Homelessness can be exhausting but listening to these protestations of fellow homeless people can be equally tiring. Those who are the objects of criticism are generally in the same or worse predicament as the ones passing judgment. Often they are in the same desperate situation. Why does this occur? Do desperate situations lead to desperate desires to complain?
For those who are looking for work, there isn’t much that can be done until the libraries open with their Internet access. Today, the only way most employers accept job applications is over the Internet. For all job seekers, sending applications over the Internet can feel like sending messages into outer space—is anyone out there? There aren’t jobs out there. One might wonder if it doesn’t make more sense to grab a bottle of E&J brandy rather than look for something that is just not there. The libraries generally open around noon, but the shelters close at 7 a.m. That leaves a lot of time, especially in winter months, for snow to accumulate around your shoes and your feet to become dangerously cold. Speaking of shelters, it may be impossible to do anything with one’s life without a good night’s sleep but that is not assured when someone is homeless. Doesn’t anyone feel like complaining yet?
There is a small group of homeless and formally homeless people who are very concerned about the plight of the homeless and want to improve circumstances. In fact, they want to end the deplorable condition that is homelessness in Rhode Island. They are dedicated to creating a forum for the homeless, to engage in peer-to-peer outreach, advocacy, organizing and action to end homelessness.
The group is Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project (RI-HAP), members are homeless and formally homeless men and women and in fact, most have been considered chronically homeless at some time. RI-HAP has been meeting for just over a year now and has made significant accomplishments and contributions. This is such a dynamic group that if there were another dozen or so members, RI-HAP could probably do just about anything. Membership is limited to those who show up at meetings and/or participate in our actions. Why not give it a try? We meet every Friday at 10 a.m. at Mathewson Street Church. Come and complain!