Homelessness Does Not have Anything To Do With Me. Oh Doesn't It?
The longer the economy suffers and jobs become harder to find the more this personal this subject becomes.
What exactly are we talking about here?
With the economy uncertain and corporations hurrying to make as much money (oh excuse me, they are trying to stay 'solvent') as they possibly can the subject of homelessness hits home for many of us. Even if you have not been close to losing your place in society you may have seen others who were affected.
People who have been affected are all around us these days. If you look directly into the faces of the homeless people you see flat expressions and dull eyes but if you speak to the people you will find many who have just recently come to the streets. If you talk to the people you may find many are just a few years or less away from a conventional lifestyle. Many have children or teenagers with them and some of the teenagers are lucky enough to have minimal pay jobs. Even with that as a help, however, minimal pay does not pay for a place to live or food to eat.
Many cities have soup kitchens, others have community food banks and all have places to sleep. Places to sleep if you get to the door in time is the fine print. You cannot leave your belongings inside the house and there is no gaurantee the place will even be available from night to night! Think of this, if you are alone or just with your spouse and a family with chilren is in back of you, would you give up you place to let them go into the house for the night?
Would you consider living outside for an extended period of time?
What has our government done about homelessness?
The Obama administration has focused on helping families, specifically women and childen, who are homeless. One county in California has seen a decrease in the number of homeless families but an increase in the number of single homeless persons keeps the numbers relatively high.
This same article talks about the need to put all homeless persons into their own home as the first order of business. This makes one wonder where were these people when the homeless lost their home in the first place. Do they think homeless people come into the world without a place to stay? Do they not realize that the most important thing, the true first line of business is to get a job? After all, that is how they lost their home in the first place; they couldn't find another job!
Giving every homeless person or family another place to live is not the answer, at least not the first answer. They had a home before they had to walk outside after all. Giving them a home could result in increasing despair and anger. If you were homeless, no job, no income how would you react if the Big Brother magically gave you a new home? Would you gush and give thanks or would the following enter your mind; where were they when I begged for help in keeping my home in the first place?
The most depressing information concerning homelessness is learning the truth about who has and who has not in America. The subject is not touted as the most read or heard, probably due to the content, but it is information that is pertinent to our times. Graceonline mentioned this link on another article about homelessness and reading it in full is guite a learning experience. Everyone knows big corporations control the government but everyone also has hope and faith that someone or a group of someones will come along to change things. Realizing the amount of money that is in the hands of so few people is worse than depressing, it takes the desire to improve ones own situation right out of the equation.
So what is the answer?
Is there an answer at all?
I am not suggesting we start a revolution. That would be the worst thing to happen. Not because of the chance of violence, not because it would draw people into the governments line of sight but simply because we are the only ones we can depend on to do something. With the amount of money held by the wealthy they will remain secluded and safe behind all their money and working people will still be the ones to pay the piper.
You want to know why I keep referring to homeless and all other people as "working people?"
Because regardless if someone is "outside" or safely enscounced "inside," their 'work' is just making it from one day to the next.
The first thing to do is to realize the wealthy are not going to help, they will not change, they will not share. There are probably no philanthropists in their ranks. The only way to change our circumstances is to do it ourselves. Start small. Volunteer at a commuity food bank or a soup kitchen. That is definitely a way to broaden your mind about what being homeless entails. Seeing young people waiting patiently for a plate of food will destroy any illusions about the homeless being bums, all men, crack addicts or freeloaders.
Add a donation, even small change, to your grocery bill. Many grocery stores have this option when you check out. Just like Petsmart but the change goes to humans instead of animals.
Write an article about the situation to enlighten other people.
Bring up the subject at Sunday School or Synagogue ot Meeting. So many religious organizations raise money for good works overseas, how much good would be done if that money were spent less than twenty miles away from the religious establishment?
Finally, just be informed yourself. Try to put yourself in that situation, mentally, and think about what it must be like to have everything you know stripped away. Hopefully you will never have to endure such fear but if it leads to one person helping another person it would be an exercise well worth experiencing wouldn't it?