They are unhoused neighbors, but they are not the enemy. Frances is a kind and compassionate veteran who is here in Vancouver with her family, Keaton and Tessie. They are strong, capable, and loving people who are just going through some rough circumstances as they get relocated here from a worse environment. We had a seriously great time getting to know these folks. They are working hard nights canning to keep gas in the vehicle and make ends meet, while they work through the appointments during the day that will bring them closer to housing stability. And then during the day they try to find a few hours of sleep in a shady spot to escape the summer heat wave and be ready to work again in the cooler nights. We asked them how everyone including the dog was doing with this heat lately, and they said mostly fine except for “this one lady” who is a nearby resident and comes over to the park to harass them and regularly threatens to call the police while they try to get some rest in the heat of the afternoon. They all try to take her threats with a shrug of their shoulder as they share the story, but it obviously bothers Frances. It bothers her that after she served this country, she is now being put into danger by normal people who are just assuming they are up to no good, when they are just trying to find a quiet shady spot to rest before they have to go back to work in the evenings.
We pay attention to Facebook, NextDoor and other apps where a lot of concerned people share their opinions and bullying comments and we want to say, "People, please STOP being afraid and judgemental!" If you are concerned about parks, parking lots, trash cans and what people are doing in them. Have some compassionate curiosity and go speak to these people as neighbors. Don’t just go and take pictures of the worst of it and then put your assumptions and accusations out there to feed into negativity against everyone. Give people the possible good credit they deserve before you pass judgement on the circumstances. It could be possible that while you are thinking that you are helping the community, in reality you could be harassing a military veteran and her family. Our neighbors and veterans deserve a better response when they are working on navigating the limited options they have in hard times. We all are a part of creating that community as we engage each other in our shared spaces. We can choose to say hello or how can I help instead of giving menacing looks or threats. We can choose to do better for everyone, including Frances and her family.
~ Adam & Ren
You can help unhoused neighbors re-connect! Donating for a specific person or project or even a small recurring donation can help us continue to make these connections and support local unhoused resident projects and outreach.
Facing Homelessness Vancouver WA is a program of Outsiders Inn. Outsiders Inn is a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and can provide receipts for tax purposes.
original post here.