My windows are like any other windows. They protect me from the elements. They let me see outside. They get stubborn streaks of dirt that I need to clean.
I even have carpet, with a chocolate brown color that easily hides footprints and spills.
But this is not my home.
I live in a vehicle. I search for parking spaces hidden in safe suburban neighborhoods and hope that people won’t notice me sleeping in the back seat at night.
Sleeping in a vehicle may be better than sleeping in an alley, but it still isn’t a home.
For some people, their front door is a flimsy piece of vinyl with a fabric tie used as a “lock.” It keeps the people outside from being able to see in, but someone with malicious intentions could easily open the door.
The floor and ceiling are vinyl, too. The windows are just screens covered by flaps.
But a tent is not a home. It’s a temporary dwelling for people visiting a KOA campground.
Some people may feel lucky to have a real door with a lock and key.
They may feel lucky because they have real sliding windows, even if the curtains are faded by the sun or stained by cigarette smoke.
Lucky that the shag carpet, although dirty, keeps the place warm. It’s better than a vinyl tent floor or, worse, the cold concrete of a city sidewalk.
There’s even a bed in which to cuddle up with pillows and a blanket.
But a motel room is still not a home.
Anything temporary is not a home. Cars, tents, and motel rooms are not solutions to homelessness. They may be better than sleeping under a bush in the park, but that doesn’t mean they are homes.
We cannot end homelessness with solutions that are temporary. People experiencing homelessness need something real. Something permanent. Something they can call home.