Crazy Sh!t Volume 2, 2016

And now for everyone’s favourite blog each quarter, the crazy shit I get asked and hear…


“We all know that housing first doesn’t work for veterans.”

Really? How insightful Volunteers of America dude in Florida. Your evidence to support this statement? Oops.


Igloos for homeless families. In Hawaii.

I experienced this when in Hawaii in April. Thankfully they are not made of ice. But still, spending $10,000 a pop to put fibreglass structures on a church parking lot sounds a lot like an innovation in search of a strategy.


“Sorry, we can’t stay. Plane to catch.”

Not a crazy statement, really, unless you consider that the same people that could not stay were then at the gate beside me at the airport six hours later.


“How can we go about setting up a contest for the homeless to name our next beer?”

Micro-breweries are often fun given their local nature. Sure enough, this Midwest outfit has been creating a stronger local beer that smells awful, which is why they think associating it with homelessness would be a good idea, even going so far as to have people that are homeless name it. Just wow.


“You should be killed. And you should be ashamed of yourself.”

In terms of those statements, I would like to think that feeling ashamed should be something you’d want me to consider prior to death instead of afterward. It is unlikely I will be able to feel anything once I am not living. Also, don’t ever blog about Tent Cities. A scary number of people thought I should no longer be on the planet as a result of writing that one.


“We all know evidence doesn’t apply day to day in the field when you are actually working with clients.”

Another gem from Volunteers of America when in Florida that I wrote down word for word. I have no clue what this statement means. That, or I have a very different understanding of “evidence”. Too easy.


“Two capybara escaped the local zoo. Do you think it is possible that the homeless ate them? There are some camps near there.”

I don’t know how large rodents escape from a zoo, person in Toronto. Nor do I fancy myself an expert on the hunting habits of people that are homeless when living in camps. But if an oversized rodent was heading my way I doubt my first reaction would be, “Lunch!”



“How dare they mess with people’s home!”

Again, not an altogether odd statement, except “home” was in reference to a shelter, and the statement came from the shelter’s Executive Director, pissed off that she was losing a state contract to run the shelter and that the shelter was going to start having a housing focus to its work. The eastern part of the country has some great thought leaders and programs. But this is not one of those great leaders or great programs.


“Our discipleship program has an over 80% success rate in helping people repent and recover from homelessness.”

Sometimes stereotypes about service providers in the South do not do justice to the truth that comes out of those various places. Homeless serving programs should be about housing, not about recruiting new disciples. And heaven forbid (pun intended) anyone actually look into how you screen people out of your discipleship program and what you expect from them in writing and financially in order to participate, otherwise some may have even more questions!

Iain De Jong

About Iain De Jong

One Response to “Crazy Sh!t Volume 2, 2016”

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  1. Rob Parritt says:

    Iain, this is always one of my favorite topics you post on. Trust me, you are not the only one hearing this stuff! Keep up the great work. All we can do is try and educate providers as best we can. Some will get it, some won’t.