Money

monoploy
We’ve been thinking a bit about money.

Seeing Urban Seed is a not for profit, money is always an interesting topic.  When it comes to to talking, thinking about and even asking for money we are not that good at it.  Partly because it’s not what we often view as important or that matters. But without money we would not be able to do the things that we do.  We don’t make money, we rely on the generous support of people to fund all that we do at Urban Seed.

In a recent conversation with a colleague we decided that money was a bit like blood and water.  Perhaps money is similar to water and blood in that is ‘vital’.  For without money one cannot live…  But more importantly maybe money is like blood and water in the way that it works to sustain life.  If our blood did not circulate we would not survive.  If water stays still it grows stagnant.  Blood and water must keep moving.

Maybe money is also like blood in the way that blood moves to where it is most needed in the body.  It rushes to the parts of the body that need healing, flooding the broken hurt bits with the goodness needed to heal.  Maybe we need to let our money circulate and move in this same way to the hurt and broken bits that need healing in the world?

The challenge for us then is how and what we do with our money.  How do we keep our money moving so that it remains vital?  And maybe just maybe by doing so we ourselves may become more healthy.

And so audaciously I will now ask if you can move your money to the work of Urban Seed so that we can continue to help the hurting and broken heal.

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Are we going to see homeless people?

One of the things we do at Urban Seed is run city walks where talk about homelessness and the work Urban Seed does.
Something we often get asked is, are we going to ‘see’ homeless people?”  This is always an interesting question.

Firstly how do we know what a homeless person looks like? Secondly if you could always tell what they looked like, would it be a good idea to go and look for them?    

We also regularly get requests to hear from people who are homeless themselves and have them share their stories in person on our walks, which sometimes does happen.

For us this is really tricky territory to navigate.

The power of story to us at Urban Seed is core to who we are. We believe that we can learn more from a story than from facts & figures.  This is because when we hear a story we engage with it and it moves us emotionally.  Hearing a story about someone’s life from the person themselves is truly powerfully.  It has the ability to allow us to get to know the person and understand complex issues more.  Therefore helping to breakdown stereotyping and  judging.

But having said that we also need to be careful how we honour and tell those stories.  Because of the impact and power in a story we need to be careful that we don’t just ‘use’ the person so as to tell a good story.

For us at Urban Seed we exist to honour and be with those have been marginalised and ignored from wider society.  Part of this means we get to hear stories about people lives that are sad, powerful, moving and beautiful.  Graciously many of these people are willing to have their stories shared by us on a walk.  And sometimes they are happy to be there to share their stories in person.  We tread a fine line between allowing those who want to share their story a space to do so, and exploitation of that person for the sake of a good story.  At Urban Seed we want to honour  and repsect the most vulnerable first.  

And so it is for this reason, that more often than not, we do not always have homeless people come on our walks or there to share their own stories.  Rather we advocate on their behalf.

 

The Innovation of Loneliness

What is the connection between Social Networks and Being Lonely?
Inspired and Based on the wonderful book by Sherry Turkle – Alone Together.
Also Based on Dr. Yair Amichai-Hamburgers hebrew article -The Invention of Being Lonely.

In the Public Eye:: Anthony

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FPkXDhddAZk
In the Public Eye: personal stories of homelessness and fines

Anthony became homeless in his late 20s. He slept rough and couch surfed for about two years and he got about $3000 in fines for travelling on public transport without a ticket, having his feet on the train seat and possessing an open container of liquor. Anthony now feels hopeful about his future. He is in recovery, has stable housing and is looking forward to returning to work or study.

There are over 22,000 people who are homeless in Victoria. These people are living in temporary accommodation, staying in refuges, sleeping in their cars, paying over $200 per week for a bed in a rooming house, couch surfing and, for 1,092 people, sleeping on the streets.

People who are homeless are (1) more likely to get fines because they are forced to carry out their private lives in public places; and (2) less likely to be able to address the fines through payment or navigating the complex legal system.

The current fines system in Victoria does not address the underlying causes of a person’s offending. Instead it issues financial penalties that people can’t pay and increases the strain they’re already under.

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Join the call 

In the Public Eye

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eS8aoLoLqPU
Pilch (a Melbourne based law firm offering pro-bono legal services to disadvantaged) has launched a new campaign:
In the Public Eye, personal stories of homelessness and fines.

Through a series of videos telling the stories of homeless people living in the public eye and the risk of being targeted by officers giving fines. They call for greater insight from the people who give fines. They ask the very sensible question: what’s the point of fining people who clearly can’t pay?

Take action and join the call.