What I Came For

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I stared out over the land in a demolished rapture, too tired to even rise and walk to my tent, watching the sky darken. Above me, the moon rose bright, and below me, far in the distance, the lights in the towns of Inyokern and Ridgecrest twinkled on. The silence was tremendous. The absence felt like a weight. This is what I came for, I thought. This is what I got.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

  • Pacific Crest Trail: Website and Twitter

Believe What You Want

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“Believe what you want,” she said, turning away and heading for the stairs. But that was impossible and Greta knew it. You could try to believe what you wanted, but it never worked. Your brain and your heart decided what you were going to believe and that was that. Whether you liked it or not.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Indiana: Minimum Wage Needed for Rent

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#40 Indiana

In Indiana, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $789. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities — without paying more than 30% of income on housing — a household must earn $2,629 monthly or $31,550 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into
an hourly Housing Wage of: $15.17

Out of Reach 2017, National Low Housing Coalition (NLIHC)

Homelessness and Health Care

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Although the tipping point is often the loss of a job, sickness or injury often precede it. Sickness and injuries make holding a job difficult, which leads to income declining and homelessness for those without a safety net. Due to the mostly employer-based health insurance coverage system in the U.S., no job means no health insurance. The combination of unemployment and poor health can then lead to financial ruin. Nerdwallet estimated that 57.1 percent of U.S. personal bankruptcies are due to medical bills, making it the leading cause of the financial calamity that often precedes homelessness.

We can learn from how one doctor addressed hunger, another so-called health-related social issue or “social determinant of health.” Decades ago, Jack Geiger founded the first federally funded community-health center in the U.S. There, he began giving impoverished patients prescriptions for food using its pharmacy funds. Nervous about this practice, federal officials tried to stop him, but Geiger responded, “The last time we looked in the book, the specific therapy for malnutrition was food.”

The specific therapy for homelessness and its associated health issues is housing.

How Health and Homelessness are Connected—Medically: This doctor examines the web of medical conditions that lead to and compound homelessness, and vice versa, The Atlantic, 01/25/2016, written by Seiji Hayashi

Moral Compass

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Maria grounded me in my history and my present. Have you ever met someone who was just good? Who, when you came across complicated moral questions, was programmed into your phone as “certain virtue”? This was Maria, exactly.

Holding Still For As Long As Possible by Zoe Whittall

This novel won the Lambda Literary Award: Transgender. A review can be seen HERE. More award winners can be found on the Amazon.com  Lambda Literary Award: Transgender listing.

Mist Lifting

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“She felt as if a mist had been lifted from her eyes, enabling her to took upon and comprehend the significance of life, that monster made up of beauty and brutality.”

The Awakening and Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin

Devilishly Wicked Specimen

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“…pull myself together for a while and think—try to determine what character of a woman I am; for, candidly, I don’t know. By all the codes which I am acquainted with, I am a devilishly wicked specimen of the sex. But some way I can’t convince myself that I am. I must think about it.”

The Awakening and Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin

Poverty Appropriation and the Faux Poor

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Poverty Survivor (White) Tee Shirt

WildRaccoonPress on Zazzle.com

Updated with quotes and reposted. Please read the full article (linked below) and share widely. This topic needs to be acknowledged and discussed.

This background, this essential part of who I am, makes it particularly difficult to stomach the latest trend in “simple” living — people moving into tiny homes and trailers. How many folks, I wonder, who have engaged in the Tiny House Movement have ever actually lived in a tiny, mobile place? Because what those who can afford homes call “living light,” poor folks call “gratitude for what we’ve got.”

And it’s not just the Tiny House Movement that incites my discontent. From dumpster diving to trailer-themed bars to haute cuisine in the form of poor-household staples, it’s become trendy for those with money to appropriate the poverty lifestyle — and it troubles me for one simple reason. Choice.

This idea of “returning” to a “simple life” is one I struggle with. After all, there aren’t any glossy photos of the Palo Verde Mobile Home Park where I grew up, enticing people to live more simply and own less furniture as a means to becoming happier…Such appropriation isn’t limited to the Tiny House trend, or even to the idea of simplicity. In major cities, people who come from high-income backgrounds flock to bars and restaurants that both appropriate, and mock, low-income communities.

The drop-offs were happening at a white anarchist collective filled with people who were choosing not to participate in the system of capitalism.

And I couldn’t help but think: that must be nice. To have that choice.

The Troubling Trendiness Of Poverty Appropriation, The Establishment, July Westhale, November 23 2015.

Seattle is Lumping All its Homeless Children Into One School

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Just plain wrong on so many levels.

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For all of the homeless shelters in metropolitan Seattle, the assigned elementary school is Lowell Elementary, up on Capitol Hill….Absolutely no one likes it there, it seems. Students report violence, bullying, and apathetic staff. And the staff claims they aren’t adequately supported to take care of students with special needs….With more training and a dedicated mental health staff, perhaps this school could be a light for students. But as it is, funneling the city’s growing population of homeless youth into one inadequate school is simply harmful.

Seattle is Lumping All its Homeless Children Into One School, LET’s Blog! ON LITERACY, EDUCATION, AND TECHNOLOGY by Mandy

Wisconsin: Minimum Wage Needed for Rent

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#31 Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $838. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities — without paying more than 30% of income on housing — a household must earn $2,792 monthly or $33,501 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into an hourly Housing Wage of: $16.11 

Out of Reach 2017, National Low Housing Coalition (NLIHC)