closer to the goal of ending homelessness?                                     A Gift of Hope: Helping The Homeless (2012) Danielle Steele Excerpt from inside front cover:  For eleven years, Danielle Steel took to the streets with a small team to help the homeless of San Francisco.  She worked anonymously, visiting the “cribs” of the city’s most vulnerable citizens under cover of darkness, distributing food, clothing, bedding, tools, and toiletries.  She sought no publicity for her efforts and remained anonymous throughout.  Now she is speaking up to bring attention to their plight. The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness: A Memoir (2011) Karp, Brianna secularshelter_envisioningshelter_humanissues_thegoldenrivernet_02/08/2017_   back to top of page /menu  SECULAR SHELTER Secular homeless shelters as applied here can include neutral religiosity (no religions), but also light religious orientations.  Atheist input is included here to provide the added perspective that there are people offended by heavy religious overtones in the bulk of American shelters, and that there are indeed people actively seeking other forms of assistance.  GENERAL INFO Are there any index of homeless shelters which are unambiguously secular, and where those helped aren't proselytized to? (Blog Site) http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=3338 Richard Dawkins Foundation For Science & Reason, Homeless Atheist (Blog Site) https://richarddawkins.net/2013/02/homeless-atheist/ Older (Dated) Review of Shelters http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/homelessness/nshapc02/execsum.htm Why Are There No Atheist Shelters? http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9553.htm
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