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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Reader's Diary #2031- Julia Christensen: No Home in Homeland

Add it to the list of things most Southerners don't realize about the North: there is a huge problem with homelessness here. This tends to shock people as they have no idea how anyone could survive our temperatures without a roof over their head. The sad truth is, many don't.

It's a complex issue with no easy solutions and Julia Christensen does an admirable job identifying the issues and providing much provocative thought around the context and necessary truths that must be faced before we all move forward. Perhaps the biggest takeaway for me was the idea of homelessness as compared to houselessness. It is the latter that we often mean, but when we consider the cultural damage of colonialism, it widens to an even more severe concept of homelessness. Of course, homelessness and houselessness are dangerously intertwined.

Another very important point stressed by Christensen is the contradiction to the idea that homelessness in the North is a Yellowknife/Inuvik problem when it is often the lack of supports and resources in the smaller communities that push or pull people to the larger centers.

Sometimes I'll admit that the book was overwhelming. It was especially difficult to read about the lack of second (or additional) chances. Once someone is down it seems frightfully, near on impossible, to get back up. Fortunately, Christensen was able to share examples of some that did overcome it all and these are inspiring to say the least.

The book is dense though and at times repetitive, reading like a thesis which introduces an idea, am exploration of that idea, and then a summary of that idea. I do wish there was a plain language version of the book as I fear many of those of whom the book is about would find it inaccessible.

1 comment:

Sam Sattler said...

It's an important subject John, one I wish someone could solve or at least alleviate because it seems to be getting worse all the time. Seldom does a week go by here in Houston that I don't run into a homeless person on the streets or in some parking lot as I make my way to one place or another. I can USUALLY tell when someone is truly lost and out, and I've bought many a meal for them, but that's just a bandage on a wound that needs stitches. This doesn't sound like the book for me because of it's style, but zi hope it does a little bit of good anyway.