This morning when I got up it was so cold. I just couldn’t get warmed up and my toes were turning blue. I finally went in and took a hot shower. As the scalding water warmed me up, I wondered how homeless people cope with this bone-chilling cold, never feeling any warmth, to the point that it’s so numbing that they can’t have a cognitive thought about anything other than survival. Getting or keeping warm. Finding a place to sleep. Looking for something to eat. No wonder the last thing on their mind is relating to others with what we expect to be normal manners. For them, this is normal. How do they ever keep going?
With all of the cuts in the things that can help society, I expect that we will see more and more homeless people living in the streets and since Trump wants to ban abortions and eliminate birth control, we will have more and more street urchins as well, begging, pan-handling, stealing, vandalizing. Why does the GOP think this is better? And since they want to eliminate welfare as well, what are these people suppose to do?
Everyone seems to think that homeless and jobless people are there because the choose to be. Really? Why would anyone choose this as a way to live?
Many are people with mental disabilities who were thrown out of hospitals when some do-gooder decided it was infringing on their patients civil liberties to held against their will in state institutions. Now I know some of these hospitals were nightmares in and of themselves. My grandmother worked at Western and told me some of the horror stories of working with the patients there. But instead of helping them, they kicked them out of the hospital with no training on how to support themselves or deal with their illnesses.
Others are runaway kids who have decided that living on the streets was better and safer than being abused at home. When they are arrested, rather then help them deal with the trauma they endured at home, they just send them right back to it. The kids either runaway again or too often die at the hands of their families. Of course, not all kids who run away are abused. Sometimes it’s neglect, fear, or misunderstandings.
Then there are whole families that suddenly find themselves homeless due to a medical emergency that wipes out their savings and they can’t afford to make ends meet again. The first to go is their home, then their job and no where to turn to. Some become homeless after a disaster… a house fire, an earthquake, a tornado… and it’s nearly impossible to get back their feet.
Many are military veterans who came home to a less than stellar welcome, trying to cope with PTSD, unable to relate to civilian life or their families after the horrors of war.
Society and the government have done a terrible job in repaying these brave men and women who gave up everything to fight for their country.
How we treat these people makes a huge difference, but their numbers are growing and it’s going to get harder and harder to do anything for them. How many of us will join their ranks?
There are two songs that make think of this situation…
Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins and On The Turning Away by Pink Floyd.