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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Sunday June 23rd 2024

‘Peace House Community Journal’ Archives

PCH: What Did You Just Say?

PCH: What Did You Just Say?

By MARTI MALTBY Part of the Peace House Community Journal Marti Maltby Recently, a discussion about bathrooms at Peace House Community took a strange turn. I and several community members were talking about the problem we have with individuals camping out in the bathrooms. We have two bathrooms and we serve about 120 members a day, so we need everyone to get in and out quickly. The discussion migrated to the lack of public bathrooms in general. One of the members said that, in all of downtown Minneapolis, the only bathrooms that homeless individuals can easily access are at the library and the hospital. All the other buildings and stores prevent non-customers from using their facilities. There are undoubtedly a variety of reasons behind this, from prejudice to drug use to the inconvenience of cleaning up after someone tries to take a shower in a sink.As we discussed the situation, someone said, “Yeah, there are just a few people who ruin it for the rest of us.” She meant [...]

PHC: The Absurd Society

PHC: The Absurd Society

By MARTI MALTBY Marti Maltby This morning, one of Peace House Community’s members stopped by to say hi. He hadn’t been here for a few months, and I was glad to see him. When I asked how he was doing, he smiled, said, “I’m doing alright”, and held up his hands to show me that all his fingers had been amputated this winter because of frostbite. I expressed sorrow at his situation, but he continued smiling and said, “Oh, you know how it is being homeless. This happens. But I’ve learned how to sign my name. I can use a fork now.” After a few more minutes of chatting he left to get on with his day, and I came back inside to try to make sense of what I had just seen and heard.Every winter, people lose anything from their fingers to their lives because one of the richest states in the richest country in the world can’t figure out how to pay for proper housing. We’re more comfortable watching some people suffer so that others can live luxurious lives than we are with [...]

Peace House Community: June ’23

Peace House Community: June ’23

Which is Worse: A Viper, a Cobra, or an Adder? By MARTI MALTBY Marti Maltby Decades ago, I heard my supervisor speaking with a friend about their respective marital troubles. They had very different challenges in their marriages, but they understood each other’s struggles. Being young, single, and stupid, I made some naïve comment that was meant to be helpful. My supervisor laughed at my ignorance and commented, “When it comes to our wives, it’s a question of whether you want to face a viper, a cobra, or an adder.” (Sorry for the implied sexism of that story. If I had a female supervisor, I’m sure it would have been a choice between a jackass, a mule, or a donkey.)My supervisor’s comment keeps coming back to me when I recognize a situation with no “good” options, just options that hopefully are less harmful than others. One such situation came up at the April City Council meeting when the City reported that it has spent between $5.5 and $7.5 million since [...]

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