Conflict With Hydras
I'm not claiming I have all the answers. Hell, I'm not claiming I have any answers. If I did, I wouldn't be in this mess, the kids wouldn't have missed days of school, and the Beast wouldn't be using my psyche as a diner. All I can do is keep talking about the things I've seen and done, and the few ideas that pop into my head and hope someone smarter than me (and there are many) than help me think of something effective.
What I have learned is that there are no hard and fast answers to the homelessness problem, because the problem itself isn't hard and fast. Although there are relatively few ways to become homeless, there are many more ways that it lingers and defies innovative solutions. Multiply that by the proclivities of the local authorites and citizenry and the problem suddenly becomes a many-headed hydra*.
What works great in Greensboro may not be so hot for Ogden, Utah. A wildly successful program in Dallas maybe won't fly in Seattle. A world-reknowned jobs-and-housing program in New York might go over like a lead balloon in Phoenix.
I think the important part is that at least there are people of good will and keen intellect trying to do something, even if their efforts are separated by distance and even ideology. The key may be for these people** to get together somewhere, set aside any suppositions and partisan leanings and just brainstorm the problem into nonexistence.
So what's my Big Idea? Well, I guess until a better idea comes along, this is it. I've been told in many quarteres to just keep writing. I'm smart enough to do that, so I will. And my ego isn't so big I won't pass along good suggestions when I come across them. On a smaller scale of the example above, what doesn't work for me may be just what Kevin Barbieux needs. Or maybe something he comes across doesn't sit well with him, but it's a solution that Zanzibar Jose in Miami can find useful.
In addition, I've been invited to take part in several projects here in Greensboro that may help out some of the other homeless around town. Can't talk about them yet, but as soon as I'm at liberty to, you'll see it here. May be a kernel of an idea someone else can take and run with.
*The Hydra was, of course, the multi-headed monster Hercules fought that grew two heads for each one the hero knocked off. Hercules' sidekick, Hyleaeus, had to apply fire to each stump Hercules created, and then the main head, which was immortal, had to be buried under a huge rock. Must've been a helluva fight.
**I mean citizens, not politicians. Sadly, all too many politicians of both stripes, presented with the opportunity to help their fellow man, often degenerate into a game of "what's in it for me?" naturally, any solutions that come after that get cheapened.