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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Monday July 22nd 2024

‘Peace House Community Journal’ Archives

Peace House Community: To the Unsung Heroes

Peace House Community: To the Unsung Heroes

Marti Maltby. Photo: Courtesy the author. By MARTI MALTBY Today I attended the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ annual conference, and I got to see four people receive Unsung Heroes awards for work they have done to improve their communities. As you would guess, these individuals go about their volunteering quietly, but their dedication and concern has inspired others. I love the idea of unsung hero awards, because so much recognition goes to people who are already well known, or whose work is plain for all to see. With few exceptions, Nobel prizes, academy awards, and many other awards go to well-known individuals, while few “everyday people” are recognized or rewarded for what they do. I think that’s a shame, because so many people work so hard to maintain sanity and stability for themselves and those around them, without the advantages that the big names have. Yes, it would be fabulous if a scientist found the cure for cancer, but they would do that only if they [...]

Peace House Community Journal: A Special Thank You

Peace House Community Journal: A Special Thank You

By MARTI MALTBY From last November until mid-August, a homeless encampment occupied the vacant lots behind Peace House Community. Over the months various people came and went from the camp, bringing with them tents, bicycles, generators, and a host of other items. Many others stopped by during the day and the night, sometimes to say hi to friends or to drop off supplies, and sometimes for less socially acceptable behaviors. The camp presented various challenges for PHC. We do our best to serve homeless individuals, among others, and we want to reduce the stigma that goes with being homeless. However, we recognize that homelessness and criminal activity sometimes go together. The homeless are often the victims of the crimes, while at other times they are the ones breaking the laws. In the case of this encampment, every property on our block suffered vandalism, theft, threats, and in one case arson. Often our missing items turned up in the encampment. But many of the problems [...]

What’s in a Word?

What’s in a Word?

Peace House Community Journal Over the last few years, there has been a movement to stop using the word “homeless” to describe those who don’t have permanent housing. Phrases like “those with lived experience of homelessness” or “the unstably housed” have popped up to fill the void. Those advocating for the change intend to reduce the stigma attached to homelessness by highlighting the difference between the person on the one hand and the place where they sleep on the other. Although I like reducing the stigma around homelessness, I’m ambivalent about the words we use to talk about homelessness. Reducing stigma is great, but solving the problem rather than renaming it would be better. I’d rather see more focus on providing housing than on vocabulary. But having said that, the stigma that arises from the belief that homelessness results from bad choices and irresponsibility makes it more difficult to generate support for efforts to end homelessness. As long [...]

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