Although I have since discontinued engaging in activism and advocacy (save for continuing to focus on access to public restrooms and related matters for a few more months or so), in case you missed it and it is of interest, I just stumbled upon this commentary of mine that is in the legislative record concerning attitudes regarding people living houseless (i.e., unhoused aka homeless), fyi:
Also available online to access and read without the need to download the PDF (via Google Drive):
For those who might be reluctant to click links for whatever reason, here is the text of the commentary:
Forsaken and Forgotten:
People Living Unhoused Deserve Better
by Morgan W. Brown
It is obviously apparent to this observer that, except for those times
when they become much more visible within public view than is
socially acceptable as well as widely desired by those who appear to
mainly have only their own financial or other self interests in mind,
people living unhoused (aka living homeless) have essentially been
forsaken and forgotten by both government and society in general;
cast away and left adrift, to simply rot and perish, as if they were
If this seems like a rather harsh rebuke, the fact is that the experience
as well as reality endured by people living unhoused is actually much
harsher, particularly when coupled with deliberate difference, not to
mention outright scorn (read: contempt), on an ongoing basis.
Until I became permanently housed again in mid-August of 2009 (after
twelve lengthy as well as extremely grueling years living without
permanent housing during the last go around), homelessness was
something I experienced in one form or another, off and on, more or
less over nearly a 36-year period.
Despite these countless experiences, I was never able to get very good
at coping with living homeless. It always took a lot out of me when
living without permanent, safe, warm, dry shelter.
By the way, for those who might have assumed otherwise, although
recreational camping might usually be a rather enjoyable experience,
when one has nowhere else to live, having to camp out in the rough
with few — if any — available resources, it is quite an entirely different
matter. I know.
There have been many times when these experiences, or something
that happened to me during them, have made me feel utterly
defeated, helpless, hopeless and worthless.
If it were not for all the support and assistance received, especially
when it was most needed, things would certainly have become much
worse for me than had already happened to be the case however.
The fact is that homelessness can happen to most anyone, at any
time, for a variety of reasons.
To my way of thinking, our society was built on the premise that it is
better to share with others than it is to dictate and hold something
over them. This is what I understand the Vermont motto, Freedom and
Unity, to mean anyway.
Based on personal experience, along with my observations of others
over the years as well, I remain convinced that it is extremely crucial
to provide hope, opportunity, shelter, support and services to people
when they need such assistance.
It is as crucial, however, to do this in a manner that does not force a
person or family to choose between having access to these or having
to give up certain freedoms and responsibilities – along with the
independence and self-respect that goes with them – that people who
are housed may take for granted, yet still prize for themselves as well.
Rather than attempting to manage, control or coerce people in ways
that we may want to believe is for their own good, our efforts are best
served when they are positively focused. This provides people with a
better working role model for building faith and trust in themselves
and between others.
No matter why or how many times or ways a person or family is in
need, everyone deserves to be believed in and offered the assistance
they may seek and require toward helping themselves meet their
In this way, people are not only helped toward becoming housed
again, but they are more easily and freely encouraged to learn or
enhance skills, strengths and abilities of their own that anyone needs
to be independent members of the community.
Time and time again, I have seen that what can make a difference in
the circumstances and well being of a person or family who is either
living homeless or at risk of becoming homeless is when they receive
quality contact, support, encouragement, services and shelter when
Our communities will be enriched and strengthened when each
individual and family living within them has permanent, safe, decent
and affordable housing, along with the other usual and basic needed
opportunities as well as resources, from which to thrive and grow.
Morgan W. Brown had previously lived houseless (aka homeless) off and on over a period of numerous years in many of its various forms since his initial experience with homelessness at the age of seventeen. He currently resides, permanently housed, within Central Vermont.