It is surprising how many people want to do something practical to help others but are frustrated by only having one piece of the puzzle. What happens then is that the people who are familiar with the idea of providing homes to rent think wouldn’t it be a good idea to help some of the people who are in desperate need of homes. So they talk to other landlords who say that sounds a nightmare because people who are homeless often have a whole raft of other problems.
Not having a home is just one piece of the puzzle. You cannot stop to pick up someone who has fallen down without checking them over to see what problems they had which led to them falling down. Nor can you pick them up without dealing with the additional issues that they have acquired since falling over.
Did they have mental health issues before they were homeless or have they become depressed while living on the streets? Did they use a coping mechanism like drink or drugs beforehand or did they start using a coping mechanism after they ended up on the streets? What are the underlying reasons behind their mental health issues? PTSD from serving in the forces? Sexual abuse as a child, an issue for both men and women. Something would have caused them considerable pain somewhere if they have mental health issues or need a coping mechanism.
You cannot just take away the coping mechanism without it exposing the pain that it was covering up. You need to do something to help them recover from the pain as it is exposed. On the other hand for some people the discomfort of the mental health issue or coping mechanism is easier to cope with than facing the issues from the past that they are covering up.
There are people who so want to avoid facing the pain of the past that they let that pain spoil whatever life they can have in the present. Sadly unless they are willing to help themselves there is little that can be done for them. If they can see that there is hope that they can get through the dark tunnel of pain or have a considerable incentive to make what seems to them like a superhuman effort they may be able to reach a situation that others would call normal. After all for them their normal is fear or drink or depression or some other form of captivity.
The truth is getting out of captivity hurts and if you struggle to see that freedom is so much better then it is unlikely that you will bother trying to escape. Those who don’t know that that type of captivity or that kind of pain is like struggle to see why it could be hard to get out of captivity. It is tough.
Putting a jigsaw together
Changing lives involves putting a number of pieces together. One piece is what a landlord can offer i.e. affordable accommodation. Another piece is getting the support to deal with mental health issues. Another is dealing with the sense of injustice about how they managed to fall to the bottom of the heap. The sad thing about that is while people think the odds are stacked against them it is hard for them to believe that it is worth trying but unless they do try they cannot escape.
I must admit once I start thinking like this it takes my mind back to my dream of Lily’s Place the one stop shop for supporting those in need that I had a vision for quite a few years ago now. Opportunities to learn new skills to use around the home and at work. Programmes where it was possible to some learn how to be a good employee while doing things that help meet the needs of others like gardening or other home improvements and others where it was possible to learn how to become the person you need to be to run a business or start a helping hands project.
My problem is that I see so many good ideas for projects. Everything from helping people improve their literacy and numeracy skills to doing the equivalent of degree level courses in practical subjects. Some I recognise as being useful because of my past experience with mental health issues as a paid and unpaid carer. Some I recognise as being useful from the paid and unpaid teaching I have done both online and offline. Some I recognise as being useful as a result of some of the adventures in my own life but now wonder what would have happened if I had not had the back up that I had from various places or even just the cash to pay for stuff. Some I recognise as being useful just from keeping my eyes and ears open, even on social media.
Making it work
The thing that makes me really angry is that I see world of need and so many people who could be doing something doing very little. They have ideas about what could be done that are based on their own experience. Yet there is something that gets in the way. It might be that they suggest to others that something needs to be done and their friends say that the problem is not as simple as they first thought. It might be that they think that they need professional training before they do anything. Yes it can help but other times this is just an obstacle that needs to be pushed out of the way. They think that they need money to buy a building before they even try doing something. In fact there are as many excuses why people do not do anything as there are people.
Yes I mean excuses rather than reasons. It is no different from any other endeavour. All sorts of things are thrown at people to stop them helping others. With me most recently it has been health issues. You would think that there was a battle waging to stop those who wanted to help others. For some of us that means it is time to fight so that we can do what we believe is right. For others that means let the excuses win.
Personally I am getting sick of letting excuses win. It is well past time that I found a way of getting past the excuses. One of my excuses has been that I don’t have a group of people I could work with to get round some of the blockages. You see I have loads of ideas but it is not always easy putting them into action. In fact it would only be possible to put one of the hundreds of ideas I have into action anyway.
There must be other people who are interested in breaking through the frustration of not being able to do what they want to do to improve the lives of others. So what I have done is to try and regenerate some life into an old Facebook group so that when I do come across anyone who is as frustrated enough to try and work out a way forwards I can invite them to join the group and therefore the discussion.
So folks if that includes you the link to the group is https://www.facebook.com/groups/LilysPlace/
Lets get see what we can do to push things forwards.