I had a conversation the other day with a woman who sees the world with blinders on. I say this because she is one of those people who was born with the proverbial silver spoon clenched firmly between her rosy baby lips. She grew up sheltered and every once in a while she says something to me that makes me say something back that really makes her think. Take for example one day when she and I were discussing the homeless and she said,”I could never talk to one of those homeless people on the street we have nothing in common” My reply was a simple “how do you know that if you have never tried?
That homeless person could be the greatest guitar player you ever heard, he could be a rockin’ accountant or an amazing mechanic, or the best animal shelter worker in the world if people stopped passing him by because they had labeled him “homeless” if he was given a job instead of a social label he would also be given a chance to become a contributing member of society..
We say we want to help the homeless, but I really don’t see much actual useful help going on. Firstly, we only start hearing about the plight of the homeless when the weather starts to turn cold. You all DO know they are homeless year round right? Yet it seems no one cares about the homeless until October when the wind starts chilling and we know winter is just around the corner.
What homeless people need is help to find housing, and jobs, and a place in the community again. They need help in preparing for job interviews or finding schooling that will help them to get better paying jobs. They need their stories told because only by understanding the myriad of reasons why and how people become homeless can we hope to end it.
Normal working class people in this country can understand how someone could become homeless. Most of us live from pay check to pay check these days. Many of us are just a few pay checks away from homelessness happening to us. Yet still society labels homeless people as those who do not want to find jobs and would rather live on the streets and panhandle than get a job, or as drunks that can’t afford housing because they drink up their pay check as soon as they get it.
My Mother always used to say something when she saw homeless people on the streets before tossing them some loose change, she would say “There but for the Grace of God go I” I know I don’t usually quote my Mother but in this case I must because now in this day and age I could just as easily be among the homeless, it is with the grace of God that I have a roof over my head, and so suddenly my Mother’s words make perfect sense.
But I have gone off in a babbling direction haven’t I? When what I am really trying to say is we must start doing more for the homeless than merely bringing them in out of the cold during the winter months. Not that churches and community groups are not trying, they are and God bless them for it, but I think the government needs to step up and help solve the problem of their fellow countrymen’s homelessness. Everyone should have a home.