For Community Development -- Organically and with Heart.
1.“The poor in your midst are My trust. Guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.” Baha’u’llah
These homeless, or poor, are our “Trust”s upon whom we place confidence that they will take ownership of their own development into purposeful, contributing members of the greater community. We must “guard” or protect them in their progress by investing wisely in their success. Repurposing reclaims what which has been deemed of no further value, and discarded. It gives new purpose, reaffirming and developing it’s intrinsic value. This applies mutually to the homeless and the communities within which they dwell.
2- “The base of life is this mutual aid and helpfulness.... The more the world aspires to civilization, the more this important matter of cooperation becomes manifest.” ‘Abdu’l-Baha
This “helpfulness” and “aide” must be “mutual,” which goes to the very core of an evolving civilization. Infrastructure, “needed for the operation of a society, or enterprise,” goes beyond it’s physical components. Just like the body, the physical system of bone, nerves and muscle, seem to operate it, but they are dead without the spirit, or heart to animate it. Both the physical and spiritual components are necessary to animate an organic community.
3. “Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone reveal it’s treasures and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.” Baha’‘ullah
Maria Montessori presented her vision of “the developmental life of a human being as a sequence of (4) births. An earlier plane always prepares for the one that follows, forms it’s basis, and nurtures the energies, which urge the individual towards the succeeding periods of life. If the (individual) is allowed to unfold according to it’s natural development, and is provided with the right environment, he/she can offer his/her gifts to the rest of society.”
4.“Be not deceived... for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Christian Bible, Galations 6:7
With this component of logical consequences for their actions, positive & negative, woven into the repurposing process, the “homeless” would become better equipped to develop an empowering life-style. Privileges and rewards are earned by behaviors that demonstrate an evolving understanding of service, responsibility, obedience, initiative, and self-determination. These same privileges and rewards can be suspended, or revoked, as a result of their own actions, or lack thereof, as well.
Four Vital, Successive Needs
...in Human Development and Education to nurture the individual’s evolution from Self-Serving to Serving the Greater Community. If any level of housing,service,or contract is introduced prematurely, the Repurposing Homeless could be overloaded, and set up for failure.
1. The Most Fundamental Need is to Feel safe,secure,experience a loving environment and deep sense of well-being.
The homeless and volunteers would work together to assemble attractive “doll house” looking POD HOMES, just big enough for bedding, minimal storage and inside light for reading, A porch, porch light, and chair, support “neighborly” relationships, and a padlock secures their most basic belongings. These pod homes would be clustered around an established provider of food, clothing and sanitary facilities, together, forming a “neighborhood.”
Most importantly, they would, once contracted into these safe homes, no longer be “homeless.” They would be “residents” of the Repurposed Village. While single men, women and couples occupied these pods, a small place would be prepared within the walls of the facility with outside access and plumbing for families. All, but the very young, earn their homes by serving these providers and tending a common (container) garden. The children would be bussed to school and vetted child care would be provided, as needed.
2. Next, is to acquire Culture, Play Together, Share, be Obedient and improve Communication skills.
A basketball court, and other games & sports develop “teammanship.” Street Theater, Art & Craft skills are developed or nurtured that would add positive inter-active atmosphere in the community and replace pan-handling with earned appreciative donations from passers by. The dining hall of the central facility would make a good venue for “cultural” activities and presentations that could evoke their deeper experience with the arts. These could be provided by school thespians, orchestras and bands of all ages, as well as professional and non-professional volunteers.
3. Then to develop Intelligence, Creativity, Capacity and Useful Life Skills.
At this point, the resident is upgraded to an aPODment, in a “Zombie” (unclaimed, foreclosed) house that can be claimed by the local government through Eminent Domain, expressly for community service, such as this, and inexpensively remodeled by volunteers. These aPODments would have their own shower, toilet, sink, desk, closet and options for personalized decor. The common areas would be the TV, or “family,” room, kitchen and garden. Here they would learn practical skills of home & yard maintenance, cooking, shopping and money management. At this time they would be introduced into a part-time apprenticeship program through local business, and be given a reconditioned bicycle for their transportation. A small stipend would give them some discretionary income, to learn to manage, and they would still be earning their housing & services through equal time contracted for community work assignments. If that privilege is abused, they would revert to paying for a bus, from their personal funds, for transport. They would learn (or teach) computer skills, and earn a reconditioned (donated) desk-top computer to work on in their private space to gain their GED, and/or explore ways to advance their interests and marketable skills learned in their apprentice position.
4.And, Finally, Become Aware of and Develop Personal Talents, Formulating them into a Purposeful Life of Value and Service.
At this point, they could be progressed into full, but simple, Tiny Homes, which, again, could be built by volunteers including the repurposed. Depending on what is more available in the community, these could present in two forms;
If there is land, a Tiny House Village could be built. Or, if there is an apartment that is abandoned, or available, it could be easily remodeled into Tiny Apartments. Both would utilize donated and recycled materials, and RV parts. They would still provide a common garden, a “good neighbor’s” porch, or lounge, club house and self-governance, with oversight. They could be given counseling toward career and/or entrepreneurial services that are appropriate to the skills and interests developed thus far. “Work-study” scholarship could be donated by a local college. Centers for the Arts, could also donate tickets to performances and cultural events. And, again, if any foundational contractural agreements are breeched or abused, they could have any or all of these priviledges suspended or revoked.
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Thank you for your interest in being a part of organic community empowerment.
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