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Consider the Universal Living Wage

Homeless Life in Santa Cruz, CAIf you’re within hollering distance of Austin, here’s the thing to know: Tomorrow, on November 20, the author of Looking Up at the Bottom Line: The Struggle for the Living Wage! will meet with the public at First United Methodist Church, from 2 to 4 PM. The address is 1201 Lavaca Street.

Richard R. Troxell is the founder of House the Homeless. At this event, he will give a talk and sign his books. The proceeds, needless to say, will go to the people experiencing homelessness in Austin. Last week, Richard was in Philadelphia, the city where his activist path has begun, lecturing and signing books at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice.

Veterans Day, November 11, was chosen as the official publication date, to emphasize the fact that a very large proportion of the homeless community is composed of the ex-military people who are not getting from the government the care they need and deserve.

The struggle against homelessness has consumed 30 years of Richard’s life, first on his own behalf, and always on behalf of others. When his situation has improved, he didn’t turn his back and say, “Well folks, it’s been interesting, but homelessness is no longer my problem.” Instead, he formed an intention that could not be diverted, and put his very strong character and considerable talents at the service of this intention, with results that have helped Austin remain the humane and civilized place that so many have known it to be.

Looking Up at the Bottom Line is full of stories of triumph and defeat, tales of frustration, sorrow, and hope. It’s interspersed with character sketches of people experiencing homelessness, people not that different from the folks next door. It contains a number of ideas for improving the situation, including one big idea: the Universal Living Wage.

Immediately, some people shout “Yay!,” and others shake their heads and mutter, “No way.” Here’s a suggestion: Look at the man’s reasoning, and understand what the concept of the Universal Living Wage is all about. He says it’s a workable solution to economic homelessness in America. What if he’s correct? That would be a thing worth knowing, right? And if you have a better idea, don’t keep it to yourself, because an awful lot of people are waiting to hear it.

Meanwhile, check out what the book has to offer. Just because you take the time to understand it doesn’t mean you have to vote for it. But it does mean that you’re a little more well-informed than the average Josephine or Joe.

The lecture and book signing event was also announced by Austin360.com, and others. Thanks, everybody!

And thanks, Rhonda Lee of KXAN, for telling the people who could not be there about the 18th Annual Homeless Memorial Sunrise Service on Sunday the 14th. Richard read out the names of the 159 people experiencing homelessness who had died in Austin in the past year. Say what? That’s not a misprint, I checked with Richard, who says,

[…] 159 this year (2010). Last year (2009) it was 158.

Lee passes along a quotation from Richard’s talk:

We are willing to work until our fingernails crack and the tips of our fingers bleed. We are the believers. We believe in equality and opportunity.

And here are some heartening words from Laura Morrison, a member of the City Council, who also spoke at the memorial service:

They may have been invisible to many people in their lives on the streets, but today they are not invisible to us.

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Source: “Lecture and Booksigning by Richard R. Troxell,” ImpactNews.com, 11/10
Source: “Helping the Homeless and Hungry,” KXAN.com, 11/15/10
Image by Franco Folini, used under its Creative Commons license.