So in the aftermath of the homeless MSMs second civil disobedience on August 23 and 24, 2011 at the locations of the two oldest organizations that serve or are supposed to serve this grouping who by the way now are equipped with a canine security team on the property to supposedly stop the “savages” from entering the plantation in an almost apartheid type of elitism right before our eyes news comes of more men who have sex with men who are struggling with finding a stable roof and income after falling on difficult times. Also of interest is the security detail that is on call 24 hours a day as well is still in place. The three new displacement cases are not all homophobic in origin but still makes us question who or why are we seeing so many new cases with the existing homeless populations some of whom are banned still from Jamaica AIDS Support for Life and JFLAG offices as no formal release has come to suggest same has been lifted.
Permit me to just briefly touch on the circumstances that prevail with each case whilst thanking the persons who responded to taking them into their homes (in the case of those who were fortunate) and that audio post (see top of blog a soundcloud embedded link) where I asked if persons would do same? One brother lost his job and fell on hard times as his home on the other end of the island where he resided was destroyed by fire earlier this year he has been struggling ever since to recoup his losses and find employment. Thankfully he has been given a short stay at a friend’s house in Kingston while he actively seeks employment, we only hope he doesn’t jeopardize that kindness as we have seen in previous cases with other brothers who land in the same predicament. He had made contact with the J on the issue but has not received any positive word on any interventions yet. A special thanks to the member of the Underlined Response who also provided some temporary shelter as he was limited so to do but the young man was grateful just the same as he was able to rest and at least temporarily ease his mind. Since the original post on GLBTQJA on Blogger he has removed from that temporary stay to a flat and a new job after much toil and some assistance from friends including myself which is good news.
Brother number two also has lost his job but has not been so lucky in getting a short stay at best as he has been bouncing here and there in the public domain. He too also has been having some difficulty securing a steady income and a roof since he had to leave the last place he rented among other things, these circumstances also are echoed in the case of the third person from this post. Both men are struggling but some of us who are concerned are limited or restricted and either do not have the accommodation to temporarily assist or are too scared to do so after being bitten with bad experiences before in the name of assistance. The former is my reason as I have moved from my old address in Kingston where I have helped persons before by providing overnight stays and a shower and so on where I could, unfortunately the landlord wanted the place for his family or so he said at the time.
Many of the other youngings from the older population of homeless persons (some from as far back as 2009) who were involved in that infamous civil disobedience actions against the Jamaica AIDS Support and JFLAG have been getting by but just that and with the position of the Crisis Intervention Officer has been made vacant as she has left for Amsterdam under what some say is the regular use of the underground railroad system to seek asylum there maybe further ignoring or aloofness by JFLAG towards the men. New kid on the block the Underlined Response has been trying with a short term tin drive for canned items and clothing etc plus some fund raising from their recent Pride Fest event but that is far cry from what is really needed, whilst there has been complaints that the funds raised have not been handed over as yet, some of us do contribute money where possible. We need some sort of transitional housing interventions going. Again we have to bring to book the stewardship of the two aforementioned agencies that are the oldest in terms of formal outreach setups for same gender loving people yet as the oldest they have not been setting a proper example in this regard and towards this population when we knew from as early as 2007/8 of the increasing numbers of men who have sex with men tittering from displacement to homelessness and back again, especially from that private party DVD that went public and sold nationwide. After 13 years in existence being formed out of JASL in December 1998 JFLAG was set up to not only deal with the buggery law and other legal matters with a hotline that has been defunct for more than ten years but also the frontline services that its parent could not do as it primary focus was HIV/AIDS in the mainstream but not limited to that. Bear in mind that Jamaica AIDS Support for Life JASL was founded mostly by gay men in the heyday of the AIDS epidemic in 1991, seven years later came JFLAG out of GLABCOM (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Community) which was an interface activity for Jamaica AIDS Support for Life’s targeted interventions strategy but with no real advocacy autonomy at the time to act as it was purely centered around HIV issues but the other problems were encroaching hence the other J’s formation.
If this is all we have to show from our once highly respected, trusted and vigilant advocacy structures after so many years then we are going nowhere it seems, are they suffering from burn out? but we need to do our own bit in our various quarters and build if ever so slowly, we cannot continue in this modern day and age with no radical front-line support services inclusive of psycho social interventions chief among them a resident social worker and psychologists to guide these men to the road to recovery.
Other suggestions from my standpoint include:
- Help out where you can
- Tell someone who you think that can assist
- Talk to someone who falls in this category, sometimes a kind word does wonders
- Contact new movements such as the Underlined Response firstname.lastname@example.org
- Make contact here via email@example.com
- Start a donations drive or donate where possible to reputable persons and the UR
- Donate via the Paypal buttons on this blog or on Gay Jamaica Watch
We are going to have to start dealing with these issues ourselves as clearly the representatives are not interested in helping lives interrupted.
more posts to review
From the pen of one of our homeless brothers ……..
Peace and tolerance