a sense of place

P1020801There’s a lot of media attention right now about homeless people: sleeping in cars, vans and the usual ones who sleep under bushes, in railways stations and bus depots and god knows where else.

While there has been discussion via groups like Gimme Shelter  and the Coalition to End Homelessness the media has finally cottoned on to this problem and it’s all over the place. Which is good.

While there are some who want to live this way – due perhaps to addictions or a feeling that the street is their home there are many for whom this is not a preferred option.

There are many alternative options for housing and I think  those in power or with the money have a limited idea of what housing could be. I certainly witnessed a fantastic cooperative housing venture in Montevideo that was deeply impressive, and I still think that our idea of a house being a nuclear family based arrangement needs some rethinking. Especially when that house seems to require two bathrooms and three sitting rooms.

However what got me thinking as I drove over the Haywoods Hills near my house in almost zero visibility caused by torrential rain, was that we all need a sense of place.   A recent burst of images shared on the local Porirua online site has made me think more about this. Images evoke memories and a sense of belonging and people share their memories of growing up in this area. It’s important to belong. It’s important for our mental well-being to have a place to stand, and place we recognise as ours and in which we can stake a claim. Where people remember us, know us, know our family. Even if it’s not the place we were born , where we are now gives us a sense of connection.

And I think if you are living in van or a car you are not getting much sense of place or security and this will affect you for many years. Not only will your physical health suffer but your relationships with people may too. And that will affect the wider health of our community .


2 thoughts on “a sense of place

  1. So true – to the point! Well done CB!! And apparently one of the most important things the elder members of society need to have a happy old age is security of place – to know that they can be sure of the roof over their heads. So, as we all are humans, and we all get old and vulnerable, we can hopefully empathise with that need and try to persuade the government to treat housing as an essential need, not an investment choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bang on, a sense of belonging and place can provide more stability and mental fortitude than a lifetime of privilege or a wallet full of money…


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