Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Mad Housers

The Mad Housers

"MAD HOUSERS Inc. is an Atlanta-based non-profit corporation engaged in charitable work, research and education. Our charter outlines our goals and purposes:

* To provide shelter for homeless individuals and families regardless of race, creed, national origin, gender, religion, or age.
* To develop low income housing for people in need of housing.
* To help people develop the skills and knowledge for constructing and rehabilitating housing and shelter.
* To increase the quantity and to improve the quality of housing in the world.
* To act, if necessary as an advocate for the homeless, to ensure that their moral and civil rights are protected.

The Mad Housers believe that if a person has a secure space from which to operate, they are much more capable of finding the resources to help themselves."

The Mad Housers provide a unique service to challenge the evergrowing problem of homelessness within Atlanta. Their temporary shelters provide individuals with a chance to regain a sense of dignity in a situation that so often chips away at one's self worth. Some may argue that giving temporary shelter to someone is counter productive to encouraging someone to actively pull themselves out of poverty, the Mad Housers refute this, "Some may think that we make life too easy for homeless by providing them with shelter. Trust us, even with the shelters, homelessness is no picnic. The huts are a tool to help the homeless survive and hopefully, eventually, prosper, pure and simple. The is no problem that having no place to stay can help."

The shelters are built within "camps" so people can once again enjoy both the benefits of communal living and the benefits of privacy. The ultimate belief of the Mad Housers is that by giving someone protection from outside elements, you're giving them the chance to empower themselves to a better standard of living.

Monetary donations are accepted through their website as well as donation requests of building materials and used cell phones. Or you can pick up a few things from their cafepress site.

If you're in the metro-Atlanta area, you can volunteer directly with the builds. "All you need to have is a willingness to work, and a hammer. If you don't know how to swing a hammer, don't worry: we'll teach you."

And if you're not in metro-Atlanta, contact them for information on setting up a chapter in your own city.

No More Deaths / No Mas Muertes

No More Deaths

"No More Deaths is an organization whose mission is to end death and suffering on the U.S./Mexico border through civil initiative: the conviction that people of conscience must work openly and in community to uphold fundamental human rights. Our work embraces the Faith-Based Principles for Immigration Reform and focuses on the following themes:
• Direct aid that extends the right to provide humanitarian assistance
• Witnessing and responding

• Consciousness raising
• Global movement building

• Encouraging humane immigration policy."

As of June 21, 2009 there have been 94 migrant deaths in the Arizona desert since October 2008.

No More Deaths was formed by diverse faith-based and social activists groups who saw the situation faced by Mexican and Central American immigrants to be a morally repugnant and intolerable crisis. They see illegal immigration as the by-product of a system of economic imperialism in Latin American countries. On the ground they provide food, water, and medical assistance to migrants in the Arizona desert but they also monitor US operations on the border and seek to change current US immigration policies to a more just system.

What's really unique about No More Deaths is that it works as an umbrella organization to help multiple groups network and fight for the same cause. Whether Catholic, Unitarian Universalist, sectarian or other, all are united to ensure a stronger voice yet diverse enough to provide unique viewpoints and approaches to such a complex issue.

Dollar donations can be made through their website but supplies can also be made to their PO Box. Personal hygiene, first aid supplies, and nonperishable food items are all in high demand.

Volunteering is the most important thing you can do if you're in the Arizona area, especially during the hot summer months. No More Deaths provides opportunities as an alternative Spring Break program, full-time volunteer work, and recently weekend positions.