shelter & co
When Residents Take Ownership, A Mobile Home Community Thrives
A neighborhood in Minnesota is proving that there's a potential solution to run-down mobile home parks: The residents banded together democratically and purchased their community.

Typically, the companies that own mobile home parks also own the infrastructure, and the less money they spend maintaining it, the more profit they can make. Housing specialists say that’s one of the main reasons why many manufactured home parks look worn down and scruffy — like Park Plaza did before they formed a co-op.

Many people love to blame the bad conditions in most trailer parks on some sort of pathology of the residents, but if you give the residents control and more power over their homes and cut out more landlords, things dramatically improve.


This is my beeb Jasmine,

Adopted from the Genesee Co. Animal Shelter in Flint, MI and she is the sweetest bean. (They told me she was a lab, but I think we all know she’s a mixture of pit bull and something else. She’s very small for a lab or pit bull so if you have any guesses I’d love to hear them!)

She was introduced to the new arrivals at the shelter to gauge their friendliness and I fell in love as soon as spotted her.

She enjoys:
Snuggles, car rides, snoozing, playing fetch , and remote controllers.

She hates:
Complete silence, being ignored, the wooden grate in the corner of our kitchen floor, and tall men/strangers

talesfromcallcenters: "I'll shoot up [street] and myself if I don't get into [shelter] tonight!"

Names and locations have been changed to protect the hopefully innocent.

I used to work for a homeless shelter hotline that was part of 211. We would take down people’s information, then do the best we could to get them into the shelter that they wanted. We couldn’t always guarantee it. Understandably, some people were upset when they couldn’t get into their shelters.

This guy takes the cake.

CALLER: “I’d like to go to [shelter].”

Co-Worker: “Certainly, we can see if the shelter is available. Can you give me your name?” Takes client’s name, walks through diversion list

At this point, I get a call and tune my co-worker out until I finish. When I finish, she turns her chair around to work with me.

“Hey, I have a question.”

“Go ahead,” I said.

“This guy just threatened to shoot up [name of street] and himself because he couldn’t get into [shelter] tonight… Do you think I should call the cops?”

At this point, I turned, fully stared at my co-worker. She has her MISW in counseling and knows the laws/stuff better than me.

Me: “He threatened a specific action at a specific location. You need to report it.”

Co-worker: “But it’s dark out. There won’t be anyone there.”

Nice try. The area he mentioned was a well-known place where many people changed busses. There WOULD be people there. “That’s where people change busses and they’ll be changing them in ten minutes. Go call the cops.”

“If you’re sure–”

“Call. Them.”

The cops went out, I don’t know if they found anyone, but I did tell my boss later about what happened. It didn’t surprise me at all to learn she’d later gotten fired, although not as a result of this incident.

By: writeandknow


Looking to add some spice to your life? Try Salsa!

Yes, I’m Salsa, the hot and sassy girl with the fabulous ears who’s ready to kick your humdrum existence up a notch!

I’m at Bergen County Animal Shelter in Teterboro, NJ, where they know me only as pet number 25. Talk about dull!

I thought “Salsa” was a much better fit, but when you call to find out all about me, just go along with their silly numerical obsession.

The number is 201-229-4600, or you can email

Get ready to stir some flavor into your daily routine!

Love ❤️ forever,


PS, know what else would be awesome in this recipe? A dash of reblog!

talesfromcallcenters: Man: "*Fine! I guess we'll just be homeless in a year!*"

(A couple called into the shelter hotline, hoping to get a place together. Unfortunately our shelters didn’t offer that option for a male / female couple. After explaining that to this guy, he replied with this:)

Man: “We were really hoping to be able to stay together.”

Me: “Unfortunately our shelters aren’t coed, so I can’t do that-”

Man: “Then we’ll just sleep in a tent like we’ve been doing. I told her that they couldn’t help us.”

Me: “Well, there are two fielders shelters within a block of each other, I know it’s not the best situation but would you consider that?”

Man: “Maybe, but I have this tent and I don’t really like shelters and she doesn’t either.”

(Me: okay… So you called us for what exactly? Suddenly a light bulb goes off in my head.)

Me: “Sir, there are no coed shelters available but there’s some places that help with getting you guys a place-”

Man: “Oh we’re not homeless yet. I got another year on this house. But then we’re going to be homeless.”

Me: “Um -”

Man: “So you can’t help us then.”

Me: “I am not sure what you need, Sir - you called a shelter hotline?”

Man: “I want you to put us on the list for one year from now.”

Me: “Unfortunately I can only put you on the list if you need shelter today.”

Man: “Fine! I guess we’ll just be homeless in a year!


Later that day the wife called. They needed help with finding marriage counseling classes which had nothing to do with finding emergency shelter in their situation. At least she was easier to understand.

By: writeandknow

@Trans men

Stay. The. Fuck. Out. Of. Womyn’s. Shelters. 

Womyn go there to ESCAPE from men. The last thing they need is a creepy dude lying about being a chick amongst them. Go to a co-ed shelter or find another way to work out your problem, but stay. away. from. womyn’s. shelters. 

Every time one of you enters a womyn’s shelter you’re taking up a space that could go to a trans womyn in need who CAN’T because you’re reinforcing the very much wrong idea that female = presence of a natal front hole. It sucks men don’t have shelters, but that isn’t my problem. You T bros make more money than trans womyn ever will. Figure something out. If you can stick together to oppress trans women then you can stick together to keep each other housed.

TERFS need to stay out of womyn’s shelters too IMO. Most of them are “dysphoric lesbians” (AKA straight men) now a days it seems, but even if they aren’t they’re a danger to womyn, especially the rare trans womyn who might be let in because they blend as cis well enough. All trans women deserve to be in womyn’s shelters. That includes pretransition trans women as well. Doesn’t matter if she’s 6 feet tall with linebacker shoulders and a beard. She’s a womyn, and cis womyn have no reason to be uncomfortable with another womyn’s presence except for violent transmisogyny. 
National Aboriginal Day prompts reflection on what's changed, what hasn't

A lot has changed since the federal government began observing National Aboriginal Day on June 21 two decades ago, but more remains to be done to improve the lives of Aboriginal people in Quebec, community leaders say.

Events today aimed to recognize and celebrate the heritage and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Ellen Gabriel, a longtime Mohawk activist, said celebrations in Montreal and across the country are “a great signifier of good intent and good will” on behalf of Canadians.

However, progress has been slow at the provincial and federal government levels, according to Gabriel.

‘A long way to go’

There a number of issues she would like to see addressed, from following through on the recommendations laid out in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to more Aboriginal content in the provincial school curriculum.

“I think education is key to fighting racism and dismantling colonialism and changing the vernacular,” she said.

Systemic racism remains a problem in the province, she said, pointing in particular to the allegations of abuse facing Sûreté du Québec officers in Val-d'Or. 

Gabriel, who has been involved in Aboriginal activism since the 1990 Oka Crisis, said it’s not out of the question another such conflict could bubble up. 

Last month, some Mohawks in Kanesatake raised concern the prospect of a housing development on disputed land in Oka could stir up another conflict like the one that shook the province 26 years ago. 

“Things on the surface look like they’ve changed but, in reality, not a great deal has changed,” Gabriel said.

“We have a long way to go with respect to decolonisation.”

Signs of hope

In the view of Nakuset, another prominent Aboriginal activist, there are signs of hope. 

“I think that now indigenous people are stepping up to the plate. They are creating their own projects, they’re getting educated, they are the ones making change,” she said.

“Instead of getting weaker, we’ve been getting stronger.”

The executive director of Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal and co-organizer of National Aboriginal Day for Montreal, Nakuset also spearheaded a new training program for Montreal police officers. 

The program is part of a larger agreement signed with by police Chief Philippe Pichet last June. ​

Making connections

Timothy Armstrong, another activist and Kahnawake radio host, said the Idle No More movement, which gained traction in 2012, helped activists across Canada get connected.

While Idle No More events no longer draw thousands to the streets, there are now Facebook pages linking Aboriginal activists across the country, where people share information and organize events.

“People think it has gone away. It hasn’t gone away,” he said.


In May I went to the Dekalb Co. Animal shelter to photograph rescue pitbulls for a story by Tom Junod (of recent controversy) about the state of pitbulls in America. The shelter had about 150 dogs and over 80 percent of them were pits. I had such a great time on this shoot, even though it was total chaos and a dog peed inside an apple box. Thanks to Deb Wenhoff and Michael Norseng for such a rad assignment and Dan Depew for the assisting/dog wrangling/ good company. Go adopt a pitbull!


Lost Corgi after car accident on I-90 at milepost 327 between Bozeman and Livingston, MT. Details below! Please signal boost if you’re in the area!

“His name is Ronald, he is very friendly, mostly red with a little white on his face and neck, has lots of hair. His siblings are all safe and sound at the Stafford Animal Shelter and the co-owner will be driving up for them in the next few days. Thanks everyone for keeping your eyes out for him. It’s a good reminder to travel with your pets in crates, all the crated pups were unharmed and safe.”

A friend of mine recently asked me why my favorite book shop in the world is one I’ve never visited …

Last night following the horrid events in Paris, the staff of Shakespeare & Co. gave shelter to 20 customers. Not surprising at all, they have been looking out for strangers for a very long time.