18
Feb
08

119. Veterans, Compassion, Charity, Foreclosure

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Dear Readers:

I was reading in a friends’ SLOHomeless’s  blog about a woman and her kids and a homeless man with a backpack. It is a story about how the woman became downcast and made a wide swath around the man, while the child said “hello” and “bye” to the homeless man with the backpack. It has been something I have experienced in my travels and feel compelled to expound upon.

I have sat under trees in parks and watched people make wide, off-road trails around me and my backpack, just because I was in my 40’s, alone and had a backpack with a sleeping bag. It did not matter that they did not know me; it was the outside image. It did not matter that I was outwardly well groomed and clean.

Homeless people represent an underlying fear of what could be.

It represents a past history in this nation of when stock markets have collapsed and many lost all. It was common for families to have been living on the streets of this nation, standing in food and soup lines, living in shanty towns….well back to the present.

We look at a man in a Santa costume by a red kettle ringing a bell, and gladly drop in our spare change. We look at a man or a woman, with a shopping cart or a backpack, and we look down or away, tightly grip our purses and wallets, speed up our steps and hurry past the homeless criminal menace.

Why do we blame all the homeless citizens of this nation for their plight? It is not as if, as a nation, we have made great strides in dealing with homelessness. Actually we have made greater strides in ignoring the homeless. This is so we do not feel as ill at ease when we see “Homeless Vet – Please Help”.

I recently commented on an article where businesses are afraid to hire veterans because of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), to include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). That we are now unjustly discriminating against our veterans, driving them into poverty and then into homelessness is a national disgrace.

That we allow our municipal governments to cattle drive our homeless out of our city limits, to create ordinances making it illegal to be homeless, to drive those in need away from the services set up for them is inhumane.

One does not have to be a Christian to have compassion. A scary fact that stood out in the 2007 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (a statistic they managed to put in somehow) was that over 15% of the homeless had been HOMEOWNERS or RENTERS in the three months of the survey. That equaled over 105,600 of the 704,000 homeless they counted. I wonder how they managed to think that the numbers of homeless managed to stay level. That statistic in itself showed over 100,000 new homeless people and / or families in just that short amount of time.

With the lack of affordable housing in the United States, and the majority of households spending close to 50% of their income for housing, how soon will it be until you and your family might need some compassion?

Wanderingvet

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