(Higher Perspective) In Madison, Wisconsin, the homeless population has grown by 7% in the last four years, rising to around 3,370. Occupy Madison, frustrated by lack of movement on behalf of city leaders opted to develop their own solution. It’s called Occupy Madison Inc. It’s a nonprofit organization, and their mission is to house the homeless.
Tiny Village, the name of their housing development, has 9 tiny homes, a permanent day resource center, safe places to sleep at night, as well as restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, a community gardening space; basically everything a chronically homeless person would need in order to function within the system. Their ribbon cutting event was November 15th, 2014.
From the organizers:
“Our approach to working within the system came only after we realized that without dotting every “i”, and crossing every “t”, the city and the county would never let us operate– they used every opportunity to enforce ordinances, regulations, and seemingly arbitrary whims against us. This paralleled precisely the persecution of everyday, unaffiliated, homeless individuals. When you are homeless, “the system” is rife with obstacles designed to prevent creative innovation or adaptation– we at Occupy Madison experienced the same headaches.
In many ways, we have had much more success since we changed our approach. This was due not only to how we communicated with city and county offices (we never shirked from being open or transparent), but how we are perceived by Madison’s genteel liberal population. It’s stunning how a flowerbed on a windowsill can be so much better for PR than the window itself, or the house it’s attached to.”
While some cities work to make it harder to be homeless by outlawing feeding the homeless or putting in homeless spikes to make sure they can’t sit, cities like Madison, and others around the nation, are taking the initiative to house the homeless. If the homeless have homes, their homelessness is solved. If the homeless can’t get food, then you have hunger and homelessness rolled into one.
One organizer called the homeless spikes a “disgusting…weak attempt to make even society’s most uninviting spaces, doorways, parks, etc- uninhabitable as well.”
“People don’t choose to sleep in the gutter. Physically preventing people from getting whatever rest they can will not help them in any way, and nor do they help society. It’s tempting to say that for every spike a municipality erects, they should provide a warm, safe, clean bed. But the truth is that we should be providing those beds anyway.”
Good work, Occupy Madison. We applaud your initiative.
Source: Higher Perspective