Two items in my email inbox caught my eye today. They both dealt with the meaning of "home." I thought I would share.
The first item came from the executive director for the Homeless Alliance. I sit on their board of directors and we are building a new resource center that will bring providers into a "one stop shop" setting. We will have some fence panels that surround that property and they will be decorated with art from local sources. Here is what I received from him today:
"The first completed art panel for the WestTown Campus public art project was delivered this morning. It was done by the students of Taft Middle School, a substantial portion of whom are themselves homeless or formerly homeless. The title of the piece is, "Home is Where Your Heart Feels Safe."
How fantastically COOL is this?!?!?"
The second email came from one of our own NAHB economists, Elliot Eisenberg, regarding Joplin, Missouri. It too, struck a chord with me -
"Recently I was to give a talk about the economic impact of home building in Joplin, MO. However, a few hours before I landed, a devastating tornado destroyed 2,000 buildings and heavily damaged one-third of the city, including the hospital, high school and many neighborhoods. In all, over 120 persons were killed.
The most poignant part of natural disasters is hearing survivors talk about rebuilding their destroyed homes and neighborhoods. Few cry over other destroyed property; such items are more easily replaced. Yet, people grieve when surveying a destroyed home. This is because homes are repositories of memory and because homes speak to the importance of place. Thus, the profound desire to rebuild persists even though moving away may be easier.
Joplin has suffered immense physical and psychological damage. And home builders will take their part in helping to make these communities whole. In my speeches as an economist I regularly report the number of jobs created and the amount of tax revenue generated by home building. But those details miss the larger point. What rebuilding homes in Joplin and New Orleans and Memphis does is offer people and communities hope about the future and comfort that they are part of it."
These two emails once again reminded me the importance of "home" to those who don't have one, to those who have lost one, and to those who should count our blessings to have one. May you enjoy your home and all those who fill it and make it home, this Memorial weekend.