Thursday, November 15, 2018

They're Not Homeless....Just Nomads

My city has a lot of homeless people.... they... I feel I shouldn't use that word "they" because
they are part of "us" of " we" that in my country...yes in my city.

I was musing last week about reframing the concept of homelessness.
Perhaps we may need to give up the traditional concept that "all" folks need a house in order to not be considered homeless. I mean....several ancient cultures were nomadic by nature and nobody dared call them homeless. They followed their livelihood...whether that was a gold rush or a herd of caribou or salmon run.

Maybe some folks are just not meant to set up a permanent residence. Maybe our government can set up ways that nomadic folks can still function with the benefits and credits that "housed" citizens have, and not be bound by the traditional strings of a permanent home address.

I had heard some years ago, that there was some kind of weekly welfare available to the "homeless" which folks could access even if they didn't have a regular housing situation. But I really don't know what the requirements were for that sort of income.

I notice that some of the nomadic folks who walk the streets of my city, are defiant and proud and  very precise about what they want from life.  They don't wanna sign any contracts....Now THAT I can relate to. They don't want to owe anybody. They also don't  trust the government....which also seems to work against them when they find that they need some special assistance that only the government is willing to provide. The levels of compassion amongst private citizens can change with the winds of trend...whereas the government is compelled by legislation to protect all citizens.

Many of the local nomads have a tight crew they run with. They know who they can trust even when they have no money. They know exactly where they can score free food without having to fake a "conversion" to some ideology. They know which shelters are safer than others. They know where
they can see a questions asked.

It seems to be bound up in our culture that folks need permanent housing to appear "legit" or even "respectable", But maybe that's just the real estate industry selling it's own hype. Is it perhaps that the "low or no cost" system that nomadic people observe just irks the folks that want to see us all paying more tax to big brother? Is it because we secretly resent those who manage to live more freely than we do?

Nomadic folks don't pay property taxes. Nobody collects property/income taxes from the man living under the bridge with the shopping cart. Nobody can charge rent to the young person sleeping on a public park bench.

But each and every one of these my nomadic countrymen/women was probably born in my country and has rights and privileges just like I do. They have a right to claim this land and all the ordained blessings of citizenship that we take for granted. Maybe it's time we stop punishing them with our contempt and give them some credit....for surviving the challenges they have faced and overcoming enough hardship to make it and survive through to another day.

Maybe we need a new virtual people group......"The Canadian Nomad."