Friday, April 16, 2010

Housing "crazy junks"

In a truly civilised society, it is expected that we look after the sick, the destitute. This is often motivated by faith, faith in a deity, in humanity or faith that help will be there when lady luck hands you a bad hand.

For people who suffer from long term psychiatric conditions, just living like everyone else cannot be taken for granted. They need support in order to maintain their place in a society that all too often is averse and anxious when they are around. When such people are both "crazies and junks", they are treated like toxic waste.

Such people are often housed separately; when you consider them criminals, they go to jail, when you consider them sick, they go to a hospital, when you consider them addicts, they go for a detox. The sad truth is that many "crazy  junks" do not fit in such a standard framework, they often end up living rough or in jail. They are feared by society, by their family and are left without much of a social framework.

Statistics have it that everyone can end up in such a state. It is the worst nightmare for an individual, his/her family and for society. In Utrecht experience learns that such people are not beyond help; they do not need to live rough as they get to a stage where they accept shelter; a roof over their head, a place that is theirs.

In my town Almere, in my backyard, they are planning such a hostel. A hostel for people "with a double indication". It will be the first of the many needed to provide care for all such people that live in my town. I have two options, I can  get involved and help the hostel be safely embedded in my neighbourhood, or I can be opposed and try to prevent my fellow Almerians from finding a safe haven in what is their town as well.

I prefer to be part of a solution. I became part of a group of people who  oversee the preparations, the future exploitation and procedures. This group consist of local government, police, experts and neighbours. You can imagine that my choice is not appreciated by everyone. I hope and expect that when the hostel exists for a few years that most people will have forgotten the current controversy.
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