Homelessness isn’t a novel phenomenon in the area where I live. Nearly every busy intersection has street corners occupied by people with signs asking for handouts. They’ve been there for years. I prefer to give food versus money, and will generally offer it if I have something available in my vehicle. I once handed a young man a piece of fruit, a kiwi. He tore into it ravenously. It’s hard to witness that and then go home to comfort.
I worked with homeless veterans for 2.5 years. One-quarter of the homeless population is comprised of veterans. It’s an abominable black spot on a government that gleefully sends young people to fight their wars and then forgets about them when they return home war torn and forever scarred, or walking wounded as they’re often referred.
Of late, I’ve been keeping dollar bills close by, putting them into outstretched, empty hands. A few days ago a dollar to a man who said he was trying to gather enough money to to take the train home. One dollar to the unkempt man sitting on his belongings in the cold morning fog next to a steamy Dutch Brothers coffee kiosk. He hurriedly, to beat the green light, ran to the passenger side of my vehicle when he saw me offering him money. His face lit up. He thanked me profusely and said “god bless”. It was only one dollar, so little for me and so much for him. Last week a man in a wheelchair outside a health food store where I shop. A dollar in his hand. Nothing for me, so much for him. If you’ve not experienced the joy of giving, try it. Donate time, money, food or winter clothing. It will warm you much longer than an over-priced latte.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. Mother Teresa.
Homelessness rising as economy slides
Homelessness and demand for emergency food are rising in the United States as the economy founders, a report said on Friday, and homeless advocates cautioned many cities were not equipped for the increase.
A survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors showed that 19 of 25 cities saw an increase in homelessness in the 12 months to October, while four reported a drop and two cities lacked enough data for conclusive results.
On average, the cities in the survey saw a 12 percent rise in homelessness, the report said. Although the results do not cover all U.S. cities, homeless advocates said they were in line with anecdotal evidence nationwide.
Homeless advocates say families are flooding homeless shelters across the United States in numbers not seen for years, camping out in motels or staying with friends and relatives following foreclosures on tens of thousands of homes during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
The rest of the story can be read HERE