Helping St. Louis

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Archive for the ‘Homeless’ Category

What’s up with mocking the homeless?

Posted by Schevus on March 25, 2009

I normally do not like to draw attention to bad posts, but this post pushed me over the edge on this topic. I realize this post is intentionally overblown and inflammatory, but I have seen several serious posts along this line recently. When did it become popular to publicly disparage and spout hatred against the homeless?

The big issue lately concerns homeless people having cell phones. Apparently some people view this as the most egregious offense a homeless person can commit. Let us evaluate some realities:

  • Homeless people do not have a home! Therefore, they cannot have a land-line phone. If they have a job, it is often important for them to have a way to be reached and since they cannot have a land-line, a cell phone is the other alternative. If they are seeking a job, it is also critical for potential employers to be able to contact them. This can be done through shelters and other social service agencies, but often employers are wise to this and may be prejudiced not to select a homeless person for a position.
  • Being homeless is dangerous! Violent crime rates are extremely high amongst the homeless population. In addition to this, the health of homeless people is generally poorer than normal. Thus it is important to be able to summon help in the case of a medical or other emergency. Having a cell phone also enables homeless people to stay in touch with social services, making their transition off of the streets easier.
  • Some families will provide a cell phone to a homeless family member in order to be able to stay in contact with them.

As you can see there are very real, practical reasons for a homeless person to have a phone.

I also find the derogatory and stereotypical attacks on homeless people in that post to be absolutely disgusting. This is one of the most vulnerable groups of the population, and includes a large (and growing) number of families and children, not just “hobos, winos and bums.” The homeless need and deserve our help, not disdain, stereotypes, and insults.

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Stories From The Homeless

Posted by Schevus on January 7, 2009

I have found a unique series of video interviews with more than a dozen homeless people. The series is called Invisible People. Watching and listening to the stories of these individuals gives you an inside look at homeless life and all of the problems and issues they face. At the end of many interviews, the interviewer asks the homeless person if they had three wishes what they would wish for. Many of the answers will surprise you!

I have a couple of other tidbits to pass along on this topic. I have also recently found the blog of a 16 year old girl who is chronicling the story of her and her mother being evicted from their apartment and struggling with sudden homelessness. Her blog is Anywhere But Here. Because of her blog, their plight has achieved national news coverage and many people across the country have committed to helping her and her mother. This is a heartening story of the good the online community can do.

Lastly, a fellow wordpress blogger has been sharing the contents of a journal written by another homeless teen found in an abandoned house in Canada. Her blog is Bittersweet Dish. She has a couple of posts stuck to the top of her blog, so you will need to scroll down past those to get to the journal posts.  Some of the contents of the journal are graphic and very emotionally taxing, so fair warning.

Check out these resources for an eye-opening look at homeless life. If you are not moved to aid this cause after doing so, I would be very surprised.

Posted in Homeless | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »