We encourage the homeless to take responsibility as individuals and as a community. We would like to see a reduction in crime and to discourage unseemly behavior (sleeping, swearing, spitting, pan handling, etc.) near Pioneer Park and The Gateway/Rio Grande.
Many of these people are extremely vulnerable and can’t stand up for themselves. Some of them are children. The issues need to be contained and controlled so that the weak ones are protected from harm. We are not a service organization, but we can help people get in touch with the right people or organization.
We realize that "homelessness" is a complex problem, and we think that together we can make individual situations better by degrees. We work together with law enforcement and service organizations using existing resources available to people in need.
We need to have realistic plans based on individual problems. The unfortunate fact is that some members of the society do not want anything to change. Fear based behavior is common among this group since their issues are localized and visible
We want residents to take better care of themselves and each other. We want them to be able to take pride in their community as they reach out to one another. They need to have a voice in their community. We think we can help them get that voice.
We agree that negative internal and external perception (an example is the term "homeless") is the main problem. In order for people to do better, they need to feel better about themselves and their situation. They need hope in order to try.
The “top down” approach has been used to deal with the homeless problem in recent years. We at Salt Lake Marching and Chowder Club believe that throwing more resources and money at the problem is only exacerbating the situation. Our goal is to help the community heal from the bottom up.
There have been many different types of visitors from politicians and police officers to artists and students in attendance at club meetings. Most importantly, we have first-hand input from people in the homeless community
Meet our team!
THE COMMUNITY VOICE:
Was a bimonthly publication which was by and for the Rio Grande Homeless Community . This newsletter was supported by The Salt Lake Marching and Chowder Club and edited by Gloria Red Bear.
An ode to panhandlers
by John Shannon, retired MD
Our sturdy passerby emerges with a Starbucks $2 coffee, he pauses for a moment of benevolent giving of $1 to our hapless panhandler, receiving in return that fuzzy feeling of true benevolence.
Thus for a mere $3 our valiant passerby has begun his foray into this mad, mad world fully equipped.
But, alas, our passerby's $1 has also done damage to the feeling of self worth, of the feeling of being something, not an invisible nothing, experienced by our panhandler,
who through no fault of his has been laid low in this great culture of plenty.
Let us observe the effect of, in the course of this particular day, 9 repeats of the exchange of $1 for that great feeling of benevolence. With each exchange the soul of the panhandler has shriveled until it is a desiccated mess.
But wait, let us follow the money, as they say. Our panhandler with the badly shrunken ego now places the $10 down on the counter and with a somewhat stern tone says " Make that a hamburger, medium rare, all the fixings and fries." At that moment in time, all has changed. Our brave new panhandler is in command. He has issued an order. He has made things happen. In short,he is empowered. The slate has been wiped clean. His ego and his self worth have returned to a steady state. For that moment, all is well with world.
Would anyone gainsay our reader if he should, from these humble notes, conclude that what Salt Lake City needs is more panhandlers not fewer?
Salt Lake Marching and Chowder Club
Street Tai Chi
Salt Lake City Public Library
210 East 400 South
Salt Lake City, Utah
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