Buddhist Action Month 2016

Exeter Triratna get informed about Homelessness for BAM 13th June

On Mon, 27 June, 2016 - 13:23
vidyadasi's picture
vidyadasi

The venue where our sangha gathers is on a street that sees many of Exeter’s ‘street homeless’, and sangha members wanted to know  - what is the wise and compassionate response? So for the theme ‘connecting communities’ we had a talk by Brett Sentence from the charity Julian House - “Julian House works for a just society where socially excluded people are supported and empowered to build sustainable, independent lives.”  Could Brett give us a simple answer? “No!” he said regretfully, “it can be very complex. But I would ask you not to give money, that just perpetuates the situation. Give food, drinks by all means. And do please report someone you meet to us so that we can keep up with who is out there and needing help.  But the most valuable thing you can do is just have a normal conversation. Street homeless people get so isolated from simple, everyday communication.”   Then last week we had 3 members of our sangha talking about the positive work they do with local communities, which included homeless and vulnerable adults with addictions. “Many people DO recover from addiction. Many people we’ve worked with talk about a sort of ‘awakening’ moment, from when they turn it all around.”  Very inspiring, very moving. Vidyadasi

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Responses

Christine's picture

Wonderful, thank you for sharing this. Isn’t it ironic how the simplest things are often the best. While I make the effort to engage with homeless people on the streets, and acknowledge our shared humanity, I’d not thought about the effect that ”everyday conversations” could have. In this case, such communication can address the isolation  which undoubtedly affects their mental state and capacity to change, or take charge, or whatever.