November 12, 2014

White Dog and The White Dog Army
Wonderful World Wednesday

White Dog and the others are familiar with the faces of homelessness. Each night during their pre-bed walks they encounter weary humans and their dogs pushing carts as they trudge along the dumpsters behind the restaurants and head toward the flea bag motels further down the way. Most offer a “pretty pup” or greeting as the WDA passes with Steve. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful,” they ask me when they return home, “if every creature had a warm bed and a home of their own?” Some of Steve's students live in their cars or worse. Steve has taken the suggestion of Taiko, once homeless himself, and now travels with packets of peanut crackers and cheese rounds to share with those in need that he encounters. It is not much but it is something that he knows will provide some nourishment.

Recently a 90-year old man made the news when he was arrested for feeding homeless people. Many communities have passed laws outlawing such acts of compassion and generosity. The WDA bristled at the horror making being in need a crime. They howled at the injustice of it and feared if we do not feed our fellow humans, what happens to those that are “only dogs” or “only cats?”

I have done my best to reassure them that the world still holds many who care and will continue to help. Most decent people believe that poverty is not a condition that should be punishable by death.There are hands reaching out and lifting up every day. People who refuse to ignore the forgotten ones.

THESE are the heroes, the ones who will make a difference and thus, change the world. People like the ones in the stories below. Let’s cheer on and applaud these two awesome efforts…

 A Free Mobile Laundry Service for the Homeless
7News Brisbane October 25, 2014, 5:43 pm
The Orange Sky mobile laundry is an ambitious project that's lifting spirits of those living on the streets of Brisbane. It's Australia's first mobile laundry service to give the homeless free access to washing and drying facilities.

The co-founders Lucas Patchett and Nic Marchesi say they hope to achieve three things.
"Restore respect, raise health standards and reduce strain on resources," said Lucas Patchett.
Inside the van there are two 10kg washers and dryers, which allow the team to get 20kg of washing done every hour. The co-founders have funded the van and a portable generator, while sponsors provided the machines.

Fraternity Works to Create ‘Tiny Home’ Village for Homeless Vets
by Good News Network - November 9, 2014
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – With hundreds of homeless people in Huntsville, many of them veterans, a group of young men are putting down the foundation to get more people off of the streets.
“Any veteran that’s living in the woods, there’s something wrong with that,” said Rusty Loiselle. He is CEO of Help Our Homeless Veterans and Civilians, an organization that advocates for the homeless community.

The men of Phi Kappa Psi at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) agree with Louiselle’s statement. They have created an initiative to create a tiny home village somewhere in Huntsville.
Taylor Reed, president of the colony at the university, say they were inspired after they came across a homeless man at a Sonic fast food restaurant. That encounter led to scheduled meals with members of the homeless community.

“Me and my brothers were like, ‘we want to do something about this,'” said Reed, and Foundations for Tomorrow was born.

The tiny houses are less than 500 square feet, with the accommodations of an efficiency apartment, and best of all — they are mobile. The Foundations for Tomorrow idea is a village with a communal feel: a shared garden that is maintained by the residents and a community center where they will eat together at least once a week.

“Get them out of cardboard boxes and into these tiny homes while they go through re-training and get the assistance they need,” said Loiselle. He says he pitched the concept to Huntsville administrators before to no avail, but says he is happy to see the effort gaining legs, regardless of who makes it happen.
The fraternity has had a presence on UAH’s campus for less than a year, but is already making its mark with the project. They currently have a tiny house model at a public housing conference in Mobile with the hopes of raising awareness and gaining support.
They really have thought of everything. “The Alabama Center for Sustainable Energy has offered to do solar panels on each of the houses, so it’s off the grid, it doesn’t cost the city anything, the energy is free,” said Reed.

The Foundation for Tomorrow tiny home model costs about $5000 a piece to build. The tiny house movement is currently being used nationwide for people trying to downsize and, often times, live off the grid.

Reed thinks the movement can be better applied. “Why not take this hobby, and use it for an actual need?” One acre of land would house 30 tiny homes. The fraternity members have combined their majors and the resources provided by Mind Gear Lab — created by a UAH alum — to bring the idea this far.

“The Housing Authority of Huntsville has shown different areas of land where this could work,” said Reed, “they said it’s a good idea, it can happen, they just can’t give us the land, we would have to acquire it on our own.” That’s where their website fund comes in. The fraternity members plan to build the homes themselves — with the help of the future resident — once they get the funds to make it happen, to reduce the costs in any way possible. “These tiny homes are a step towards nice solid housing, it’s a step up,” said Loiselle.


Pepsi the Lazy Bum said...

Yes, social media shows a lot of the bad and ugly people of the world, but there are also plenty of nice people out there who cares. It feels very little, because people generally do not focus on the positive side of things. They like to focus on the negative things, *and* blow it out of proportion.

There will always be good and bad. We must keep believing in the good, that the good will prevail. Or everyone will just be miserable and the world will wither.


Random Felines said...

we love BOTH of those ideas. we hadn't heard about the mobile laundry, but we have heard of the tiny house movement in several communities and we hope that the groups getting them off the ground continue to make strides to get them established....