A homeless society

During a recent conversation with someone related to tiny homes and homelessness, the person I was talking with made the following statement:

“We don’t have a homeless problem. We have a homeless society.”

That’s a profound statement. Let me dig into that a bit. As with most things in our society, we think that the material is the only thing that matters. So, when we approach a problem like homelessness, we think that if everyone has some kind of a shelter, we’ll fix the problem. But we won’t. Because the problem is much bigger and deeper and in places that we aren’t willing to acknowledge.

Homelessness isn’t really about whether you are sheltered or not. Yes, it’s a part of it. But it’s not the whole problem. There are plenty of people who are sheltered who are homeless.

Homelessness is a societal problem. A home is made up of intentional community and committed relationships. That can exist in a variety of forms. There are plenty of people who are sheltered that have no intentional community or committed relationship, let alone any healthy relationships. Even with being sheltered, these folks are homeless.

When people live in fear, that is their shelter. And it consumes them. Fear is an obstacle to trust. And trust is an essential ingredient to community and relationships.

If someone is in a sheltered situation but is living in domestic violence, are they really in a home? Is someone abuses neighborly relationships by abusing someone else’s property, is that person really in a home? I don’t think either situation is home-worthy. These folks may be sheltered, but they are certainly homeless.

If we want to overcome our homeless challenge, then we need to look beyond the material.

That’s true for so many of the challenges we face as a society – poverty, conspiracies, abuse, unjust systems, unhealthy cultures, violence, war, racism, etc.

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