One of the articles in Reclaiming Politics (IC#30)
Originally published in Fall/Winter 1991 on page 9
Copyright (c)1991, 1996 by Context Institute

How can we deal with frustration and inadequacy in responding to people who don’t have a home?

Here’s a way: The Giraffe Gazette, newsletter of a national project fostering volunteerism, reports one woman who has sheltered more than 10,000 homeless people since 1941 when a person in need came to her door. Dorothy Mackey of Wooster, Ohio is now 81. She still takes care of virtually all the homeless people in her town of 21,000.

Another approach: A New Jersey team has developed a role-playing exercise about homelessness. Designed for group participation (40-300), this simulation game is a chance to gain experiential understanding of the situations homeless people confront in their search for shelter. Roles include city and county officials, shelter and food bank workers, taxi drivers, landlords, and homeless people whose particular plight is spelled out in detail. Participants report greatly improved understanding of the issues involved.

For expertise on volunteering, write the Giraffe Project, PO Box 759, Langley, WA 98260. For information on the homelessness game, write Dr. Cheryl Keen, The Governor’s School of New Jersey at Monmouth College, West Long Branch, NJ, 07764.

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