Methinks people don’t like to be reminded of the homeless among us or those imprisoned. It sets up a bit of guilt we’d just as soon avoid. I should know, I have a homeless brother who is 62 years old. He’s been in and out of jail. He worked as a carpenter all of his life until he had a stroke.
At a doctor’s appointment in Sacramento, Friday, I walked by three homeless guys with their baggage and a shopping cart. They didn’t ask for money, but I avoided eye contact with them just in case they would. I don’t feel safe, stopping, opening my purse in front of three obviously needy men. But it struck me that among themselves, all caught in similar circumstances, was a small community. They clung together, eating their breakfast of sweet rolls and coffee on the steps of a closed building.
My friend, Randy Vining, engages homeless people on a regular basis in his full time gypsy lifestyle. He states, and I concur, “It is a self-righteous and hateful spitefulness that… denies… minimal comforts to our fellow human beings. Needless suffering is a scandal to all who allow it.”
He makes that claim after speaking to the manager of a Mission in Eugene, Oregon that provides a secure locker, a day room to lounge and watch TV, with free magazines, haircuts, showers, food and a bed. The manager claims it costs a pittance to serve the homeless.
In my view, even if just the locker, showers and haircuts were supplied, it would provide a bit of dignity and hope to those looking to better themselves, or get a job, or a chance to volunteer to help others, or just relief from the downturns of life, whatever the cause.
Our cities and counties have the capacity to organize this community into a contributing group. Don’t each one of us have an inalienable right to place our weary bones on a section of earth without being chased away, no matter our circumstances?
People given a chance to contribute, can and will. Please take a couple of minutes to watch the video Ron Heinsma sent me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMOe_ZThDkc
Many years back, someone suggested building rudimentary street shelters and French style street toilets in San Francisco to help out the homeless.The powers that be decided the shelters looked too much like dog houses, “embarrassing”. The French style street toilets, a few anyway, did happen, if you have the change. Not free.
But, consider this bit of the milk of human kindness that operates under the radar, a heartwarming story sent to me by Jerry McClellan: http://www.snopes.com/travel/airline/airport.asp
Certainly if we have the capacity to provide businesses the means to earn billions, we should have the wherewithal to provide dignity to those who can no longer contribute. It is truly a scandal for a country as wealthy as ours to have people, including children, go hungry. And, to disenfranchise so many locked in jail, a wasted potential.