Down, But Not Out

An introspective examination of the tragedy of homelessness in the richest society ever to exist on Earth

Homelessness is not an accident. Homelessness is not a problem. Homelessness is a political agenda. Why else would there be so many homeless people in the richest country that ever existed on the face of this planet.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Homeless women. A digital conversation.

Helen wrote:

Thanks so much for the reply. I only have written one blog so far, under the name - one thoughtful woman at word Yes, I have seen your blog: it is great. Geoff, is a local friend, so we chat and see each other regularly, so I am very blessed. He is like a new family member. He is such a wonderful giving, loving person. He has taught me a lot about photography, and you should hear his organ playing too. No worries about the group. I just wanted you to have the award. I can see what you mean about group rules. I have joined so many, I'm thinking of slimming it down; it can get quite complicated. Sorry, to hear of your illness and hope you are on the recovery road now and about your own friends. You really are on the cutting edge of this subject. Not enough is done in our country about the ever growing problem of addictions. Alcohol is too easily available here and there are just not enough specialist clinics that can help. Homelessness in the C21st is a disgrace for any nation and a cause you could enlighten me further on for a project I am going to undertake for flick next year. More about that later. Take care for now, My very best wishes, Helen.

My reply:

Thanks for writing Helen. I am always happy to help where I can. Just ask.

Addiction and homelessness are often confused as synonymous, mainly because one will often, but not necessarily, follow the other. They are two completely separate symptoms of a single disease.

We take so much pride in being a classless society when ironically our capitalist system is bases on the clearly defined classes.

The upper class, which controls everything it can and constantly seeks more power to dictate how everyone should conduct their lives.

The middle class, which has grown so large and so prosperous, that the upper class now sees it as a threat.

And at the bottom of the scale, the ever expanding lower class, which in terms of per capita share of available resources, is getting poorer and poorer as the world gets richer and richer.

This class system uses economic slavery to maintain its integrity. The upper class hoards the lion’s share of resources and directs world functions on both the macro and micro levels. The middle class is used a lieutenants to carry out the policies set by the masters in return for an elevated level of existence. The lower class provides most of the labor in return for a subsistence level of existence.

What has kept the system functioning is the illusion that upward mobility in relation to class status is possible.

Historically, there has been a large gap between the upper and middle classes, with a narrow and often blurred gap between the middle and lower classes, but there has been a shift resulting in a narrow and blurred gap between the upper and middle classes and an ever widening gap between the middle and lower classes.

Therein lays the current problem. As the middle class moves inexorably towards achieving upper class status our society is evolving into a two class system with an unbreachable gap between them.

This shift has resulted in a clash of momentous proportions. The upper class, in order to maintain its power must crush the middle class assault on its lofty position. As the clash between the mighty few and the slightly weaker, but far more numerous interlopers develops, the lower class rapidly becomes a casualty of war. The walking wounded of this clash are the addicts and homeless. All hope has been rescinded and they have become dehumanized to the point where even fellow members of the lower class despise them.

You might say that addicts come from all classes, and so they do, but the underlying causes of the addiction shift when the addiction comes from the higher levels of society. Instead of desperation and escapism as is prevalent in the lower class, debauchery and irresponsibility are the main roads to addiction among the wealthy.

I fear that the class struggle will lead to ever increasing levels of violence unless radical changes are made soon. People without hope have nothing to lose and anger will escalate to rage on an ever increasing level. That is why I work so hard to make people understand.

If we don’t change the system, we are surely destined to follow in the footsteps of all the previous empires in history. Western civilization will collapse inward upon itself and self destruct. The enemy is not out there. It is within.

Helen’s reply: Hi Ronzig, What an amazing and incredibly intelligent reply. Both my husband and I read this and printed it. We can't dispute anything you have said here. I believe that with ever increasing expectation and the need and desire to do better, have more, celebrity status and even with pop idol and fame shows, more and more people want the good life now, better, faster, more, which breeds resentment and discontentment when "they" realize that not everybody can be famous or rich. You are right the middle classes strive to get into the chosen set and step on anybody/thing that gets in the way. The ruthlessness of the work place is one such example. Obviously we don't subscribe to these things. People compare themselves all the time to the next and depression is at its highest levels in the Uk as people aspire to "higher things" only to still feel the emptiness that is in their lives. Relationship breakdown, overwork, stress and burn out ,also I believe could fuel addictions to some extent. We are burying my friend tomorrow -see my first and only blog so far who died from alcohol and prescription pain killer abuse. He was 48. He was not homeless but lived with his mother. His father died of cancer 16 yrs ago aged 59. We knew he probably took these substances to ease his pain of loneliness and the frustrations of his own life. I would be specifically interested to know about women and homelessness; as this is going to be a focus point next year as part of my project. Do woman become homeless for different reasons and are there less woman out there on the streets compared to men? Do they receive more sympathy and attention? Would someone stop and talk to a homeless woman and offer money/help but walk away from a man who might seem more of a threat? Thank you so much for your incredibly rich and intelligent discussion. I would love to hear more and say a very big thank you for this information, Very Best Wishes, Helen.

My reply:

Hi Helen

I have personal experience with the dissatisfaction you speak of.

In 1978 I was on welfare and behind in my rent, at the very edge of homelessness. I got my real estate license and in less than 10 years I was a millionaire with 100 people working for me. To get there, I worked 14 and sometimes 18 hours a day, 7 days a week without a single day off. I became a slave to money and I was not at all happy. When I went bankrupt as a result of my addiction to crack, instead of feeling bad about my loss, I was relieved.

What followed was a rapid decline into homelessness, but I have to tell you, during my 10 homeless years I WAS HAPPY. I learned that the goal of financial advancement which society worships so intently is a trap which can only lead to despair.

Regarding your questions about homeless women, my friend Spirited Away will be visiting me Saturday and I’ll ask her opinions on your inquiry.

From my own experience, I can tell you that there are far fewer homeless women living rough as they call it. (meaning on the streets rather than in shelters) And I suspect there are fewer homeless women in general. I perceive two possible reasons for this.

1) It is far more dangerous for a woman out there. They are more likely to be raped or brutalized than men.

2) Sex. A woman is more able to find a member of the opposite sex to support her in exchange for sexual comforts and she is more likely to be able to support herself through prostitution. As distasteful as it is, a woman has more options than a man at that level of existence.

I’ll have more to tell you after I see my friend.

I am saving these digital conversations to post on my blog and I suggest you do the same. They are definitely revealing insights that people should be aware of.

Hi Helen.

I spoke with my friend about your questions and she will give the matter some thought. she has acute agoraphobia and has a great deal of difficulty expressing her deepest feelings and I suspect the subject is so close to home for her that she is having difficulty responding. Also, I have put a great deal of responsibility on her of late, so I'm sure you will understand her hesitance to make a rapid reply. I'm SURE THAT SHE WILL RESPOND ONCE SHE HAS TIME TO ABSORB THE QUESTION AND GIVE IT SOME THOUGHT.

She is homeless and a very caring and loving person with a marvelous talent for expressing raw emotion through her photography. You can see her work here......

I had a gallery showing of my work yesterday and invited her to show her work with mine as a joint show. I printed and framed a selection of her work for the show


Everybody loved her work and she sold TWO of her photos. I sold NONE.

Joe Fiorito, a reporter friend from the Toronto Star did a long interview with her and I'm sure he will say wonderful things about her in his column.

She usually panics when people approach her, but there was no panic yesterday. SHE WAS WONDERFUL. She spoke with the people who came to the show, most of whom were total strangers to her, without a trace of panic AND she was obviously having a wonderful; time.

So, the show was A TOTAL SUCCESS.

I can't seem to find your blog again. Please send me the link one more time as I thought I had bookmarked it, but apparently not.

God bless.


I found the link