Charity begins out of home
What if a charities were to close as often as businesses in these times of Covid? We often think of safeguarding livelihoods before thinking of safeguarding those who are there for us when all else fails, the shelters, the foodbanks, the animal rescue centres and projects and the charity shops themselves. There’s no bailout by governments to safeguard their futures that I’m aware of.
In these difficult times with rising unemployment, homelessness and poverty, foodbanks have become more commonplace than MacDonalds here in the UK. This year I have redoubled my efforts to help charities whenever I am able but recently even when it’s left me short of money to pay some bills including my mortgage. This despite personal experience of nearly being made homeless 10, 20 and 30 years ago. The first time folk rallied and someone kindly gave me a room, the second I was ill and the third time the benefits system mismanaged my claim to leave me without any income for weeks at a time over two years. It is lucky my health improved, knew enough about advocacy and have been a workaholic when able.
Art and creativity may well sustain souls and act as a therapy but unless you are successful it won’t feed, clothe or house you. So what need have we for art in all this chaos? Art always reflects our experiences through our life journey. It can be joyous, mirror our hopes and dreams, our success as well as our failings, regrets and most devastating events and losses.
For this reason I have called upon people to organise art exhibitions for homeless people. I am myself, attempting to find a venue to host one near me via some councillors and churches near me. The artworks are restricted to a maximum of 3 per artist. One for sale, one for auction and one to kick start another event perhaps as promotional posters or flyers. The proceeds would be to enable the homeless to wash themselves, their clothes, get fresh ones, eat and hopefully help provide other facilities that many of us home dwellers take for granted such as somewhere to store precious items safely.
While I have been an operations manager and led teams in the workplace, doing so with strangers has never worked out well for me. I just make myself unwell by over stretching myself, but I hope to encourage a mental health group to take this challenge on and maybe even get the homeless themselves involved if not schools too. Much depends on who I end up connecting with and who omg them enjoys organising events. We find what we seek if we have the right approach I find. I am by nature a private and shy person away from my internet persona. Here is where I share many of my inner thoughts.
My main priority for the homeless right now is to make it as bearable as possible because there are no quick fix solutions. Among them are ex military and medical staff, women and children, sufferers of abuse and the disabled and elderly not just drug addicts and alcoholics (though given their pasts and current existence I, at least, can understand such a course of action), but parents with their kids.
You become at risk of losing your home in as little as a month but certainly in three months of arrears. Rent often is more expensive than many a small mortgage yet benefits won’t help you pay it. If at risk you will need to act fast by contacting your creditors with a financial statement explaining what you can pay. Avoid credit cards and loan sharks and contact one of the numerous charities there to help from water authorities to energy suppliers, the citizens advice bureau to homeless charities themselves. I leave you with one of my poems from years ago. Feel free to copy it for your own exhibition to help a homeless charity, or use your art to raise funds for a charity you feel passionately about. Thank you. No one at all in the 21st century should be without a home or food.