Far From Home – A Hard Road from Reality to Stability
Island Voices, January 2024

Far From Home – A Hard Road from Reality to Stability

By Daniel Hooker

Recently, a friend, who like most people I know, quotes the media’s “facts” surrounding the unhoused/homeless situation, said: “Most people who are homeless are unwilling to accept help – because they’re on drugs.”

It’s hard to empathize when success is measured by a human’s abilities to be a “contributing taxpayer.”

Please understand that to climb back out of the streets while following “the rules” is quite difficult. Just an example: For me to remain an insured driver while having only a PO Box and a cell phone, and no legal street address, my auto insurance more than doubled. That this situation also affected my credit and ability to rent a room or an apartment was another huge – almost impossible – hurdle to clear. My car insurance was $75 a month, for a minimum insurance of $15,000 to $30,000, and now, no longer in that situation, I pay half that, for coverage that is more than twice my former policy.

Another example: I have a friend who was homeless. At the beginning of the pandemic, she got a job with a salary of $200,000 a year. But because of her credit rating, even with that salary, she couldn’t find a place to rent. She ended up living on a reservation in a tent on the edge of the Grand Canyon, and was able to do all her work by phone.

Reforms need to be made. Allowances need to be given for those who are struggling to return to a stable housed and employed “normal” life.

Realize that the unhoused statistics include 25% of children who are attached to either a single parent or a couple who have lost their housing due to unforeseen financial disasters. For the majority of lower-income families (taxed citizens), we are less than one paycheck from being on the streets. Once there, depression is common and leads to escapism such as alcohol and drug abuse.

At the Vashon Food Bank, I’m seeing more and more people coming to the Island to escape city homelessness.

To categorize a human being as a “taxpaying productive member of society” is by all logic crazy! While the billionaires escape from being tax-paying citizens, they leave the middle-class and laborers the burden of paying to resurrect the unhoused, as if they were dead.

Finding Solutions: Where to Start?

My feelings are that most larger institutions of government only support themselves on the interest created by the funding set aside for the unhoused, continuing the position to which they were appointed, in which they work to “solve” the dilemma.

Creating non-profit loan and credit firms that promote housing and jobs will enrich our society by creating tax revenues that build up society, creating cities that are safe without criminalizing those less fortunate. Without solutions, we as a society will fall, through every fault of our own. We need to be our own heroes, we need to be focused and not distracted by what is not truly important (video games, cell phones, YouTube, Facebook, and “big media influencers”).

Remember, Christmas should be a celebration of Christ’s ideals, all year long. “Love thy neighbor,” all year long, and not just at “Christmas time.”

Without the help of my friends Kim Nelson, Holly Tuttle, and our friend Lin, I’d probably still be struggling to find housing. Being a hero in your community may mean taking a chance, and helping those around you.

We have solutions on this Island that are being created, including Vashon Cohousing and Vashon Household.

January 8, 2024

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