The following was written by Len Bundy from WonGeneration:
This message may be a bit long – it has to do with a very emotional and complicated issue but I truly believe, and our organization truly believes, now is the needed time for the dialogue. And dialogue is what is needed to come up with workable, long-lasting solutions.
The issue most people will immediately jump on is “homelessness” but there is a deeper issue and one we all need to consider. The issue at the heart of the matter is, “How do we care for others?”
Why do I say this? Because how we “care” about all members of society will determine how society will respond. Don’t believe me? Do a little research into what leads people toward mass violence, what leads people to abuse, to bully, etc. If a community wants healthy families, then the community needs to recognize the challenges families face and address them with workable solutions.
Please note I am raising this in a direction which points not at government. While I believe there is a role for the government (city, county, state, etc.) to play, if it is left to government only, no truly workable solution will arise because for a community to heal, grow, improve, overcome, etc. It requires the majority of the community to be involved in some manner.
Recently the topic of homelessness or, more specifically, the topic of homeless individuals creating uncomfortable, unprofitable, difficult and/or dangerous situations have had considerable amount of comments on the pages of social media. And while it is important to note that what gets posted doesn’t necessarily represent a majority or even a complete view from the community, it does reflect something which needs to be addressed. People have tossed out documentaries, web pages, articles, programs, etc., which address some degree of the issue but what does this truly move our community toward?
There truly is a conversation which needs to be held; actually, an ongoing conversation which in turn leads toward workable solutions. Those “solutions” will undoubtedly create situations which need to be addressed and in turn processes will need to change. In other words, this will need to be a work in process. And to be honest, if this process is to work it can’t be only focused on one segment of the community, but all segments. Why? Because this isn’t just trying to address a symptom (homelessness, addictions, violence, suicide) but underlying causes of all of these.
If you have read this far, thank you. I have phrased the above because what no one wants to discuss is the reality that one event could impact their family and suddenly any of the issues crop up: a family member who is physically/sexually abused and their escape (while not sharing what happened) is to find serenity with drugs or alcohol; or a middle-aged person who loses their mid-management job due to “downsizing” and suddenly they find they can’t get employed anywhere. Well-hidden depression overwhelms an individual to the point they end their life to avoid the pain, leaving a family in chaos and despair. I have personally witnessed individuals in every one of these situations and more which lead to a person’s poverty and extreme brokenness.
Were these situations preventable? The greater question is, would you want to gamble with your own family?
I truly believe there are some “out of the box” ideas to either be vocalized and/or created if people who are in fact concerned for their community and the future for their families and are willing to get involved now. Who understand the need for care and building up and where enabling prevents growth. A solution which involves the current non-profits, the business community, the municipalities, and most importantly, the community members.
So all of this is really an invitation. An invitation to a civil discussion which I believe can lead in a great direction. How do we truly care, truly love well and – as every parent knows – that isn’t always about giving someone what they are asking for but looking toward true need.
Interested? Feel free to email me. I’m trying to see how much interest we have so I can find a location to host this within the next three weeks or so.
Len Bundy is president/founder of WonGeneration. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.