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Not Tonight! Where Does "HE" Go?

Updated: Dec 5, 2021

A missing link, in an already broken circle of houseless-ness; no shelter for men and their children. Three children and their father with no where to go. Without having access to a discretionary fund, easily available for front line workers to access after business hours, there is no emergency support for a man and his children. Prevention, from a social determinants of health lens, and as an early intervention strategy, means front line workers should have access to discretionary funds, to provide emergency support when required and no help is otherwise available. Having access to such a fund would reduce the harms associated with people's immediate displacement from housing in emergency situations. Last evening, I was connected by a POSSE youth peer outreach worker, to a family who found themselves without housing, when their temporary living situation fell apart. After calling 7 shelters; there was no place for this man and his 3 children. The womyn's shelters do not accept men. The men's shelters do not accept children. Nor did any one of these services have the ability to pay for a hotel room for even one night. Nor does my service. Last night, my colleague and I were frantic trying to beat the clock to find a bed somewhere, we kept coming up without a solution. Here we were trying to find supports, my co worker shared information, that I relayed, referring this family to Peoples Park and 24 hour support workers available and possibly winterized tents. Is this the best solution we have to offer? REALLY?! Meanwhile, I had seen he hasn't read my messages, we were connected over messenger. One service I contacted, provided the names of two male outreach workers he could possibly connect with in the morning. And, I haven't heard from him for hours. I don't know where they are. Are they warm and safe? Are the kids scared? Is this man safe? Is the person where-ever he left ok? Where is our humanity? Isn't it so, that everyone by the very breath in their lungs, and blood in their veins is worthy of care? My mind is flooded with questions, my heart sorrow, dismay over a system that fails to value people. I sit in worry and wondering; knowing he's just trying to figure out how to survive the night with his family kept safe. He will likely not make it to work.

So, what does it mean to be Human? We lost the "e", and morphed from humane beings to human beings. When did that happen? Humane carried an e, as in empathy, to remind us that empathy is a consciousness beyond the physiological drive of survival. Empathy moves us to help another, and fosters cooperation, communities of care. Where is our empathy, that a man and his child are denied a place to sleep in safety? Can we bring back the humane species please? I want the "e" back, so men and their children receive care too. I understand Gender Based Analysis. I understand the need for separate supports for womyn and children. Yet how can men be well and grow, if there isn't anywhere to care for them? Care is for every gender. Housing for everyone!

Hello Humans,

To be hu·mane /(h)yo͞oˈmān/ Learn to pronounce

adjective 1. having or showing compassion or benevolence. "a desire to ensure the humane treatment of others" Similar: compassionate, kind, non judgmental, kindhearted, considerate, understanding, empathetic, accepting, caring, open, good-natured, respect

Can we build communities of care by providing front line workers a discretionary fund, to respond to emergency situations in the moment? Help me, help others by advocating for localized discretionary funds, to front line support workers and supports accessible after hours. Crisis doesn't wait for the next business day. He deserves a place to call home. A hotel is a far cry from home, but a small price to pay to keep a family safe.

- Kimm Kent


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