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The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
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A place for intelligent readers
 by Frank Shortt
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 be true.
        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.
         His cane disappears at eventide and she is content as can be to sleep down by the riverside beside her chosen mate.