Connect the Dots Blog

If you've spent even 10 minutes with me you know what a huge dog person I am. Friends, family members, former coworkers and even clients know the story of my beloved Baxter who I said goodbye to last March after 16 years. So it stands to reason I would be on top of dog rescues, right? Of course....but it got me thinking. Why isn't there the same thing for people?
A couple recent articles crystallize why my plan is so important to help the homeless. The first one is something you see and hear almost daily, the Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) crowd. However this time it became absurd. A local non-profit teamed with with City of Tulsa to use a former nursing home as a shelter for between 50 and 75 households who are on a waiting list for permanent housing.
There are reasons you see and hear about the need to build more housing for those experiencing homelessness, it’s easier to provide services to a group of people in the same location, hence the idea of transitional housing. We need to do more Scattered Housing. To do that we need to cover transportation needs. There’s a challenge though in having people spread all over town. It’s a problem, but one that has a simple answer; provide the transportation. It’s literally that simple….and it isn’t. Let me explain.
"Poverty porn"...I had never heard that term until earlier this month. A social worker mentioned the term when I was talking to them about highlighting specific individuals experiencing homelessness and how a people could help them. Later that day I looked up the meaning of that phrase. Here is Cy Alcala's definition from an Medium article a couple years ago... Poverty porn is a concept used to refer to sensational media content, typically using a voyeuristic, schadenfreude-style viewpoint when portraying poverty to generate controversy and traffic and it is exploited by filmmakers, advertisers, and others for profit.
In my career as a salesperson, I had a motto that went like this: "I don't sell anything, "I figure $*&% out." What I meant by that is I don't have all the answers, but I will go get whatever is needed. I was tenacious, persistent, and creative. That’s a hell of a combination. I call it my superpower.
Over the past two years, Americans from every part of the country have responded enthusiastically to the call to welcome Afghan families, Ukrainians displaced by war, and others fleeing persecution.
For a long time, I have wondered about individuals and organizations doing things for their particular causes. Did they really do it to help, or was it more driven to make them feel better about themselves?
It's an ugly word. Eviction is a brutal process for anyone who has had to suffer it. In one fell swoop, a tenant, who by definition, doesn’t own their place of residence, has everything ripped out from underneath of them. They come home to a locked door, usually losing their belongings in the process.
No two people experience homelessness the same way. Some have a mental health diagnosis; some do not. Some are living with addiction, others are not. Some spend each night in a shelter, while others sleep in doorways, cars, or encampments.
Most people have a cause they are passionate about. They want to get involved. They want to do more. I found my cause twenty-eight years ago. I saw this great Dennis Miller monologue that changed my perspective and started me on the path to my goal.
Every time there's a disaster somewhere in the world, the U.S. jumps into action to help. Whether it's refugees in Ukraine or the heartbreaking devastation out of Turkey and Syria with last week's earthquake, our military and private sectors join forces to help alleviate the suffering.
I attended a virtual public meeting today on "Housing and Homelessness in Oklahoma," where they discussed how to use Federal funds for local initiatives. A couple of things irritated the hell out of me…as often happens.