While looking at real estate in Oklahoma, it is apparent why homelessness in not so prevalent there. It is probably similar to many other places in America. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that this region and a few others are not so similar to the rest of America. After all, there are more of those places than there are of these. They are what is more normal. This is not normal.
It is easy to imagine that harsh climate would be a deterrent to homelessness. It probably is to transient homeless people who migrate to climates that are more conducive to homelessness. However, there really are not many homeless people who are transient, even here. Almost all homeless people live in their respective Communities, where they were before homelessness.
The cost of living is more relevant to homelessness than climate. There are not as many homeless people in Oklahoma simply because rent and real estate is so much more affordable there, even relative to the lower regional average of wages. Many more people who want to purchase a home can. Just about anyone with an average job can afford the regionally inexpensive rent.
Another dynamic that is not often considered is that people in Oklahoma and many other regions can live on their own property, even without what would be considered to be a habitable or ‘compliant’ residence. Those who own property might live in recycled mobile homes that may not comply to local building codes. Some might live in less than that, rather than be homeless.
There would be so much less homelessness in some parts of California if that were possible here. Some of the homeless in Felton own undeveloped and otherwise useless parcels that could accommodate all of the few who presently remain homeless here.
The first storm since spring left more than an inch and a half of rain by the time the sun came up on Wednesday morning. Rain that started with the second storm that arrived this morning, and is still falling as I write this, is expected to continue through Monday, followed by showers through the foreseeable forecast. The dry summer is over. It is now officially the rainy season.
Are we concerned about those lacking adequate shelter? Well, of course we are. It is terribly uncomfortable and potentially dangerous to be out in the weather when the weather is like this. Those who live out in forested areas are vulnerable to falling limbs and trees, as well as potential flooding. While cold and wet, it is more difficult to recover from illness, or just avoid illness.
However, the situation is not as bad as it could be, or as bad as it was years ago, when there were many more of us without homes, and lacking resources. This season, there are fewer of us lacking shelter than there have been in a very long time. The same resources that have always been available are still there for those who need them. More of us have resources of our own.
We must still watch out for each other. This is just the beginning of what will become a more difficult rainy season. When it does not rain, it will likely be cold. That is just how weather works. At least we happen to live in a relatively temperate climate. It does not get as rainy as Western Washington, or as cold as Minnesota. We will get through it as well as we somehow always do.
Perhaps, this year, we will get through the rainy season even better than we typically do.
Wasn’t that what the forecast was? There was a 9% chance of precipitation over night? I know it is difficult to say. With all the modern technology available for such predictions, such figures change constantly. Regardless, most of us don’ t take a 9% chance of precipitation seriously. It rarely means anything, and even when it does, it is rarely more than a few drops off the eaves.
Realistically, what came through early
this morning was not much more than a few drops off the eaves, but it
was enough to remind us of what time of year this is. Pleasantly warm
and dry weather is predicted through the week. In October though, the
weather can be expected to slowly get cooler and wetter. It is
impossible to say when it will rain next, but we know that it will.
Fortunately, there are very few of us
who presently lack shelter. Those of us who are living outside are
reasonably outfitted to do so. If necessary, tarps and a bit of dry
bedding are available from where they are stored. We can always get
more. Homelessness is not easy, particularly as summer becomes
autumn, and then winter. We do what we must to get through the
We are also very fortunate to live in
such a remarkably compassionate Community, and within such a mild
climate. The resources that are available to those of us who might
need them are provided by others in the Community, most of whom live
in homes and are inexperienced with the difficulties of homelessness.
Not many Communities are so generous and compassionate.
Of course, the climate helps too. We need not contend with the severely cold and snowy weather that other regions experience during winter. After the earlier drizzle, the sky is already clear.