May 15, 2018
We see more of them every day. They must not have faces because we don’t seem to see their faces. Often, we don’t even see them. We just see their encampments, their tents, their shopping carts full of their life’s possessions. We see their blankets, their bags of clothing, their thin mats to separate them from the concrete. And we see piles and piles of trash left behind as they traverse from one sleeping place after another.
We see the police officers talking to them about finding another place to live. We see social workers talking to them about assistance programs and healthcare offerings. We see a clump on the sidewalk or the alley or the bridge underpass or overpass, which is the body of a sleeping faceless person, a person that we wish would get away from our neighborhood and sleep somewhere else.
Think about this for a moment. I say a moment because that is all the time we wish to expend on this uncomfortable subject matter. Think about having all your worldly possessions in one bag and carrying it around with you day in and day out everywhere you choose to go or are forced to go. Think about being asked or forced to leave everywhere you find that you think just might be a place where you can live for a while. Think about having your bag of worldly possessions thrown in the trash every time you leave it unattended. Think about trying to find a place to use the toilet or clean up each day. Think about trying to figure what and where you might find something to eat and drink each day.
Think about finding a way out of your hopeless situation. How do you do that? “Get a job” say those who have no compassion for the helpless and hopeless, no understanding of what caused their homelessness or what kind of help they need to climb out of the undesirable, deplorable, inescapable, and intolerable situation. How can you get a job when you have no place to clean up, no clean clothes to wear, and no way to hide your unhealthy and undesirable appearance? How do you get a job when you have no transportation and no mailing address and no telephone number? How you get a job when you have no references and no recent employment history?
The authorities tell us there are 40,000 or so. I suppose the actual number doesn’t matter, especially when we are asking you to imagine being just one of them. But the fact that the number just keeps growing means two things. It means the problems causing no place to sleep and no place to live are getting worse and it means that we aren’t doing anything to solve the problems.
Those of whom we entrust to managing our lives in the city, county, state, and nation can’t seem to find any way to deal with all this. Of course, it is no small problem with one easy solution. But I don’t think you have to be a rocket scientist to understand that people with no place to live need a roof over their head. And you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that people who have nothing to eat or drink need someone to turn to for nourishment. And you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that everyone needs personal hygiene and healthcare.
It seems like everyday we see them breaking ground for another high-rise building for housing or for offices for our enormously successful corporations. Not many of us could design or build such structures, However, they seem to get built and at a cost, expertise, and difficulty thousands of times greater than it would require in figuring out how to house and feed those among us who need some help.
It seems that simply saying that we have our priorities in the wrong order would be so much of an understatement of the ridiculousness of this situation that it would be laughable. Unfortunately, this situation in not laughable. It is shameful, inconsiderate, and incomprehensible.
We purport to be a society, a community, a city, state, nation – but we find the challenge of taking care of those in need to be insurmountable. But then we find building a one-hundred story building or a gigantic football stadium for 100,000 fans to be a piece of cake.
Now, that is deplorable, disgusting, and inhumane to say the least. I am looking for volunteers amongst our fearless leaders to go live on the street for a day or so. Maybe they should all be required to go live on the street until they find a solution to this horrendous problem. That should get some immediate results. Quicker than you could say, helpless, homeless, and horrendous.
Think about it!