Formerly homeless maker reengineering the homeless shelter


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My very first thought upon getting a tour of a local maker space that is equivalent to a TechShop was that these were transformative places that could serve as a basis for people to become small businesspeople or re-trained to enter a changing work place. They really are amazing places and if you have one near you, you really should check it out, you will not be sorry you did.

I am so glad it worked out for this person and I will be supporting his effort share the knowledge.

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Being not just poor but also disabled results in terrible discrimination, most people can’t understand or accept non obvious disability like amputation or paralysis, mostly they want someone to have a fatal condition or the above, anyone else is often treated as too lazy to be worthy of help or even acceptance.
I was an unpopular(with chief and board) unionizer firefighter paramedic officer in a very wealthy fire and EMS district. I had put off reporting what started as an injury presenting with back pain but turned out to be a debilitating injury fearing it would prejudice an upcoming promotion. The fire district of under ten square miles worth a few billion $US being a real 1%er resort area with a chip on their shoulder and good lawyers was easily able to fight my claim in part due to my misstep.
I am now barely self funding a return to work as a niche job airplane pilot only due to socialized medicine and a (non US)disability pension after moving to my wifes country of second citizenship.
The important thing to take from my story is the lone American bootstrap stories are nearly impossible in a society like found in the US without massive family or community assistance. America where even if the one spouse can keep his nuclear family together under psychological, societal, and financial stress there is not an easy way to deal with the actual debilitating medical issues. This doesn’t even touch finding a way to earn or make enough money to survive when tied down by not only the disability but also the distraction of pain and treatment hindering expensive retraining.
Good job Marc Roth, great job TechShop, but greatest job Marc Roth+Learning Shelter that combination is rarest and most special of all!
How can we turn this story into an boring, expected, non-newsworthy outcome?


As positive as this is, it feels a little patronizing to tell people that all they need is skills and they can start a business and live the American Dream. My hometown has a massive homeless problem, but it’s a problem made of one part mental illness, one part drug addiction, and one part racism. (It also does not have a booming tech sector.)

I laud any efforts to improve the lot of the homeless population, and there probably are some people who, given training and encouragement, can pull themselves out of homelessness and into the workforce, but that’s only the beginning. There needs to be something in place to stop people from being homeless to begin with, and to offer much more addictions support, besides the general needs of reducing racism and mental illness stigma. It’s is definitely no magic bullet.


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