There were 200 people at the Campus Life Program on Homelessness at Furman University on Wednesday April 2nd. Students. Professors. Homeless and formerly homeless persons. Professionals in the field. Citizens. Some knew a lot about homelessness. Some didn’t. The most oft heard expression that night was “I didn’t know that!” When the event was over, most said they were made much more aware of the issue. That raises an interesting question. Does awareness create change? A long-time acquaintance of mine has a saying…”awareness doesn’t change things; only change changes things.” I’ve thought about that a good bit and must agree to a point. Change yes but to what? I think awareness allows current methods to be evaluated and new ideas to emerge so that when change happens it changes with intent.
But change is more than just being aware of what is being done and what can be done differently. The underpinning of change always involves value. We change to be better—better being a value judgment and an ethic. So the question that faces us as a community is why should we change our approach to homelessness? For me it is a relatively simple answer that reflects my values…no one in this nation should live without the basics of life. No one. I think that is also a value of our nation. A rather ugly example of that is the state provides food, shelter, clothing, health care, sanitary conditions, access to literature, news and family even to those it plans to execute. So why haven’t we ended homelessness?
We would like to keep the conversation going with you. Your ideas, participation and support would be greatly appreciated. If you are not already on our mailing list, I urge you to join. We’ll keep you updated on all the issues related to homelessness in our area. Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Media coverage of “A Conversation with Homelessness” is available on our UHC in the News page.
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