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by Frank Shortt
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2016 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
There are several ways a person could be homeless. A cold dark, house with no family in
it makes a person feel homeless.
A person who is unloved is certainly homeless. Right now we are dealing with the hardened homeless
who really do not want help, except what they can panhandle or receive occasionally from a homeless shelter or rescue mission.
I volunteered at the San Jose, California Rescue Mission for a period of about fifteen years in the nineteen seventies and eighties.
There were men there who would stay for days on end helping out with any menial job. All of a sudden, they would disappear for several
days without notice. When I questioned, one in particular named Floyd, he told me that most of the men on the streets were like him.
They liked the security of being in a warm, safe environment, but then ever so often would creep in the urge to roam and go on a binge.
At one time Floyd had a loving family in Nebraska. He worked a steady job, brought in a paycheck, but saved enough out to buy wine
or liquor whenever he chose. This was his downfall as a parent.
She said she came from
Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. She had been born to a Mexican/American family somewhere on the west coast. He was a native
of Vietnam who had come to America at a young age. He would not commit to the fact that narcotics had played a part in his being on
the streets. He catered to his soiled, precious dove, like a queen, with his sparse goods. She seemed to care a lot for him as they
stood in front of the Goodwill Store panhandling for whatever they intended to buy with the money, probably cheap wine.
I asked, “Where do you sleep?”
“Down by the river” she replied.
“How did you both arrive at this condition”, I questioned.
Noncommittally she replied,
“Some drank alcohol, some did drugs, but we mostly drink wine to keep warm!”
“We have no
place to stay since our families have kicked us out,” the man said mournfully for effect.
There are millions out on the streets like this couple in all U.S. cities. Their strength is gained from the one they have chosen
to live with. Sometimes they do not get the best advice. Like children, they have made bad decisions not thinking how much it would
affect another person, and especially their families. Sometimes their hurt is so deep they cannot dwell on anything but that.
Who, or what, is to blame for this chaos? There are many factors: some are mentally ill or as sometimes called, bipolar. Why work
if you can lie around playing sick and continue to survive? Some are from broken homes. Some have only one parent, who works all day
leaving the children to fend for themselves. Bad chromosomes are blamed for a lot of these being on the streets.
Far too many of these, so called, homeless do not want any ethical or moral help. They are satisfied to roam the streets by day, picking
up whatever they can panhandle, drinking wine with their cronies, and then retiring to wherever it is warmest at night. There must
be schools out there teaching these folks the most effective way to play upon the emotions of their intended victims! Some have been
observed leaving a nice apartment in the morning, ending up on a busy street corner with old, dirty bandages wrapped around their
legs. Some arrive at their chosen places of business in a wheelchair, later to hide it away as they count their booty. One man was
seen to arrive in front of a donut shop every morning walking on crutches. Later in the day he would be seen ‘fit as a fiddle’! Several
people had bought him coffee and donuts. Upon questioning this strong, healthy appearing man why he felt he needed to panhandle, he
had a standard answer: “I’m waiting on a settlement from the State Compensation due to an injury I got while working!” This could
When Governor Reagan of California closed the mental hospitals around the State,
many patients, of varying degrees of mental prowess, were released on the streets. These same people are some of the ones sleeping
on the riverbanks, panhandling for food and clothing, and being a nuisance to the general public by their unethical bathroom habits.
These homeless ones have gone far beyond their ability to make decisions. Who pays for this? As always, we the middle class pay, and
in two different ways. First, the government of California taxes us to be able to help the down-and-outers, paying for useless committees
to figure out the problems. Secondly, we are the ones who feel sorry for the panhandlers and give them money for their cheap wine.
Do we broaden the problem by enabling this behavior?
This leads one to ask himself: Are
these people really homeless as supposed? They have a home, of sorts, on the riverbank, that they seem to love! I suppose the answer
lies in an individual’s point of view, and according to their social standing.
cane disappears at eventide and she is content as can be to sleep down by the riverside beside her chosen mate.