also see: Homeless Awareness Month: Flashback to New Kingston's Displaced MSM
Regular readers would know by now I have been trying to cover some of the homeless MSM matters on the rock since 2008/9 and they have exploded once again in our faces with almost no immediate solution or interest from those who ought to be so yet with the urgency required. The informal response from community influentials or ordinary persons has been a constant for many years but not nearly enough to meet the challenges and psycho social issues that attend to someone who is told or forced to leave their homes/village/town due to hate and profiling of their sexuality.
also see from 2009: Insensitive parents & Displaced MSM
In 2011 I produced an audio entry asking the question and appealing to the minds of readers to open their homes to assist where so moved and to date there has been some limited response but the lack of the expertise to guide or intervene in such recovery efforts has led to many persons simply not wanting to do so anymore with some disastrous outcomes as well. Persons have had to actually evict the displacee that is being reached out to due to
2) non observance of the rules
3) inappropriate behaviour
4) abuse of the privilege
6) other illegal activities while housed
7) over consumption of food items in the home
8) breaking of curfews (if set)
9) parading causing unneeded eyes and scrutiny from neighbours
and the list goes on, although I have general counseling skills it is definitely not enough to sit and talk in an ad hoc fashion and a more formalized and structured set of interventions must come into play to address these issues once and for all. I cannot be just merely collecting incident reports from the men and doing interviews for LGBT crisis reporting and a few dollars and very little afterwards where the men simply fall back on hard times. I have seen too many regression cases after the fact of limited interventions by even formal NGOs. I am aware of JFLAG's rental/sharing stipend system that I had tweaked while I was there to make it more workable since there was little funding available for such an activity to go on for an extended period and such an avenue is only extended to serious cases these days but the vast majority of persons who are displaced have not reported their cases to any agency for that matter. They find individuals who they think they can trust mostly due to embarrassment so they withhold seeking redress.
Since this year I have opened my own home to assist three persons over a period with the last one reluctantly so as I sensed something was not right although he came quite innocently referred to me be another friend but ended up in the third week of this stay with one week to go allowing a stranger in my home for sexual reasons; and I happen to arrive and caught the act in play, so both men were evicted.
also see: Community based crisis sheltering is still an option for the displaced
For community based assisted sheltering to work for those who are willing to extend it there MUST be an accompanying support system to offer monitoring, counseling for both the sheltered and the donor, necessary financial assistance in the case of an advocacy agency's involvement. The old tokenism of just tin or canned items collection, second hand clothes and shoes disbursements and so on cannot do as those usually die down after a major crisis situation that is brought to the attention of many; then it's business as usual.
I hope persons do not shut the door altogether but choose wisely as best as possible persons who can be helped for such temporary arrangements. I have stopped for now as many others due to economic reasons as well, many are consolidating and becoming frugal in spending for that matter so the help is limited for some such as remote assistance by purchasing pre-cooked meals and delivering them to the persons are various safe spaces. Others do allow some limited visits to selected persons only to deposit them back unto the streets when the period ends.
Let us keep this avenue of help open, it has helped many for decades from the days of persons dying from AIDS related illness in the eighties to present. I remember well how I was helped by a dear friend some 17 years ago so I know all too well how it feels to be out of kilter and an outcast but I can't imagine the horror of being actually homeless or hungry for extended periods.
Think on these things.
Peace and tolerance