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Non Duplicated Services: Homeless Sheltering for single women without addictions or children

There are many shelters in our area which will help homeless pregnant women or women with dependent children. HOWEVER there are few (I think one) that will help a woman without children unless they have an addiction and none that will accept a woman with her pet. This is a serious gap in services.

A widely growing trait of homeless people after they have lost everything is an extreme attachment to their pet or pets, often dogs. These comfort animals are the last thing they have and provide companionship and a feeling of better safety. Often the woman will choose to sleep on the street with their pet rather than be alone in a shelter. This is not just “I like my pet”: this is a serious psychological dependency on the pet and separation results in serious anxiety. And it is becoming more common.

Shelters refuse pets because some children are afraid of animals and sometimes pets make messes. While some shelters will allow pets with a doctor’s letter documenting the need, getting medical certification of this need apparently takes several visits (at a cost) to the homeless person, so they will actually go months without shelter.

This is unacceptable. While talking about this situation with staff at a local shelter last week, we agreed there is a need for shelters who will accept women who are not pregnant, addicted, or with dependent children with their comfort animal.

I am interested in talking with 1) other social local agencies and 2) philanthropists who would like to help solve this problem. My daytime office phone Tuesday through Friday 11:00-4:00 is 260.432.0014 extension 128.

John D. Nash, CEO
Adult Life Training, Inc.

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Thoughts on Poverty

Picture of Poverty in Chicago, IL USA

Two youths in uptown, Chicago, Illinois, a neighborhood of poor white southerners.

Like diabetes, it is unlikely that poverty will ever be cured, because there is simply too much money to be made in treating it.

My experience helping people overcome poverty stretches back to Sherman Street in South Bend in 1991 up until the present in Fort Wayne, where I volunteer full time without pay to mentor those most vulnerable out of poverty and into the main stream of US life as self supporting citizens.

Reflection on patterns through those many years has produced some thoughts on the actual nature and causes of poverty, its perpetuation, and a model for effective treatment based upon things that I have learned to do that seem to be effective.

As I develop those thoughts I will add to this post.

The Market is Always Right

The biggest folly I am seeing in people and in business is concentrating on irrelevant things while failing to change important things so we are effective again.

I recently read an article in Bloomberg, for example, about how Coke, a major brand, is concerned that sales are dropping as people become more concerned about the effects of food they eat on their health. Coke’s focus then is on changing the size of the bottle and changing advertising, or buying competing brands, instead of changing their product so it is healthy. Would it kill them to use real sugar instead of the (cheaper) Type II Diabetes inducing Corn Sweetener?

Another current example is Microsoft with their Windows 8 product. They made the Windows 8 like a cell phone interface instead of a desktop interface. This works when a person is only consuming media on mobile devices but is extremely frustrating to use for real work on a desktop. Canonical went through this identical faux pas two years before Microsoft came out with Windows 8 — they removed the hierarchical menu and used only icons and a search box instead. The result was customers fleeing in droves — Ubuntu had been the #1 Linux distro, and a new distro (MINT Linux) was formed to take the #1 slot as Canonical fell to #2. But Microsoft did not learn from this and leave in a clear hierarchical menu but repeated Canonical’s error. Ask yourself how Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Surface Tablet sales are performing: then ask yourself if you would redesign a successful product to look and act like products rejected by the market.

People do this also, concentrating on how to prevent the loss of public assistance handouts instead of focusing on building their hard and soft work skills to be capable of supporting themselves.

It is all about continuing to do what we are comfortable with instead of adapting to accommodate the market. And the market is always right.