Sleeping & Camping

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

October 22, 2009


Categories: Family

A person in a sleeping bag
Image via Wikipedia

In a previous post I mentioned that my Grave’s Disease has come back.  The hormone levels didn’t even take long to get out of range.  I am already feeling the difference: my handwriting isn’t as controlled, I’m not napping as well, I’m not sleeping as well, and I feel more jazzed up.  So, my doctor prescribed another Beta Blocker for me.  Last night was the first night with this new Beta Blocker and I slept.  Sure, I had to read a bit to calm my mind; but I slept.

Today’s Oregonian discussed how Commissioner Nick Fish hopes to ease the camping ban for our city’s homeless population, especially since the coler weather is coming along.  Sleeping.  How much of us really think about sleeping?  I would venture a guess that many of us take it for granted, but when pressed we’d answer something like, “Oh ya, sleep it is important!”

I’m reminded of the importance of sleepign with the return of my Grave’s Disease.  When I can’t sleep, or I sleep fitfully I tend to be crabby during teh day.  I’m not as patient with Levi or Peter.  I don’t want to get dinner together, I just want to veg and get the rest I didn’t get the night before. Now imgaine if you didn’t have a home.


You, for whatever reason, have no other place to sleep except what patch of grass you can find.  Finally, you find what you deem to be a secluded place.  You curl up in the found sleeping bag, huddling under and zipping up, hoping to be undisturbed in this city park.  You began to doze.  Just as you start to enter your much needed REM, you are poked.  “Sir (or M’am as approrpiate), you can’t stay here.”  You learn there is a city ordinance that prohibits your sleeping.  You aren’t addicted to drugs, you aren’t harassing people, hell you aren’t even asking for money.  You’re just trying to sleep, and you can’t because the city where youa re has decided that sleeping in public is against the law.

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 20:  A man wears a hat i...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

So, to abide by this city’s 10-year plan (now half way through), one commissioner has stepped up to cease the ban on camping.  We aren’t providing 2

4 hour shelters.  God knows there isn’t enough affordable housing here.  So, what else are people to do with a 12+% unemployment rate.  What are we doing to people when we prohibit sleep?

We’re doing them a disservice and we’re failing to treat people equally.  Sure, the law says no one can sleep outside in city parks (or whatever the specifics are) but how many people with homes are affected by the law?  Zero, 1%?  Fortunately, there are groups and people that are working to bring back affordable housing and eease this inhumane laws.  I learned of one last night at the Community Alliance of TEnants Annual Member Meeting.

The Western Regional Advocacy Project is hosting a march 5 days before an on President Obama‘s State of the Union Address (January 20, 2010).  Sisters of the Road will be participating by bringing folks down by van, all expenses taken care of, to rally the legislators, people along the way, and the President for affordable housing.  The goal?  Bring back funding to the levels they were in 1978 before the funding got cut by more than 50%.  What was it then?  More than 83 billion dollars dedicated to affordable housing.  What is it now?  Closer to $30 billion.

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