It isn’t hard to understand why efforts to help someone get their life in order before they have a place to live are doomed to failure. What’s the longest camping trip you’ve ever been on? For me, it was nine days and eight nights. The trip itself was glorious. We canoed down a wilderness river in the middle of beautiful canyons. Starry skies and bright sun were above us. We were well prepared with all the gear (and more) that anyone could ever need. In memory, it is one of the highlights of my life.
But if I think back about the reality of the trip, I also know that by the end we were dirty and smelly (in spite of our best efforts to stay clean). Our muscles were sore and we were tired from more than a week of sleeping on the ground. And, although we didn’t get to the point of any real blow ups, by the end of the trip we were beginning to find one another’s idiosyncrasies pretty annoying.
Even then, we did better than many groups do. Stories of fist fights breaking out on long camping trips are legion. Traveling every night and being away from the comforts of home places stress on people. That happens even when it’s voluntary and temporary. Imagine that it’s your whole life.