Last night I drove home from a trip off-Island through heavy holiday rush-hour traffic. While this is not unusual for this time of year, it has been clear that there are many new friends to the Island who have decided to call this ‘home.’
What is a home?
Those of us who know our Island well will tell you that home is where we find sanctuary and peace, but it is also the place where we gather strength for all of life’s challenges and rewards. We bring forth these rewards to the whole community from a deep place of love, respect and gratitude.
But this entire system breaks down when someone is homeless. That extreme place of crisis is not a solitary event. It injures everyone.
Dec. 21 is National Homeless Persons Memorial Day. On the longest night of winter every year, communities around the country organize events and prayers to remember those who have died from lack of shelter and care. In this way, together, we strengthen our resolve to work for a world where no life is lived or lost in homelessness.
Here on the Island we have three programs, operated by Harbor Homes of Martha’s Vineyard, that serve our unhoused community. These include an emergency winter shelter, hotel respite, and residential housing.
May each of us celebrate the abundance all around us with loving remembrance for our neighbors, those of us who are new, those who have departed, and those needful of our help.
Mason is a member of the Harbor Homes board of directors. –Ed.