Choosing a cause for Valentine’s Day was easy; I went right to the one everyone is currently ignoring.
The plight of homelessness has always been in the back of my mind, especially as of late because there are so many of them. You might wonder how this happened, and of course, if you look back in time you will see it all began with one word: deinstitutionalization. This was done by the federal, and state governments across the country, and the consequences of this action have had vast repercussions ever since. And that is just part of the problem, add in the lack of housing for our returning Veterans, something the government also used to supply years ago, think Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan which is a large, post-World War II private residential development that was built to house the returning World War II Veterans. When was the last time someone built one of those? Then of course, you have the cost of living in general.
In today’s economy there are many among us who are one paycheck away from losing everything, and don’t think for one minute that it can’t happen to you because it can.
Each and every displaced person on the street today was once like you, and I, they had a life, a job, friends, family, a bit of money in their pocket, hell some of them even had a lot of money in their pockets.
People don’t chose to become homeless – I mean no one says, “Oh, when I grow up I want to be homeless.” It just happens, sometimes quickly, sometimes over long periods of time through loss of work, injury, a divorce or devastation from a fire, hurricane or earthquake.
Not everyone is there because they are lazy, and don’t want to work. Actually, it’s just the opposite, but they become caught in a vicious cycle that traps them on the street with no way out.
I think its important to see our displaced neighbors as the human beings they really are, so next time you pass someone living on the street ask yourself – What would you do if one day that happened to you?