Ongoing discussions and comments.
Yes, there are still a lot of people discussing what happened. I’m still not sure which details are factual. But there are still these things that have remained constant. He never bothered anyone. He never asked for money. He didn’t approach anyone unless motioned for. He is a homeless veteran. His dog, his service dog, is dead. Because of someone’s thoughtless actions.
The thing is, as sad as this is, the incident has opened up conversations about homelessness in our area. We’ve seen them. We’ve seen them with their carts filled with all their worldly possessions. We’ve seen them sitting outside of stores. We’ve seen them standing in various spots with their cardboard signs. Maybe we give a dollar, maybe we pretend not to see them. Maybe we discuss ways to help, or maybe we complain about them. Maybe we try to assist, or maybe we think we have to call the police.
I saw a video that a truck driver shared of under a highway over pass in California. End to end campers and trucks. End to end cars and trailers covered with tarp. Slightly better than a tent, somewhat more safe, but still not a real home.
We’ve all seen the reports of homeless encampments that have been complained about and the city moves in to clear it away. Clearing away all of the worldly possessions of a homeless individual or family, does not suddenly correct the issues, it does not suddenly flip the individuals from being homeless to having a home. It simply makes them have absolutely nothing.
We can do better. We need to do better. We have to do better.
The need keeps getting greater. The number of people who have become homeless has grown. It will continue to grow. The economy has caused many to lose their homes. Many places are hiring yes, but most places need the applicants to have an address. There are so many issues that are part of homelessness. There are many different causes to homelessness. It is not a quick fix.
But we can help.
We can donate those good used coats, jackets, sweaters, gloves to individuals or to organizations that would actually see that they went to the individuals who need them. Inexpensive blankets can be purchased, as can food stuffs that can be easily handled and is nonperishable. It isn’t all about the money, its about the humanity.
I do know that there is a lot going on that has our attention, our fears and concerns. This event though, this terrible event, has got us talking. It has our attention, our thoughts and our concerns. Homelessness is not just the problem of the homeless. It is our problem as well. Those out there in the dark, in the cold, in all manner of weather, are people. We need to remember that, we need to open our minds and our hearts and do what we can in every way we can to help them. Calling the police to have them removed may get them out of your sight, but that won’t solve the problem. Here it should never be out of sight out of mind.
It should be, I see you, I hear you, I feel you. Let me open my heart and do everything I am able, to help you. The conversations are going, people are outraged over this. But lets move beyond talk, lets do something. Lets accomplish something. Lets make and be the difference, for a dog no longer here and a man who misses her.