There is so much to discuss and learn on this topic. The more I learn, read, hear, discuss, the more I know I need to look into.
There is no one solution to this crisis. It will be the pieces we all hold and the coming together of them that will create the fully formed puzzle of a solution to our communities needs. Nothing less.
Though I have always known and felt this, this last little bit of time, the last few meetings I have attended, have brought this even more to mind and to light.
There is no way to put all the information I wish to into words in a single post so over the next few days I will post a few smaller entries on various focal topics. Pieces to the puzzle if you will.
These topics are not always from me. I will have heard them from my own research. I have been meeting more amazing people and hearing the passion I adore to find in many. I wish to bring these topics to visibility not in some form of calling them my own at all, but in voice for this discussion. Please always feel free to add via comment below your thoughts on the topic.
All of that being said, I will leave this one here, and start with the next to follow shortly.
She said she was angry. It caught my attention.
We all introduced ourselves at the first meeting of the Advisory Committee on Affordable Housing. When my turn came, I shared my housing related experiences briefly and a few other small details. Many participants started with where they were from, work-wise: they represented local agencies and groups or committees, and others came from council chambers and the different areas that are usually included in such planning and strategizing. But when Councillor Chapman said she was in the room, having come there because she was angry, I felt that.
I came into that meeting with such hope and my standard spunk, uncertain of so much but excited and even feeling honored to be in the room with such an intellectual and competent group. After I left that day, still hesitantly hopeful, I started to think about it more and reading up more on statistics I consider relevant to the situation, as I first tend to do. I’ll post some such links over the next while for your reading and consideration as well. (There are always many interesting figures that can be applied and viewed in any statistical analysis. Numbers amuse me! But I digress…)
We have a housing CRISIS here in the region. We’ve talked for years about its ongoing increase and what to do about it, but always the people who were talking had a lot of privilege: those in the discussion knew they have a home to return to for their evenings sleep and self-care. As much as I felt the same anger as Councillor Chapman in the words of some others, I also felt the privilege in the room, my own included. While I respect and recognize the additional time needed to strategize in order to eliminate the housing crisis, I am also more and more leaning towards feeling that “the time to hesitate is through”, and I know many others feel this way too. This means that I want to see more IMMEDIATE creative solutions for dealing with this crisis within our municipal offices to help navigate the red tape and funding needs and get ideas into action. We need to be finding the funding to support projects to reduce the poverty figures within our area. And now. Ironically, however, nothing in the materials I was given at that meeting even touch on income of those who are lowest in our community’s demographics. Even when broadened to include the complete scope of those in the lowest tax bracket, the numbers for initial review as offered at the Affordable Housing Strategy Committee meeting began at 60,000$, sitting far above such, and nowhere near what a person in poverty earns. That amount is more than I have ever earned myself at almost 40 years old, and most definitely more than the income of those who rely on our social services systems and need a place to live.
Though I realize that we are awaiting the pending Housing Assessment, due to be released shortly and relayed for review then, I feel I must side with those who must already feel left out. I also have no doubt that figures offering more immediate clarity are already available for review, in some fashion, or could have been acquired with the same relative ease as those I was given. More figures that reflect those who earn far less than 60,000$, that is people on social assistance and living in poverty. Decisions made by those with privilege, without adequately listening to the voices of those with none, will fail to make any necessary change within our society, at its most base structural level, away from the belief that one’s income has a direct correlation to of the value of an individual. Politics, profits, and all the many stigmas that we hold within our community need to be dropped in these rooms and discussions if we are actually looking to get anywhere on the most core and pressing issues literally placing some of our citizens at risk of death, due to weather, if nothing else.
I want to see our hearts. I want to see us putting more and immediate focus on those who are relying on these talks with their lives. They won’t be having a Christmas holiday to attend to, beyond the offerings of our local supports (THANK YOU FOR THESE!), more so still just maintaining their personal survival.
As always, you know I will have more, as I hear further what the community feels on these topics and firm up my thoughts with some more personal research. Expect links to relative online information and updates on meeting, as well as public relay of what I expect to be many other amazing ideas I find out about locally as this progresses. I'd like to further get a feel for the thoughts, ideas, and barriers that are out there.
I welcome all to let me know what their thoughts are regarding local housing at ReganBrusse@gmail.com. We need to move forward quickly with these discussions to best come together in hopes of our collaborative effort creating local housing success, while we also strategize for its continued realization.
I am often wrong and always learning.