Crazy Shit Volume 1 2016

The crazy shit blogs were amongst the most popular and most requested in 2015, so by popular demand, I continue to share the weird and wonderful that I experience in my pursuit of ending homelessness.

“Do you wear the same t-shirt every day?”

No. I just happen to have a lot of black v-neck t-shirts. But thanks for thinking my wardrobe is the most important subject to talk about in our training on harm reduction.


“How do you get new money to fund the programs that will work while still funding and keeping the programs that don’t work happy? HUD seems to be asking us to do the impossible!”

Short answer, you don’t. HUD doesn’t ask you to keep people happy. HUD doesn’t say you have to find money for new programs while continuing to fund and support programs that suck. Maybe a little reallocation is in your future.


“We are thinking of printing off the photos we have taken of people when doing their VI-SPDAT and then using those to get individual sponsors like they do at PLAN for sponsoring a child in the the 3rd world. Because we got the photo from the VI-SPDAT function, do we need to add the OrgCode logo to the pictures anywhere?”

And this is when I face palm and audibly gasp, “What the fuck.” And while I want to yell when staring at my inbox, I calmly type, “There is no need to put our logo on the photo. You should probably check that you are legally allowed to take photos and do this and that all appropriate consents are in place.”


“When are you guys going to have a VI-SPDAT for the pets of the homeless? We want to start delivering that training and use that tool. We know there are some people with really sick pets, and if we look at the pet issues we should be able to help the person get into housing faster.”

This is why some people become suspicious of the tools and their intended use. Some people think there has to be a VI-SPDAT for absolutely every single scenario that may be presented. I can say quite honestly that we will never have a pet VI-SPDAT.


“What is the appropriate multiplier on any section of the VI-SPDAT if we want to make that the focus of prioritization in our community?”

Not sure why any organization or community thinks you can add a multiplier. If we have said it a hundred times we have said it a thousand times – THERE ARE NO MULTIPLIERS!!! So if you want to prioritize based upon Wellness then look at the total score of that area rather than the aggregate score. But you cannot start messing with the scores.


“Is felching common amongst homeless prostitutes?”

Felching questions have been coming up too often in my work. Seriously, there seems to be about one during or after every training we do on harm reduction on housing. If you don’t know, felching is when you suck semen out of your partner’s anus. Men can do it to men. Men can do it to women. Women can do it to men. A woman could do it to another woman so long as there was a man involved in the liaison. Your welcome.

Felching being raised so frequently makes me believe that there are some people with unresolved felching fantasies. I agree, it is probably awkward to ask the person you are in a committed relationship with that he or she will suck semen out of your butt, or if you can suck it out of theirs. Got it. But asking about people that are involved with sex work that are homeless whether or not it happens a lot leads me to believe you are hoping to purchase the “pleasure”. I have conducted no polls on the practice of felching amongst people that are homeless – involved in sex work or otherwise.


“What is the safest number of children in a Tent City?”

Zero. And not that you asked, but the safest number of adults in a Tent City is also zero.


“My staff don’t seem happy now that we are housing people so rapidly. Should we slow down the housing process so they can get to know clients better first? Do you have any studies about how that might improve morale?”

Let me get this straight, staff are unhappy because people are not staying homeless long enough? Maybe it is time for some new staff.


“I drink more than the consumption thresholds in the SPDAT and I do okay. Seems a little judgmental to me that you want people that are homeless or in our PSH programs to drink less than the staff do each day. I thought you guys were all about empowering people with harm reduction and stuff like that?”

We did not come up with the consumption thresholds – they come from SAMSHA and CAMH…you know, experts on addiction and dependence and consumption. And if you surpass the consumption thresholds? That is your choice. No one is judging you. Just like no one should be judging the people you serve by the amount they consume. It should tell you how to support them in their use – or if they want to reduce or stop, how to help them in that way.

About Iain De Jong

Leader. Edutainer. Coach. Consultant. Professor. Researcher. Blogger. Do-gooder. Potty mouth. Positive disruptor. Relentless advocate for social justice. Comedian. Dad. Minimalist. Recovering musician. Canadian citizen. International jetsetter. Living life in jeans and a t-shirt. Trying really hard to end homelessness in developed countries around the world, expand harm reduction practices, make housing happen, and reform the justice system. Driven by change, fuelled by passion. Winner of a shit ton of prestigious awards, none of which matter unless change happens in how we think about vulnerability, marginality, and inclusion.

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