Jun 11, 2011

The Supply-Side Poverty Paradigm in Santa Clara County and Beyond

Part 3

Prior to leaving Washington (in 1983), neither my first nor my last time working on social, urban and public-policy issues by the way at the Congressional level, there was a change of heart. Many of the individuals who came there to bleed for America's permanent underclass, as opposed to coming up with some realistic proposals and solutions, helped to put together something with teeth before we left, that we could present to the politicians.

Initially, many of them wondered whether or not I had inadvertently joined the wrong discussion group - I sounded very conservative to them, at first. But soon, they felt that I made sense, and asked me to speak for the group.


It is our hope, at HOP, that some of our bleeding hearts in the Valley will eventually recognize that they will have to do the same in The Valley, engage in introspection. Let me put it another way, 'stop enabling the able-bodied outdoor citizens, would you please'? Many of our outdoor citizens need to feel the kind of pain that will shock their sensibilities, and hopefully, spring them back into action, so that they can jump start their lives. Pain, can be a powerful motivator for positive social change, and to reverse lethargy and inaction.

Given the number of individuals that are unhoused in the area and living on someone elses's floor... given all of the manpower and resources that have been expended and distributed, wouldn't you say at some point, that what has successfully worked before, is simply not working today? The crisis is worsening, and the Republican House has already proposed to role HUD Funding for example, back to 2007 levels, as a starting point.

It is time for disruption, and a change from the old ways of doing things to take place. For example, when outdoor citizens come to you and beg for handouts, either on the streets or at your agency: “Tell Them WhereTo Go", in other words where you send your money to in order to assist them and where they can be held accountable and put into recovery programs. Explain to them that a organization with skilled personnel will help them to get going again. Whatever you do, stop supporting begging and dependency, you are reinforcing bad habits, which will only result in re-enforcing long-term chronic dependency. Again, tell them where to go 'to meet your money', in order to get help!

Jesus believed and taught individuals to be responsible. It seems to me that some of the faith-based groups, agencies, and recipients of all of the public's and their congregation's largess in this area, are intent upon doing just the opposite. Many of them are busily maintaining the "we will take care of you status quo”. Let me give you an example. The outdoor citizens get everything for free in this area, to the extent that other outdoor citizens travel to this area from other parts of the state and the nation,because they have heard 'just how sweet it is in Santa Clara County'.

Even, San Franciscans travel down the peninsula (to the Southbay) in order to get what they can no longer get in San Francisco. Our current Lieutenant Governor, Gaven Newsome, when he was mayor of San Francisco, recommended that Bay Area cities, work together in order to deal with this cross-pollinating phenomenon.Outdoor Citizens from as far away as San Diego... come here to take care of the area's largess, which impacts already limited resources.

From all across the nation they come, knowing that if you can make it to the Bay Area's shores, that you will be taken care of, shortly, after you arrive. And even though I admire the spirit of giving in this area, I was even helped when my fortunes turned, however, with this caveat: I immediately engaged in a personal recovery plan.

My plan worked for me, and now I am teaching other outdoor citizens how a well thought out recovery plan can work for them.

However, many of the helping organizations in this area neither understand when they are doing too much without a return on their investment, nor when the able mind and bodied outdoor citizens are not doing enough to help themselves
Many of our outdoor citizens have not sat down to consider or to construct a recovery plan for themselves yet, and some of their professional and semi-professional helpers don't seem to mind! And having said that, what they are doing is contributing to cultural dependency and social anomie. Outdoor citizens, ought to be required to take action steps themselves before receiving more than the very basic help.

And afterward, when they are helped, benchmarks need to be set, with targets in mind, accompanied with frequent compliance reviews. Otherwise, permit the ones who refuse to do anything, to experience The Pain Station. Let them know up front that help will be measured, and it will be cut off in time. The by-product of all of the, 'we will solve your problems for you', that too many of our chronic outdoor are experiencing, some for a decade or more, is that many of our outdoor citizens have remained right where they were long before I, and others like me, got involved in the fight.

While being supported without condition, many outdoor citizens who lost jobs, homes, apartments ... did so before the most recent recession, and some before the recession in this region in 2001. Has there been any accountability? What happened, given all of the resources that have been expended over the past 3 years alone. I can't see any results. We can blame what has transpired on the the economy ... however, that is not the whole story.

Reliance on a free-handout economy, with the expectation of a guaranteed job is the problem. It is time for a new way of thinking and reckoning to be put into action - consider HOP's model. Sadly, I can't seem to get some faith-based groups to understand that not even Jesus, continued his 'miracle healing feeding crusade', once he realized that his program enabled individuals (who were merely following him in order to obtain fish food, and other miracles).

At HOP, the Think Tank and Advocacy organization, one that is comprised of current and former outdoor citizens mind you - we are teaching a new paradigm. Hopefully, others will get on board and try something new for a change. One HOP member proposed a slogan 2-days ago that will be incorporated, with regard to street and other beggars, and it is: REFUSE TO GIVE CHANGE TO PEOPLE WHO REFUSE TO CHANGE. This slogan compliments, the new TELL THEM WHERE TO GO slogan that we came up with!

In other words, don't give any more money to anyone on the streets, or at the expressway exits.

Instead, give the money to responsible and ethical organizations; and at the same time tell the beggar where to go where he can be helped, supervised, monitored and given a helping hand (if he or she will do what they are told in order to help themselves. Giving on the streets ... have only buttressed begging and the lack of accountability, but more importantly, the lack of effort and change in the lives of beggars.

We know some things that some don't know, because we've been there. Many of our team members are already working to turn their lives around - instead of being dependent on a system that doesn't work to help individuals to get up and to get going again, sadly. During my last person-to-person meeting with late Congressman Augustus Hawkins of the 21st district in Los Angeles when in Washington DC and before he passed on - he told me something. He said, you can actually do more back at home by working with the ones who are in need in the community, than you can get down here in Washington DC …”

Many other Representatives in Washington, for example late Representative John Seiberling of Ohio ... echoed the same sentiment and shared similar advice. Practically every Representative that I spoke with, admitted that Washington was in gridlock. Representative Conyers from Michigan, once explained to a group of us in DC, that a certain bill that he tried to get on the floor for 25 years, was never permitted to come to the floor, out of committee ... for a vote. Washington, as most Americans already know, has been deadlocked - well that is unless you are an organization that owns one or more of the 300,000 or more registered (mostly corporate) lobbyists in this nation (who will do your bidding for you), then you will likely get you what you want.

Is it any wonder that many of the residents in the District of Columbia refer to it as 'Dodge City', not, because of the killing that goes on there. They are also referring to the crime that is taking place on Capitol Hill. There are hundreds of corporate lobbyists for every congressperson. HOP, and several other well-intentioned institutions in America and this area, are not the place to go if one does not intend to alter their plight, and that is in consideration of individuals on both sides of the spectrum. At HOP, we are essentially teaching outdoor citizens, the ones who will listen to a new perspective, a new paradigm, and it includes the following:

  1. That the world has changed since the Post WWII economic boom that America experienced (which lasted more than a half century).
  2. That Europe was devastated, and broke at the end of the war, while America's blue collar industry, factories, its banking and mercantile system, among other things, was booming.

  3. And as a result, there were jobs aplenty. (Many Americans in the rust belt where I hail from, held more than one job at a time). I can recall when I held 2 jobs and was working 16 hours a day around the age of 18.

  4. However today greed, coupled with globalization, corporate down-sizing, loss of market share to the emerging global economies, corporate down-sizing, the depression and the slow economic recovery (not to overlook the psyche of the entitled to a job Americans), too many Americans have lost that one well paying job - that they used to have. And more more and more of them are sitting in a stupor, while waiting for 'their job' to come back.

  5. That the shrinking manufacturing base, currently at about 27% of what it was decades ago, has resulted in many of blue collar workers having been simply put, eliminated. And as a result, homes, apartments, rooms and families have been broken up and lost...

  6. That even if you were able to garner a job, typically short-term, you would not be able to earn a sufficient amount of money to cover your living expenses, particularly, if you live in northern California.

  7. That the solution is within you coupled with solid supportive help, of the kind that teach and help you to take back charge of your lives, and therefore your destinies with this in mind; you must take the responsibility for your comeback, and create income-producing opportunities for yourself. In other words, you will hone and depend on your current skill-sets, return to school if you must, and use what you have already in your toolbox, to compete in the market place.

  8. We remind our people (outdoor citizens), that each one of them possesses 'not only marketable skills, but income-producing skills'. We also explain that the American citizen will have to learn to compete against both American and global interests in the new paradigm. And finally, with our support and hopefully yours, outdoor citizens will learn to garner a slice of the American and global pie - the former ship has sailed.

  9. Maintenance programs are just that, maintenance; and they will result in many Americans being on the dole for the rest of their lives - we lost over 50 outdoor-citizen lives in the area, last year alone, along with several outdoor citizens in this region just over the past 3 weeks...

  10. Finally, we help outdoor-citizens understand that more and more of the jobs that they were accustomed to having before, have been and are being shipped overseas, automated or outsourced. This phenomenon has occurred with the full consent of lobbied American government officials by American corporations.

    Both entities are competing for their own survival and to satisfy campaign-financiers and their stockholders. The dangerous nexus that currently exists between government and corporations, is only hurting the American people. However, we have to fight back!

Item III.

John Maynard Keynes or Kenneth Galbraith would be appalled, if they were alive and could witness the current economic conditions in America, particularly what is taking place in the American corporate marketplace, on Wall Street and with America's mercantile system (particularly in a nation with a 14T GDP, piled-up debt and Americans living in the streets). Who knows what Mr. Friedman would have to say if he were still with us today, with respect to current market conditions. And we all know that he was a dyed-in-the-wool Republican and supply-side economist.

Thomas Sowell, my soul brother, formerly at the Hoover Institute at Stanford (in 1984, someone asked me to read his books) I don't understand you, but at the same time. However, and at the same time we are moving on with our own economic recoveries and an economic recovery plan to benefit other outdoor, and indoor citizens for that matter. I feel that it is safe to say that the contract with America ala Hobbes and Lockes is DOA, at this juncture it appears to be, every person for themselves! And as far as I am concerned, the majority in Washington are interested in the few, not the masses.

Mr. Volcker has had very instructive things to say from time to time. Mr. Greenspan, has to defend himself, since he presided over the Fed, during the downturn and slide, ergo, he has been somewhat muted and more of an apologist. Mr. Geithner at the the Treasury Deparment and Mr. Bernanke at the Fed are presiding over the current debacle and economic recovery.

All of us know, I believe, what the real problem is and where it originated, in addition to all of the above (to include job losses, corporate down-sizing, repositioning, job furloughs, the stock-market crash), can you say hedge funds though? Where I disagree with many of the outdoor citizens and organizations that I am involved with, many of them accept the status-quo and fail to understand that it is time to to alter the status quo. Why?

Because with the best of intentions many of them are doing the wrong thing, and very little to address the systemic issues of our time. One thing that is needed for sure, in the Santa Clara Valley and other regions of the nation, is DISRUPTION, including in Washington DC.

In other words the same organizations that have prevented a crises of hunger in and among our demographic, have fallen into a separate rut of their own. Today, however, it is time to get on with the business of rehabilitation, by partnering with outdoor citizens in a way that will help them to get back to creative ways of producing economic returns on their best investments, themselves - in deference to whatever the rich and politicians do!

Certain institutions did an admirable job before, however, late President Ronald Reagan shifted the gears. There has been a massive redistribution of wealth in this nation, since that time, having said that, individuals who needed it the most, are not going to give it back/invest in the American people. The word when Ronald Reagan was President was, 'what's wrong with greed', right Tony Blankley, Editor of the Washington Times?

In summary and I repeat that we believe the following:

  1. That organizations in the area need to adapt to a new paradigm, one in which individuals working with those who want to help themselves to recover, ought to be helped. The ones who do not, and will not help themselves, ignore them.

  2. That outdoor citizens must be encouraged, taught … those who can be taught, to begin working to create income producing opportunities for themselves, with support (to include cleaning, sweeping, painting curbs, mowing lawns, using their computer-skills, starting their own hi-tech businesses some have advanced degrees you know).

  3. That outdoor citizens must volunteer to work, when one is capable of doing so, instead of receiving the gifts that they have been receiving of late, gratis.

  4. That a certain amount of pain being felt, will inspire some of our able-bodied, but spoiled outdoor citizens to get back to work or to create income-producing opportunities for themselves. We are living in a new day, and certain jobs aren't coming back!

  5. That organizations must channel more dollars into self-help organizations, not only HOP, who are trying to create self-sustaining and independent human beings instead of dependents (and the latter is what is taking place all over the area today.

In conclusion: I wonder what our critics will have to say when we, HOP, a year and a-half old organization that began without money, a place and not very much of anything else, helps to alter the current paradigm and status quoin this region; or on the other hand, when the ones who are being served by status quo organizations make the turn around? Motivated outdoor-citizens, are turning to us already. The rest are staying in the parks, and relying on government, faith-based groups … to sustain them, to do their work for them - however, they are watching us.

We plan to help individuals who desire to and are willing to work, to stand and to walk again. The answer is on the porch, not on the streets, or under another person or institution's control. And why are we doing what we are doing, because of LOVE!

And if what you or you group has been and is doing currently works for the good of the people (not your group...) then by all means keep doing it. On the other hand and in the words of Dr. Phil, ask yourself or your group ... "how is what you have been doing, working for the individuals or groups that your group or you serves or has served in the past?"

If nothing else you will be able to determine why you or your group are doing what you are or have been doing, and who really benefits! Sadly, and at times, we can do the right thing the wrong way!

And here is one final shameless, but hopefully helpful plug. During my years as a psychiatric counselor, where I received plaudits from my team members, who wondered why I had been more successful than many of them who had been there long before me.

My response was, "the clients in our Mental Health center told me that the difference between you and the other therapists is that you care about us, the others are here using us in order to acquire their advanced degrees". Sadly, and in many instances, I knew firsthand that they were correct - several of my peers were using the clients to get what they wanted, their PhDs.

To be informed, is to be armed! Do some introspection and self-actualization, those of you who want to help. And ask yourself, why are you doing what you are doing? In other words, are you doing what you are doing for the ones who need help, or are you doing what you are doing for yourself?


President of HOP Hope for Outdoor People


email us at hopeforoutdoorpeople@gmail.com

The Supply-Side Poverty Paradigm in Santa Clara County and Beyond

The Issue of homelessness: Part 2

We refer to ourselves as Outdoor Citizens. We are working to change the existing crippling, supply-side dependency dynamic that persists in this and other regions of the country.

Supporting dependency is neither the solution to the problem of homelessness in the Santa Clara Valley nor elsewhere in America, we believe. And if you disagree, simply consider what has been taking place with outdoor citizens in your community.

Or in the words of Dr. Phil, "how has what you or your community have been doing ... working for you and your community so far"?


Author Derrick Bell, in his book, 'Faces At The Bottom of the Well', wrote: "if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you will keep getting what you have been getting". And most Americans know firsthand, that not only are we getting what we have been getting, there appears not to be an end in sight.

The give and give more again paradigm is solidly in place in American cities!

HOP, with a vision, minuscule resources (the work is all being done here by unpaid volunteers, former and current outdoor citizens and with the help of a few donors), is using these resources, our experiences, our wits and a new paradigm in order to help to turn lives around.

Already, we are witnessing lives being transformed, and outdoor citizens taking charge of their lives, their personal destinies and standing upright again - and we just got started.

What we are doing at HOP, that is working, benefits outdoor citizens, the city, county, state and the entire nation. We provide space, a place, professional training, desks, computers, business and marketing plans ... where research can be done and ideas put into practice. This is not the mission of poverty supply-siders.

The winds of change are blowing in the valley, the nation and the world for that matter. Individuals and organizations that learn to shift with the current tide, will succeed, we believe.

It is our hope that other outdoor-citizens (who up to this time have preferred the methods that are currently in place, (that have not worked) and rather supports dependency, or receiving something for doing nothing, will be motivated to try something different - at the very least we can help to save the next generation. It is also our hope, that organizations in the area who support dependency will soon follow suit and join us (even when it means swallowing pride, and simply admitting that what worked before is not working today – given that the problem is expanding).

Even the Apostle Peter, a fisherman who still had fish to give, stopped giving alms, and instead helped to lift a man to his feet so that he could walk on his own 2 feet again, but only when the Apostle's paradigm changed.

Readers who are familiar with 'disruption theory', understand that from time to time there has to be a change in the customary manner and with the methods that have been used before, if an individual or an organization plans to keep pace. In other words, adaptability is required.

Even a once great idea (the free delivery ice wagon, black and white TV, typewriters … eventually runs its course and needs to be replaced). Smart leaders, and managers on the cutting-edge, recognize when it is time to do, improve or create something different. Several organizations, some of notoriety in Silicon Valley, failed to forecast or re-evaluate their processes, the ones that worked for a period of time in the past, and they suffered as a result. America, and Americans have also failed to heed the signs of knowing when to change.

To that end, several once venerable organizations, in the once booming Silicon Valley have recently been overtaken by upstart organizations that didn't exist a decade ago. Why? Because the leaders of the organizations failed to keep up, or to recognize that from time to time, even a venerable organization has to recognize when it is time to change its mission, its methods and ways of doing things. Some of them ignored, the Law of Accelerating returns, and failed to keep up with the pace. Consider, what has taken place in the the Republic of China and the other emerging global markets today, and the 'huge sucking sound', that we hear coming from the American economy.

The ROC tried something different, given new leadership at the top, and has come out of the dark ages in a few decades, and is threatening the existing world order. America, on the other hand stayed too long with what had been working before, and it is costing all of us. Arrogance, over-confidence, elitism at play, perhaps? Successful businesses that plan to survive and to thrive under existing changing conditions, also recognize the need to be as effective as they are efficient and therefore to modify or change their practices at certain peak and off-peak junctures.

The Valley, in my opinion, with Federal and State help, has effectively underwritten what appears to be a burgeoning and expanding permanent underclass, that costs billions to support, when you take into consideration what is already in place. There are an estimated 7,000 outdoor citizens in the region, who will continue to depend on the system for life-long support, get it life-long support.

The composition of the outdoor-citizen's demographic includes women, children, men from a number of ethnic groups, both American and foreign born. Members of this permanent underclass have been on the dole, in some instances, for 5, 7, 10 and 12 years however, a period that has eclipsed either of the two major Silicon Valley and national recessions.

The supply-side provisioners will continue to respond to the demand and do it their way, instead of helping to change the dynamic. Several of these organizations, as HOP has experienced already, operates like a impenetrable syndicate of who's who's in the valley. We have observed that some of the political figures in our area, are a part of these syndicates. HOP, has made numerous attempts to get our Councilmen and some ministers to respond to the numerous messages that we have left for them. Hmm!!

Item I

Since my return from the nation's capitol several years ago, I ended up living in a shelter, a church's rear office, on a park bench and at the Salvation Army for a few night (and did I mention with very special and caring friends). I recognized 'my problem', and that of my new cohort groups and the helping community and agencies, as a result of living among the outdoor citizens' demographic in Santa Clara Valley.

I especially took note of what was taking place with well-intended government, social services and faith-based groups in the area. During the time that I lived among the outdoor citizens in the Valley, I not only made observations, I also took notes on both sides of the Bay, to include the People's Park in Berkeley, and parks, shelters, feeding programs ... in Santa Clara Valley.

The First Church of Christian Science on Dwight Way in Berkeley was most helpful, Priscilla, a member of the church, was my teacher and guide. Rosie, a long-time resident of the People's Park and Terri (who was affectionately known as 'the Compost Lady', because she planted flowers and vegetables in the park to feed the outdoor-citizens there, were also extremely helpful.

I began to collaborate with outdoor citizens, as well as with service providers and faith-based groups on both sides of the Bay, in hopes of trying to determine what course of action should be taken in order to change the current dynamic, in the most prosperous state in the world, as far as I was and am concerned.

The first thing that I observed and took note of, was that the outdoor citizens were mostly non-participants in their own recoveries, they were often missing from the policy and planning table. Second, I noticed that there was a percentage of the outdoor-citizens demographic who were satisfied with the way that things were operating at the time, 'receive, and you shall receive more types I call them'!

And then there was the group that I will refer to as 'the helping-naive, or the helping beneficiaries might be a better term. These individuals appeared to be involved for personal or political reasons, at the expense of the individuals that they were supposed to be helping. .

Some outdoor citizens required support help true enough, however, others were and still are unabashed moochers to this day. What kind of help was needed, was the question that I attempted to answer. The latter group, the chronics who business it was to beg, I concluded, needed what the lame beggar at the temple needed, someone to help to lift them from the ground begging, so that they could get on with their lives instead of depending on handouts. Providing them with alms, was not the solution.

I also recognized that there were physically and mentally handicapped individuals, in need of a supportive lift, not a wheelchair for life. Project Hired, convinced me that there were motivated handicapped individuals, working every day, and they wouldn't have it any other way. However, the De-institutionalization Act, one of late President Ronald's proud accomplishments, has been disastrous for many individuals, who are in need of round the clock in-house mental health services. Too bad they weren't rich, he would have protected them1

Helping people is a balancing act, one that requires training,vision, wisdom, sincerity, an ear to hear, analysis, strength and discernment. Otherwise, good caring people, end up being pawns in a sleighter’s hand! Many caregivers ... have, unwittingly become pawns in someone elses manipulative (occasionally political) games.

Aside from the fact that some outdoor citizens who lack a conscience, will pull the whole system down with them in deference to the ones who require genuine help and appreciate it - at times it appears as if many of the supply-siders (who are supposed to be change agents), have experienced Stockholm Syndrome.

In other words, they have become one with the individuals that they are supposed to be serving, even the bad ones! Retired Stanford professor, from the Department of Psychology, Dr. Zimbardo, could explain this phenomenon firsthand given his work with the Stanford Prison Experiments, and what took place at Abu Ghraib.

In fact, I was stunned, given the responses and feedback that I received from several service providers in the region. Several of them were were more perturbed with my suggesting that change needed to take place than they were with the individuals (some malingerers), who were co-dependent with them, their agencies and other faith-based groups.

Again, in too many instances, outdoor citizens are still not participating in their own recoveries - and too many services providers, faith-based groups, agencies ... prefer to rescue them, rather than to help their clients to get up so that they can walk again. This is what happens whenever you outsource your responsibility to another person or agency.

It was incredible to me, the amount of resources that were being expended, to include dollars and human capital, to solve a problem for outdoor citizens wherein which outdoor citizens had zero input or involvement. At present, HOP and several other organizations and individuals in the area are ahead of the curve (in terms of recognizing a need for disruption in the systems in this region).

We have joined forces with current and former outdoor citizens, who want to make a difference in the lives of our demographic. We will be doing this while too many of the rest are saving us, instead of working along with us. Thee incredible amount of resources being expended on a daily basis, including direct handouts on the streets, from government programs, faith-based and other institutions in the region, have reached critical mass.

And still, there are approximately 7,000 outdoor citizens, who remain outdoor citizens in arguably of most populate and leading state in this Union (1 out of every 7 or 8 Americans, is a Californian). In other words, instead of providing crisis-altering measures being implemented, most institutions in the area, have accepted homelessness, I believe, as a condition.

They are providing change (in a monetary sense), instead of helping individuals who need to work to change themselves and their plights!

HOP, hopes to change minds and attitudes in time. HOP, other individuals and groups in the area who believe in what we are doing - are intent upon changing the current dynamic. And we plan to do so, not only among the outdoor citizens' demographic, but also among agencies, faith-based groups and services providers that are co-dependent with chronic outdoor citizens in time.

Individuals who are capable of helping themselves, and have found that “it is cheaper to keep her', the freebies, require inspiration (to include negative sanctions) in order to motivate them to get up and to get going again.

I am speaking about the ones that can help themselves with a minimal amount of supervisorial help, but have given in to supply-side handouts ...

In order to do so, HOP had to create its own creative think tank agency. Now what is truly sad is this, some individuals and institutions who make their living off of the homeless, don't seem to want to have much to do with a professional outdoor citizen's organization that has an understanding of the problem, and is staffed with recovering individuals who have been there and are still there in some instances. Hmm!

Well, who is this Solomon dude anyway, they are likely thinking, a man who popped up in town from Washington DC several years ago, we're in charge here? To some, I am certain, that I am a loud mouth, who has as much as said that the service-providers … in this area ... are co-dependent with the outdoor citizen's demographic in this area, many of them.

And besides that, some are thinking at first I guess, "I have been in this fight for awhile and who is he (an outdoor citizen) to come walking in here, Mr. High and Mighty, to tell us or me, what to do with our money? The problem is, it is not anyone of our money, it is typically taxpayer money ... that is being referred to.

And the answer to their question is, I am their friend. I could turn the question around and ask, who are you to turn away an outdoor citizen who wants to help outdoor citizens. Remember, even Jesus had to stop the miracle feeding crusade that he started during his public ministry, because the people were only following him for food and miracles - not to turn their lives around.

Can our missionaries today, public and private, alter a course that is not working?

Oftentimes, my fellow members of the cloth need to hear this the most. Some of them are 'hell-bent' on rescuing people, or let's put it another way 'doing works'. One leading church located in downtown San Jose has been blessed with incredible financial resources. This church is intent upon rescuing people, by doing good works, the latter also makes them feel good about themselves. However, is it good works that the outdoor citizens really need. Sadly, these kind of churches often end up being used, and worst than that; by using their methods, the outdoor citizens that they purport to serve remain destitute, dependent and in the same place.

This prominent church with a dearth of financial resources, (their pastor mostly believes that by simply spending money, that problems are being solved. I recall what happened when Jesus, and a boy with a few fishes and a few loaves of bread, helped a group as large as the Valley's outdoor citizens group, without money.

In other words, 'stop spending pastor and get God, the right vision and the people involved'! How dare I? I am a minister, on sabbatical dude. Paul withstood Peter, and some of our clerics need someone to confront them from time to time!

At times, I can be very curt, when I want to be, however, it is intended for a useful purpose. To these type of individuals who I make angry, all I can say is: Take your thumb out of your mouth because there is more at stake than your damaged egos. Truthfully, I've own experienced a couple of individuals (even clerics) that I would consider to be 'true jerks that are on mission of their making. God ways, are not our ways?

Am I a T-Partier, or an individual on the Right who believes in a redistribution of wealth that will inure to the benefit of a certain class group, the one that needs it the least? Nyat! However, will the rest of us sit on our laurels, and help the rich to get richer and turn around and cry about it. Each one of us has the same right to compete with anyone else, even to steal market-share, inside and outside of America. In other words, why criticize either the organizations or individuals that you continue to patronize, and wait for to employ you? Figure out a way, to start your own business, instead.

Anyway, don't get upset with me, I am on the side of right and I would like to help if I can to break through the powerful matrix of caregivers ... that exists in this area, whose apparently misdirected hard-work is not reaching the desired result. Someone pointed out that when the President was in town, and spoke at Facebook, in downtown Palo Alto, he even failed to stop and speak with the outdoor citizens who were a block away. Instead, he raised money for his campaign. Just imagine what all of those millions could have done to create opportunities for the outdoor citizens demographic in this region?

And don't feel bad if you feel turned off at first by me, many of the outdoor citizens who have been enjoying a comfy existence as a result of the area's largess, wish that I would shut up and go away too. Can you blame them? Solomon is creating disruption, and spoiling the party for some of them, when I start shouting from my porch.

I understand it too, for how would you like it if someone was tampering with a way of living that costs you nothing? In fact, when you think about it, some of our outdoor citizens are confirmed whiner-babies. You can't say it, I know, however, I can, and oftentimes I do just that, I say it to them! This combination of supply-siders and whiners, is another big part of the problem to deal with the area's homeless issues.

These are 2 polarizing power groups!

Some years ago, I actually argued a similar position with a group of do-gooier social workers ... who converged on Washington DC, just over 2 decades back. I was an invited delegate. Service providers came from all other the nation, in order to focus on nationwide social and public policy issues in 1984.

Approximately 1,000 of us, spent the week in the nation's Capitol at a forum that was put together by The United Neighborhood Centers of America. Our mission was to, among other things, discuss ways to solve the problems of America's permanent underclass in the inner cities. We caucused every day for one week, listened to speakers, engaged in discussions and debates, met with Representatives, created policy papers ... Eventually, the bleeding hearts among us came around.

On one occasion, when we were drafting a policy paper, I explained to my colleagues that they were guilty of being idealistic, but not very realistic. The latter is a problem that often persists and plagues most service providers and service provider agencies.

Why? Services-providers typically are people who have hearts of compassion (I wish everyone did), and want to help. Our downside is that oftentimes idealism, trumps realism or pragmatism – we don't care what it costs, let's just do it. Not good, I explained! Our delegates were not being very realistic when it came to addressing the needs of America's permanent underclass back then.

At the time, the average per capita income in the inner city was around 9K. Nearly 3 decades later, the average per capita income in some urban centers still hovers around 15K, one area is adjacent to Capitol Hill just on the other side of the Anacostia River.

please read part 3

Solomon (the Proud President of HOP)

Please respond, or send your rebuttals

The Supply-Side Poverty Paradigm in Santa Clara County and Beyond

The Issue of homelessness: Part I

We refer to ourselves as Outdoor Citizens. We are working to change the existing crippling, supply-side dependency dynamic that persists in this and other regions of the country.


Supporting dependency is neither the solution to the problem of homelessness in the Santa Clara Valley nor elsewhere in America, we believe. And if you disagree, simply consider what has been taking place with outdoor citizens in your community.


Or in the words of Dr. Phil, "how has what you or your community have been doing ... working for you and your community so far"? Oftentimes, the end result of goodwill, faith-based and institutional supply-side government ... subsidies programs is that too many outdoor citizens remain in the same place, homeless, underemployed, unemployed, begging, living in city parks and ravines or surviving on handouts.

We believe that it will require massive disruption among outdoor citizens, as well as fundamental changes to the existing institutional structures before we will see any appreciable or lasting changes. At the very least, a more synergistic multi-modal approach, to include direct participation from the outdoor citizen's community to solve the problem of homelessness, will be necessary!

If not, we do not expect to see any appreciable differences or improvements, with regard to America's expanding homeless and downwardly mobile permanent underclass anytime soon.

Hope for Outdoor People (the Outdoor Citizen's Coalition and Think-Tank of Santa Clara County), recently incorporated in the state of California. In less than 1.5 years in existence our 501(c)3 federally exempt, non-profit corporation is already making an impact, even in terms of defining the narrative.

We believe that our critical policy analysis is second to none, and might just be more realistic than anything else that is out there at present. I also serve on several boards including The Santa Clara County Collaborative, West Valley Community Services and soon several others if confirmed. HOP's opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any of these organizations.

All of us, HOPPEOPLE, are proud to be citizens of the United States of America, and individuals and families that are entitled to all of the rights and protections of the United States Constitution. And in deference to our current status, we are committed contributors and problem-solvers. It is our intention to help solve the growing and pernicious problem of homelessness that is growing by leaps and bounds within the American Commonwealth.

We are currently working alongside numerous government and faith-based institutions in the area (the one's who will receive input from the class group that they purport to serve. And we are doing so without any financial support from any of these institutions when helping to address America's current social pandemic.

Clearly, the problem has reached monumental proportions - and what has been done so far, minus the direct input and involvement of the identified patient-homeless-community, is not working.

More and more displaced Americans have been and are being relegated to streets, parks, shelter-programs and ravines, while houses, condominiums and apartments (some foreclosed upon) sit empty.

Having said that, several institutions in the Valley, however, are being impacted by our message. And more than a few organizations are already modifying their programs, based upon HOP's input and its business model. HOP's model consists of helping people to understand that if good intentions are not properly channeled, that they will only exacerbate the problem, and lead to further dependency.

Although not as quickly as we would like to see it happen, outdoor citizens are beginning to understand that they will also have to make changes and work to solve their own problems - as opposed to waiting for someone or some other agency or institution ... to do their work for them. Partnerships are what is needed in the Valley and beyond, we believe.

To wit, we are teaching our erudite outdoor citizens to be both accountable and responsible, and to come up with creative ways, with our assistance, to make an honest living for themselves and their families - despite current conditions.

In other words, a change in both practice and strategy on either side is desperately needed - the helpers and the individuals who are being assisted. The mentally capable outdoor citizens will, themselves, need to take ownership of 'their problems', if their problems are ever to be resolved.

The solutions that are currently in place, are there, all to often to appease a portion of society that believes that it can pay to have the menace go away. Other caring individuals or institutions, faith-based, government and otherwise, should provide strategic, tactical, sincere and meaningful partnering support.

How have we been so successful in terms of helping outdoor citizens and helping-institutions to revamp their programs and to modify their ways of thinking? We created tension, made our voices heard and began to teach a new and improved paradigm to former supply-side organizations in the region, and to outdoor citizens, the ones who would listen.

The organizations that have helped consist of government agencies, as well as faith-based groups.

The church that permitted us to use its facility in order to create and organize HOP, free of charge, once served over 1200 meals a week. We helped them to understand, that with the best of intentions, they were only supporting the problem and therefore creating more dependency.

The individuals who were being served, were consumers only, 99% of them, instead of participants within their own recovery. We have helped other churches, begrudgingly in some instances, to understand that they were guilty of doing the same, supporting and bolstering dependency!

Sadly, some of our people wanted to be paid if they were expected to clean up the feeding areas, or to place their own trash in a trash container, in deference to all of the meals that they consumed each week (often 3 or 4 days per week) at not charge.

HOP urged this and several other faith-based communities to stop providing something for nothing, in particular to long-term and chronic outdoor-citizens. After all, they were unwittingly conditioning our people to be co-dependent and to have a sense of entitlement!

Today, in the manner that Jesus, Paul and Peter of scriptures did, the church who helped us has created a new recovery, help, participate and receive style program, that includes employment training ... More organizations need to eat a bit of humble pie in the region and to make similar changes.

Another prominent church from Milpitas, changed its former, come, help, cook, feed, provide gifts ... and afterward the outdoor citizens simply walked away without doing anything to help, modus operandi.

They didn't care for my interference initially, however, I used scriptures to show them how they were doing just the opposite of what Jesus did, among the outdoor people of his time. Today, we are all friends, and the outdoor citizens are being asked to be participants and not recipients only in programs that benefit them the most.

By sharing our experiences, as informed outdoor citizens, and participating in public policy planning in the area or offering constructive criticisms, other organizations along with their personnel and members, are not only listening - they are beginning to sing a different tune. It hurts to have to correct individuals, whose only intent was to offer sincere help our people.

However, more resources, from hereon, will be used to help individuals who are capable of and will work to overcome destitution and homelessness, as opposed to rewarding slovenly behavior. I had begun to wonder at one time, just how long would slovenly behavior be rewarded?

And there is and has been a payoff; in the final analysis our people will be, and some have already become contributors as opposed to beggars and dependents that are living in parks, begging on the streets or in the city and county's thoroughfares.

Second, by employing our methods, eventually, we will be able to expose and isolate the malingerers, the ones who will require a different method of intervention. And certainly, we will have to come up with something else for malingerers to do, and there are more than a few outdoor citizens that fit into this mode. For some, malingering has become a satisfying lifestyle. Many of these individuals sadly have become drug and alcohol dependent!

And still, there are some great people living outdoors, the majority of them happen to be, I might add!

Having said that, there are an estimated 2 million outdoor citizens living in the USA at present, and the number is growing, exponentially. Keep in mind that for every domicile that is being foreclosed upon, one or more outdoor citizens were former residents!


Examine this article from HOP's blogsite, www.hoppeople.org, entitled: Addicted to Homelessness, using a text from the bible found in Acts 3:9-11

9. And all the people saw him [who sat begging before] walking and praising God:
10. And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.
11.And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.

A follow-up to last quarter's article, entitled, 'Addicted to Homelessness': After the people saw this man who sat for years, walking again, many of them ran to Solomon's colonnade (or porch). And they wondered, how could this be? Actually, that is what we are attempting to do at HOP, 'The Outdoor Citizens Coalition & Think Tank of Santa Clara County California'. We are attempting to do the miraculous, to assist individuals to walk again, and hopefully others will come running.

Our work is cut out for us in that we are attempting to change existing paradigms, methods, and social and , public policy along with their questionable practices that often fail to work. And we are doing so in a region where faith-based groups, government institutions and the working public are arguably the most generous in the nation.

Giving is what our people do in the Santa Clara Valley and beyond. However, we believe that the resources that are currently being expended, are not being used optimally. The same effort, along with the proper distribution of shrinking resources, could be put to work to help motivate outdoor citizens to do the same, and the ones that are already trying.

Resources should not be provided ad hominen, to able bodied individuals, who refuse to do anything to help themselves!

In other words, I am referring to the carrot and the stick approach! However, by simply giving more and more, or expending more and more, without any accountability being in place, is not representative of America at its best.

Frankly, many Americans are lost, confused and shocked by what has and is transpiring in the American economic market place. In fact, other than by going to school, sending out resumes or signing up at employment centers or online to apply for a position that does not exist, too many Americans are lost.

Many displaced American workers don't have a clue how to take care of themselves or their loved ones under America new rubric of high unemployment (the result of greed, globalization, consolidation, automation, ... and a former sense of entitlement!

For over half-a-century, high-paying jobs were abundant in America, however, that is not the case anymore.

And therefore the second part of our challenge is to do the following: Help to convince the recipients of the area's and the government's ... supply-side largess programs (to include food, clothing, medical help, medicine, shelters, free bus passes, housing ...), that times have changed - and they will have to adapt.

We have to make an effort to get displaced Americans to understand that if they intend to make it in the new American/World-wide competitive economy, without becoming dependents, that they will have to do things in a different way than they did in the past. Depending on job creation by others, has become a thing of the past.

The shrinking middle-class, faith-based groups and government agencies, won't be able to take care of a expanding, formerly employed working class in perpetuity. Teaching the underemployed and unemployed to complete resumes, or to simply practice their interviewing skills in an economy where the jobs are going away, is not the solution.

HOP compliments Stanford grad and CEO, Peter Thiel co-founder of PayPal and current president of Clarium Capital, for encouraging entrepreneurship, and investing seed money in would be entrepreneurs. Here is a wealthy individual, who is doing something realistic to help solve America's unemployment problem in a realistic manner.

He is not rewarding dependency - instead he is giving individuals a real chance to help themselves, and likely others by providing future employment for themselves and other people. Give that man a cigar!

There are a lot of outdoor citizens with advanced degrees, that are living in parks. Imagine, if 10 of them came up with business ideas that could result in them re-employing both them and a few of their counterparts, as opposed to waiting on handouts?

Similar to President Thiel, we believe that by teaching individuals who can't find work, how to work for themselves is the answer - even when it means cleaning gutters, painting numbers on curbs, mowing lawns, shearing hedges, farming or by coming up with the next Facebook or Google perhaps.

All too often, displaced American workers who have been down-sized out of companies spiral down and become completely dependent on handouts in a system where the resources are already drying up or ending up in the pockets of a few. The latter I often refer to as an economic watershed.

The same individuals have forgotten their years of training and experience, that which they already have underneath their belts. We are teaching outdoor citizens how to use those same skills and experiences to make a living not only for themselves but for their families (in an even more specialized economy).

Or as I heard on a television program last night, some may have to attend "Rap University", in order to earn a living!

We are creating a new crop of entrepreneurs and hopefully, several future employers, who will be able to to learn to think outside of the box. Our methods include teaching individuals to take 'baby steps' first, and eventually to stand up on their own 2 feet and to walk again.

The end result is that individuals who have given up this far, will be able to become productive achievers in the new world-wide economy.

Clearly, either side is dependent upon the other for survival when operating under the current paradigm, one to receive government aid, grants, donations and other freebies without merit - and the other (typically inside of an agency) to receive a paycheck ... for distributing the free goodies. Something has to give!

The first group, the dependency supply-sider's group typically offers their clients unconditional positive regard or support, however, and on the other hand, they are oftentimes unconditional and unintentional enablers.

The reason being that maintaining paid positions (under the guise of solving the problem oftentimes on the inside of a massive bureaucracy that is rife with fraud and corruption), they only bolster and create more dependency. Why?

All too often, these organizations fail to hold their own feet or their client's feet to the fire, and lack creativity. And on occasion, there is a lack of oversight and accountability in place, to assure that the dollars being spent are receiving the desired results - the kind that the public would like to see, especially taxpayers.

If their clients were to have their problems solved, or to simply walk away, they would loose their reason for existing. And sadly, the end result is that they are perpetuating the problem that they are supposed to be fixing - the supply sider bureaucracy.

Ergo, no pain and no gain, and an enormous sum of resources that could be used to help invest in individuals to get going again, continues to go down into a massive sink hole, to the tune of billions of dollars. Many of our outdoor citizens recognize that it 'pays to be homeless', unfortunately.

And it is truly unfortunate that the indiscriminate amounts that are being spent on outdoor citizens, actually reward dependency, inertia and slovenly behavior - this is not discretionary spending!

On the other hand, institutionalized begging has become a growing cottage industry locally, and across the nation. I don't have to tell you that! Neither side, the suppliers or the recipients up to this juncture, wants to see the other go away. Both the recipients of government, social services and faith-based largess, all have a stake in the supply-side dynamic.

Waste and fraud in the housing sector, costs American taxpayers billions of dollars each year. Consider this, a person who is out of work will eventually receive free-housing, in some instances, paid-insurance, free transportation, food, medicine, clothing, sleeping bags ... while doing nothing to merit it!

So you are thinking, what motivates HOP's outdoor citizens (over 100 of us at last count and still growing), to behave any different from our malingering counterparts? Or, you are thinking, haven't your people benefited from some of the very programs that you have benefited from, and now are criticizing?

Our answer is, yes on both counts. And as result “we have learned by experience what can take place when subsidies are not used as a stop gap, instead of with the intent to stop the bleeding, instead of making it a permanent condition. We learned quickly!

And the fact of the matter is that we are not trying to close the door on others who are in need of emergency support. At the same time we are attempting to get all sides to understand that participation must be required on the part of the recipients of the country's and individual largess.

We are trying to open a new door of opportunity, and as citizens of the United States of America ourselves, don't forget that, it is our desire to protect the treasury, and the good-hearted Americans who give.

We have a responsibility to use what should be a temporary gift or grant, to help us to get up and to get going again (I am speaking of any outdoor citizen), as opposed to turning giving and receiving into a lifestyle. Many outdoor citizens who were present when we fell, are still living off of and enjoying the largess of other Americans.

By making good use of the resources that we received, we are (outdoor citizens) repaying the public and other charitable and faith-based groups for the temporary assistance, which can be used to help other individuals to get going again - by doing what we are doing today!

Some of us believe that our having ended up where we did before, albeit for a short period of time, may have been a part of our destiny - that is to take what we have learned and share it with both groups (in order to help turn things around in America).

The members of what appears to be a permanent and growing American underclass needs our help, even though it may be painful for them to listen to us, however, at first. I learned a long time ago, that you can do the right thing, the wrong way, which can also lead to disastrous results.

"We believe that by feeding the problem, no pun intended, or by supporting dependency that either tactic will only help to prolong and to expand the problem".

A substantial portion of the nationwide outdoor citizens demographic, are veterans of foreign wars. Thankfully, the Federal government is coming to grips with the problems of homeless Vietnam-era veterans who are returning from both Afghanistan and Iraq. Warehousing able veterans under unsanitary condition, isn't the solution either. Consider what was discovered at Walter Reed in DC, several years ago.

Exactly, what will happen to America once 2 out of every 4 Americans, perhaps 150m or so, rely on government agencies, subsidies, strapped faith-based organizations ... to supply survival needs? Under the current paradigm, that is where we seem to be headed, if things don't soon change. It time, we would have to tear down houses and buildings in urban centers and replace them with park lands, because the majority of Americans will be living outdoors again - while domiciles sit empty or are no longer need.

At the OCCTT, we recognize the direction in which the nation is headed. Why? Because we have been there, and many of our members are still experiencing both sides of the divide – even though we are working daily and often alone mostly, to help to change the current dynamic and to stream the tide. If something isn't done to alter the nation's current heading, we believe that the nation is heading to the economic abyss, of the kind that will rival, if not surpass what took place during the Great Depression.

Perhaps America will have to foreclose before it wakes up. Apparently, that is what the Republicans in the House seem to believe! We are doing all that we can, as outdoor citizens, to help both sides to alter America's present heading towards an economic collapse. We are in the process of creating income-producing opportunities for ourselves, in some instances opportunities that we would not have considered before, and did not train for initially.

And don't forget that if the nation keeps heading in the wrong direction, once it reaches its destination, there will still be hundreds of millions of Americans, hungry and homeless - along with a soaring national debt.

Should the rich share their wealth? The question is moot. The real question is do they look like they are going to share the wealth?

Many of our billionaires talk about sharing the wealth, and giving money to charity, however, besides Bill Gates and a few others, when will that happen, and should it happen? Hopefully, whenever they decide to share the wealth (tee hee), they will share the wealth with organizations that help people to get up and to get going again.

Too much money is simply sitting in hedge funds ... that could be used to help retrain individuals and to get the economy going again. Sadly, the individuals who are sitting on incredible wealth, that they can never spend in hundreds of lifetimes, aren't helping either.

Now even though they are reticent to help, giving to charity is a write-off, oftentimes for the reasons that I have mentioned before, there are legitimate causes that many of them can give to that will result in a return on their investment (ROI), as opposed to sinking more money into the Supply-Side sink holes.

We invite them to simply do the math, and instead to help to underwrite the costs of sound recovery plans in organizations that have them already in place. A cheap plug for HOP did you say, and why not? We are trying to help - we are not asking to be supported the rest of our lives. At the very least, poverty should not be underwritten, encouraged or buttressed by anyone. Supply-siders, will have to learn that by doing so, it only helps to keep impoverished individuals in poverty for a longer period of time, if not forever.

Too often, even though we are beginning to witness some improvement in this area, outdoor-citizens are often an afterthought when it comes to developing or shaping social and public policy that will work. Often it would appear that the supply-siders, who are not accustomed to having representatives from our unique demographic at the planning table, would prefer that we stay away.

The attitude of some institutions, even faith-based ones, appears to be, “shut up”, or on the other hand, "we will tolerate you as we go about the business of saving your worthless lives". I have also sat at the table with many a do gooder organization, who have their own agendas in place to 'save the whales', without knowing a thing about the whales or outdoor citizens in this context! Can you say, waste?

With these types, not even an outdoor citizen that has input or a plan to help, is going to interfere with their faustian ideas or self-conceived ideals. Clearly, that kind of attitude, and the policies that follow will not help to resolve the problem, it only perpetuates the problem. And as a result, a lot of money, time and energy has been and will still be wasted or lost, and conditions will pretty much remain the same. Too many supply-siders have not spent one day experiencing homelessness, or in some instances abject poverty for that matter.

Sadly, supply-siders are often do-gooders who are on a personal mission of their own. They are creating their own self-inspired, I know what you need, policies and practices. However, speaking at public forums … increasing one's own personal visibility, or rising up the societal ladder is not working to solve the problem of homelessness, or to come up with lasting solutions. Simply consider the current unemployment rate in California, or the nation for that matter. No matter which indices you subscribe to, more and more Americans are either unemployed, underemployed, furloughed, part-time workers, or going to food banks.

And, many of outdoor citizens remain un-housed. Many Americans are seeking help, even working Americans, in hopes of garnering staples and other items that will supplement their shrinking and inadequate incomes. Disruption , of the fork-grade uplift type, is needed on both sides. It is is the answer that we believe will eventually take America into a new heading, one that will yield the desired results. And what are the desired results?

The answer is that not only Californians, but all Americans, to include young-adults, college graduates, seniors … will learn to use their ingenuity and skill sets, as they prepare to earn a living again under the new paradigm as opposed to living from hand to mouth. Yes, the growing senior class is already suffering! We believe that in time (real-time hopefully), that the groups that helped to create, sustain and maintain the poverty status quo in our region and elsewhere, along with the beneficiaries of crippling supply-side economic paralysis (who have been lying around and begging, at the temples), will come running in order to be transformed.

The miracle of a lame-man being able to get up and to walk again instead of begging, happened, when Peter, employed a different method, that of helping a man to stand and walk instead of providing him with another handout. The net result was that decades of co-dependency and begging at the Temple, immediately came to an end, and a man was able to go and take care of himself again and to inspire others to do the same, apparently.

The same thing can happen in the Valley and beyond, however, it will require change on both sides, just as change was required with Peter and the lame man. However, we must change the current paradigm and belief system in the Valley and elsewhere. Service, should not be confused with crippling someone by giving them too much. Already, we are reaching out to other agencies ... and speaking in front of a variety of audiences, to include other outdoor-citizens in the area in order to teach change. If something isn't done soon, there will be more and more unabashed beggars on the streets of America, in front of Target and Safeway stores or on sidewalks and American thoroughfares.

There will also be more robberies, burglaries and shakedowns taking place all over America. Keep in mind that many of the individuals that are ending up on the streets, are ex-convicts. And some of these dudes are mean, not all, just some of them, and they are teaching others to be con men and women!

continued see part 2

Solomon is the Proud President of Hope for Outdoor People

Learn more about the growing supply-side dynamic and the outdoor citizen's demographic in Santa Clara County, by visiting 'The Outdoor Citizens Coalition of Santa Clara County's website at www.hoppeople.org! We have our own think tank, and are working to bring about positive social-change for our demographic in the Santa Clara Valley and beyond.

We need more HOP chapters around the nation. And please read our inspiring articles. Through The Window of Kathy's Eyes, is the featured article the week - please read it.