What I want you to know about homelessness is that even those of us that chose it didn't feel like we had much of a choice.
That many of us need far more than just a home, but support, counselling, acceptance, someone who loves us just the way we are.
That it has its perks: answering to nobody, good panhandling days.
And it's terrifying. Every. Single. Day.
It stinks, literally. That bench you're sleeping on got pissed on last night.
What I want you to know about homelessness is that takes many forms. It can be a tent in the woods or a series of friends couches or emergency shelters or the back of a truck.
That when you're homeless, meeting your basic needs can be an arduous task. Finding a place to sleep, food to eat, even a place to pee, is complicated.
What I want you to know about homelessness is that sometimes we don't have any bootstraps left to pull ourselves up by.
That we may have burnt bridges, squandered opportunities, learned destructive patterns of behaviour. But that's not who we are. We are all so much more than the mistakes that we've made.
What I want you to know about homelessness is that it can happen to you. I know soccer moms and church elders and youth group leaders who encountered addiction or mental illness or family breakdowns and lost everything.
What I want you to know is that the opposite of homelessness is NOT just having a place to live. The opposite of homelessness is relationship, community, friendship, support, and justice.
I want you to know that friends don't let friends sleep on park benches. And neighbours don't let neighbours move into their car. That when we build community we are doing a small and precious part to reduce homelessness.
What I want you to know about homelessness is that you have the power to change it. In the million small ways you interact with your culture every day and sow seeds and affirm or challenge assumptions. In a million ways everyday we can send the message that every life matters, that nobody should have to sleep on piss stained concrete, that community is a part of the human design.
You can do small things with great love and make a difference.