This writing is paved with challenges calling for REFORM

You may not like what I write here.  I know what I have experienced.  I see what others have done.  I think I know how to begin!

Where to start?   What does SLEEPING ROUGH mean?

I cannot say I saved 50% of my income [as some can], but I can say I paid less than 25% of my net income for housing for times when I needed to.

There were times where I could live unsheltered.  This is not really attractive, but it can be done.  It is not a long-term solution, but it does have an impact on keeping money for your planned purposes, of which education or housing need to be a part.  Yes this approach is a coordinated action to follow your plan, from shelter to open nights and back to renting or couch surfing, aimed at putting money away to follow your savings plan.

I have used the term sleeping rough rather than ‘homeless’.  Homelessness cannot be artificially contrived.  It must come about from real need and real deprivation.  I have had a choice most of the time.  Not all but most of the time.  It was a choice that I made.  Sleeping rough is real and available.  I have deep empathy for those who do not have this choice.

There were times when I needed to sleep unsheltered.  I have seen folks who have no place else to be, without roofs or doors.  They are constantly seeking an empty space where they can lie down with their bundle.  The cause is perhaps an inability to work or earn an income, perhaps due to a disability or illness.  I felt by the choices I made; set aside, set apart by the perceptions of others.  You are seen as an un-clean person, poor and thus looked down upon, not to be trusted.  A person from somewhere else, a stranger!  This is the result of a self-focused society, with very little empathy for an alternative thought.

One summer when I was 17, I met a fellow hitchhiker who was 5 years older than myself.  He told me he was saving his money from summer jobs so he did not have a student loan when he finished his first level of training, this training would then pay his way through college.  He had a financial plan so he could go to college.  Then save for a house.  He chose to sleep without a roof or a door, paying as little as he could.  His diet was as simple.  During the Canadian winter months he used a camper with an electric heater that was mounted on a truck that was not driven during the winter.  When the temperatures got harsh he couch surfed.  Though I could not face such a routine then, I learned from his example.  I thought it was radical and possible.  I would try it.  I hope it has worked as well for him as it has worked for me.

I am thankful for being endowed with the capacity I have for working.  Some folks who are financially abundant and unique may look down on me.  I am thankful that work nourishes me as I strive from day to day to take up unheeded tasks.  Each task is an opportunity for money management and possible Social Reform.

One task on this journey, is this concept of sleeping rough:

– on the ground under a bridge

– on the ground on cardboard under a tarp

– on a couch

– on a rope bed in a log cabin [no services]

– on a cot in a chicken house which I cleaned myself [whitewashed]

– in a van during the winter next to a 24 hr service center

– in a tent under someone’s house

This totals more than five years.   I could then include living in a holiday trailer next to a barn with three others to add another year.  Perhaps work trades for rent could add another 7 years of reduced rental expense. Then there is the driving of 20 year old vehicles to keep insurance costs down and initial expenses low.  I could also add a few more years, when building a home off the grid is considered.

There is even a limited upside to this experience, 90% out of doors compared to the reverse where most folks live.  I had fresh air, sun and Nature, more time away from electronics, less time exposed to artificial light and perhaps a better sleep pattern.  There was an opportunity to meet new folks along the way.

One day when Stephan my friend and I were to meet and discuss the idea of sheltered shelter, we thought that we knew something about pain and the Nelson housing crisis. We put their heads and pennies together.  Thus Cottonwood Creek Community was created from our experiences, frugal living and private funds.  We each could realize our destiny and meet others who were walking along their individual paths.  Other folks of like-mindedness would come and help to build a shelter with us, with the continuing goal to help reduce suffering and anxiety.

Before hand Steph. and I each had the forethought to create a savings plan that allowed 25% or less of our net income to be spent on accommodation and thus the building of the construction targeted nest egg.  We studied, gained insight and understanding on how to create a ‘Living’ living space.  From the Soil a garden arose.  From the Rocks buildings arose.  We garden as we breathe, with deep caring.  The resulting community is the result of loving action by many.  We, and all the Residents have created a privately funded [community credit union supported] low cost accommodation system.  This IS social Reform! In our dominant technological society, lack of the care for people has taken over.  Our culture has lost the view of the divine nature of our earth and it’s people.

I can say that inspired thinking and action is possible.  WE HAVE DONE WHAT IS POSSIBLE!  From 1990 to 2023 = 33 YEARS!

Thank you to all.                  Barrow   December, 2019

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