posted on Aug, 20 2005 @ 03:46 PM
My husband use to be homeless. He has given to them when he could. He did try to start a drive to provide food and clothes to them and gave right out
of the van. The drive didn't work out so well though, since we didn't have the money to keep it up and there weren't too many who would support it
in our former church.
He has learned alot about the homeless. He knows there are panhandlers who are actually wealthy. They are the ones who are more than willing to
approach you with a sob story asking for money. He told me the ones who really needed the help tend to stay in the background and invisible as much as
He said you always have to build a trust. The ones that would come for stuff really were not that needy. The more times he came around, the more they
came out of the woodwork so to speak. The ones who really needed food and clothes would come to get some. They knew he wasen't there for some
alteritor motive. Many homeless are actually afraid to ask for anything.
He has taken the time to locate them in our area, and has actually talked with some for a lenghty time just walking and talking. He has found out
there are many types of homeless, and in many different types of situations. Some are recently homeless, the ones who were just a pay check away from
the streets. Some have mental disorders. Some have a place to stay, but do not have money for food or other necessities.
Homeless shelters are only temperorary. Many can not stay past six months. You would be suprised how many don't trust the shelters themselves. Some
shelters have very strict policies that the homeless just don't want to deal with. Some shelters you can only be in the shelter during certain times.
Others you have to be at the shelter before a certain time such as 8 or 9 pm to be able to sleep there that night. How many homeless actually have a
watch? This does not help any with a person who could have found a night job, or one working the grave yard shift.
Six months is not enough for many to even try to get their life on track. When my husband lived in a shelter, he found a job working in a grocery
store. It basically paid him enough to eat, and buy some other necessary items. It wasen't enough for him to be able to move into an apartment
though. He didn't have time to build up the first months rent, last months rent, and security deposit that most rentals require. Affordiable housing
is a problem for these people. How many can actually live off a Mc Donald's job being able to pay rent, utility bills, car expenses, food, clothes,
and other necessaities? His real dad finally relented and let him stay with him for awhile. Thankfully he was able to find another job, and rent an
apartment before his dad kicked him out.
There are those who have basically given up. They lost their job, home, spouse, children, or something that was very important to them. There are
those who are mentally distrubed. They have no where to go for help. He told me about one man who was a little bit distrubed, but had a very bright
mind. He talked about one lady who lived in an apartment, but couldn't afford any utilities, and slept on the hard wood floor. He was able to obtain
a mattress for her though. He talked with another who could stay with his parents, but he couldn't stand them. Then whether or you hear it or not,
there are those who have children. They are the ones who need the most help, but are the most secertive for fear of social services. We have never ran
into any. I suspect they have others they trust to "panhandle" for them. Some of them could be fathers, but never say a word about their wife and
One really can't classify the homeless. Yes some are bums, but others are there due to misfortune, lack of jobs, lack of affordiable housing, and
etc. Shoving these people under the rug will not help. The welfare system that is set up, doesn't help them in any why either.
The US truely does not have a system to really help the homeless as they need to be helped. Many think that all they need are the homeless shelters
will help them. Just give to the shelter, and they will be fine. The shelters only are able to help a fraction of the homeless. Those who are rich
panhandlers are not helping, and actually really hindering the help of those who really need it.
Most thinking that they are just bums, no good low lifes, junkies, and alohoics doesn't help them either. I imagine some resorted to drugs and
alochol after becoming homeless to escape their reality. True help is needed. Free housing, food, and medical care is needed for those who really can
not get their life back together. A very hotel would be good for this, add staff and security. Low cost housing is needed for those trying to get back
on their feet, and can actually find a job. Many people can't find a job, because they don't have a real address to give to their potential
A real solution is needed. Those who would provide a real solution, don't have the money to do so. Those who do have the money could care less.
I honestly think that people who make less than 25,000 a year give more, because they know better what it is like to struggle. They are the ones who
are more likely to be a pay check away from the streets.
If you don't feel comfortable giving a homeless person money, go buy them some food. Ask what they need, and get it for them. Sometimes it is the
simple and inexpensive things like gloves, underware, socks, a hat, soap, a washcloth, or even toothpaste.