Mar 18, 2021
2 mins read
For two years I did an ethnographic study of a homeless village in Eugene Oregon. In point of fact, it was because I ended up homeless and landed there after working for room and board on a farm for awhile.
I have an extensive background in rough living and community building and the Homeless Village my daughter and I came to live in was like none of them. There were government politics and programs involved. Charitable donations to be tampered with and people from every walk of life, most there due to making more bad choices than good ones.
I didn't fit in, which is why I turned it in to a study. What better way to figure out what works and what doesn't than to live in it?
The insight I gained living there was worth every act of dehumanization committed against me from the minute I stepped foot in that village. Putting personal growth to the side though, I also got a close up view of how government and non-profit programs meant to help people are broken.
When I was a librarian I remember how some of the policies set by the board seemed ridiculous to us. This was largely due to the fact that they were put in place by people who had never stepped foot in our library let alone had any idea how our circulations, reserves or holds systems worked. It feels the same with the homeless issue. When was the last time a homeless person was actively involved in putting together any programs or even asked how they feel about the ones in place? Better yet, when was the last time one was taken seriously?
Other than to be a face to smile a toothless grin and read from the provided cards and play monkey for someones agenda to get more donations to misappropriate, what function do the actual homeless serve? Truth is, not all of them are ready to contribute to making things better since they feel they are doing pretty well with keeping things just as they are. Just as they are isn't working.
I have a perspective that needs to be heard. I have data and ideas to share and the Round Peg Project is where I do it. The name is a nod to the website where I've begun to put the information together; https://roundpeginasquareonevillage.weebly.com/
Please feel free to help out with comments, likes, ideas, suggestions and criticisms, everything helps, everything is appreciated.