Friday, April 17, 2009

homelessness: why?



Does the problem of homelessness bother anyone else? There is so much I don't understand.

Why is a homeless person homeless? Do they want to be? What do they want to see in their lifetime? What do they see, hear, and understand that we don't?

Is homelessness simply a societal problem? Is it so simply that we haven't figured out what to do to fix it? (Preliminarily, no... but perhaps this will provoke some conversation.)

What resources do exist in Portland, in the United States, that the homeless can take advantage of? Are they being taken advantage of? And how is that different from the rest of the world?

What does a homeless person expect on a day-to-day basis? What is their take, and their reaction to their circumstances and surroundings?

Here's a loaded set of questions: What happens when they ask for money? Or for anything, for that matter? As a Christian what is my response? Do I concern myself with the powerful, repercussive effects of that gift, or do I hand it over without a second thought?

Send in yer verses... All the ones I have read talk plenty about the poor (whom I've also heard referred to as "the less fortunate"), so that leads me to my next question: Are all homeless people simply less fortunate, or is that path they have chosen? And what of it? Does that matter?

Only one thing is really for certain in my mind, and it's that I'll live unsettled until I figure out what God is looking for me to figure out here.

7 comments:

Heather Ruiz said...

St. Matthew 25:40
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my bretheren, ye have done it unto me.Is it not the Lord's counsel that we refrain from judging others?
Of course, I should point out the story of the Good Samaritan.
Kindness is not lost in the eyes of the Lord.
The obvious solution is to provide housing, food, job training and assistance, healthcare and counseling for the homeless. All of which have been done, so where is the system failing?
The answers are numbered in the millions, and so are the solutions.
Perhaps where we are failing as a society is in the lack of assistance to those also on the verge of homelessness. Why should we wait until it gets to that point before the charity begins to roll in?

Colin said...

Is it not the Lord's counsel that we refrain from judging others?

Yes! You are right.

...so where is the system failing?

Right, where is it failing? And is it just simply that the system we have created in society is failing? Or, dare I ask, are there people that do not want assistance reforming from homelessness?

Perhaps where we are failing as a society is in the lack of assistance to those also on the verge of homelessness.

If you had time I'd love to hear your ideas for this.

josh said...

Our capitalist society is specifically designed to push those that lose hope/lose sight/get trapped to the bottom (whether that be drugs, abuse - physical or emotional, or -insert problem here-). The obvious result is discouragement, which is cyclical, once you are stuck in a loop of despair, you begin to lose everything. The bottom is a hard rock to land on, but I do know - there are many who prefer it. Those that do not simply are so low that they cannot see beyond there immediate conditions (and, their immediate condition is to survive. not to move up the capitalist ladder- at the bottom, there is no ladder. they need a rope and a hand.)

That's how I think of it. That said, I've had friends who train hop and paint graffiti on trains all over the USA. They hate living indoors for more than a few days at a time. These people don't use drugs, but they DO have a networks of friends living in their condition and supporting them. This network I believe is both the rope, the hand, and the ladder.

I saw this post a while ago and it's been on my mind since. I figured I'd go ahead and give my response. I consider homelessness a social disease- however, there is and never will be a silver bullet for this problem. There will always be homeless people, out of pure capitalist necessity (as heartbreaking as that is..) and I believe the answer is NOT shelters (though they help), or giving them change, it's giving them love. Period.

But alas, we are a visually stimulated culture. We look down on those who are not like us or who are not beautiful. This is the shitty part of humanity. I do not know the answer.

Anonymous said...

I have been homeless since 2004 mainly because of difficulties finding employment after 9/11 and the homeland security act which allows employers to "discriminate" against aplicants by checking thier credit files and other things.
For me it is finacial, I am applying for SSI since I've given up hope of finding a full time job with the unemployment rate so high. Plus where is the job security? In my view it is not worth it anymore. I am 44 and have become jaded and cynical towards it all.
I stay at a shelter because they impounded by vehicle which I used to live in. The shelter does help keep you alive but again what is the point if there are no new job opportunities. Also you must possess a skill set that takes years to aquire.

Anonymous said...

well. the image i saw, the man with the dog in his lap.
there is so much pain. too much.everyone must know that it is not always illness or addictions that pushes you into being homeless.
i am 56, divorced after 30 years,single and healthy moved back into my ex's home after loss of work (a company that sure promised me a better future, then systematically cut days and hours off us all in 2009)
i have not found work to sustain me; be self supporting, make enough to even get an efficiency apartment.
my ex, after a year here, is now pressuring me to leave so that in this year he can move his elderly mother into the home.
while here, i have been productive and helpful,and i have no addictions or mental health issues.
i need work that supports the effort and expertise i put into it~ and it is not forthcoming.
my ex has been giving, but he wants me out.
soon.
so many reasons, hundreds of reasons homelessness exists in america.
my name is mare, and i thank you for this opportunity to speak

dipeshndharawat said...

I WILL BE HOMELESS SOON AS I AM NOT WORKING IN THE BOMBAY CITY. I HATE TO WORK COS I WAS BADLY BEATEN BY THE POLICE, BY THE PEOPLE AND MY OWN SPIRITUAL PARTER PRESSED BOTH OF MY HAND NERVES FOR 30 MINUTES AND MADE ME FALL ASLEEP FOR 1 HOUR ON THE STREET. AT THAT TIME I FELT TOTAL DIS SATISFACTION FOR ALL THE PEOPLE AND WHOLE WORLD. AND EVEN ANIMALS. GOD KNOWS WHY THIS IS HAPPENING ONLY TO ME. HELP ME.

Colin said...

For my brothers and sisters leaving these comments, I hope and pray that things get better for you soon!