in the town i live in we have a tremendous homeless population. the largest field artillery army base is the hub of commerce here, and we have ppl who are no longer able or willing to be soldiers living on the street. now not that i think a solider is a better person say than a dope fiend, i don’t have any illusions of that whatsoever. i do know that the stand the military takes on ptsd is way behind the times and they refuse to acknowledge the horrendous shit that ppl who have been to war experience. they excuse them from military duty, bc of physical and/or psychological issues that become too pervasive or bc of their way of dealing w the stuff they have seen or done. alcohol and drug addiction in the military is tremendous.
we also have a large portion of the homeless who are displaced ppls from the katrina hurricane. after losing all their belongings, family, homes, animals, jobs-the stuff we take for granted-they live huddled in blankets behind buildings. there is one woman i am friends w who lives at a bus stop. this last christmas she was attacked by ppl in a car who shot her over and over again with paintball pellets. nothing was done about that…she still wears the clothes w holes and paint from that night. it was a running joke around town with the bruises on her skin as the punchline.
the homeless shelters here are horrible! understaffed, over populated and you can only get a bed a certain number of days in a row. if you are a queer person, a trans person, or a cis woman, you don’t go to the shelters-it is too dangerous. queer youth who are kicked outta the family for being queer have very little hope of finding a family to take pity on them and going into the system leaves them at the mercy of the state to decide where they will live, the state that has outright called them “abominations”, so from my experience there is little urgency in the actions of bureaucrats when it comes to these kids. hopefully they will have someone, anyone, to take them in. when they don’t you see them in the park trying to make enough money to eat. you see them walking into the library covered in bruises, you see the cops turn their back on the violence and sexual assaults that go down.
the common mis-belief that homeless ppl are less than adequate is one of the more damaging ideologies that we perpetrate in our mighty capitalist land. i have heard ppl scream at the homeless and hold money over their heads literally saying things that equal “now don’t you go and buy crack!!! you look like you smoke crack!!!!” well, if you lived in a bus stop, would you really hold sobriety as an important value in your life? if you had dreams about killing children do you think that finding a way, any way, to escape that is a moral deficiency? i personally expect the ppl i come into contact w to buy drugs and alcohol w the money they get. i think they have earned it: crawling through dumpsters to get cans to recycle, smoking cigarette butts that they find in public ashtrays, dealing w dicks hitting them or belittling them, not to mention they know ppl think they are bad, they themselves think they are bad, less than. so i try, when i can, to deliver hot food to ppl and i give them money to get whatever else they need to get. i try to take the young women tampons and pads. if i can scrounge money together i will get them socks.
when we lived in maine, the town we lived in had no homeless. as a matter of fact you will see homeless ppl in the large cities but never in the rural communities. the town we lived in, the citizens won’t let ppl go wo. there is a couch or a space for anyone somewhere. ppl help ppl bc they are ppl, we are connected, and turning your back on someone no matter who that someone is does something damaging to your soul.
there are a few churches that will use feeding the homeless as an opportunity to minister to ppl. i kinda have a problem with this. for the most part, it’s not really a listen and agree or we will not give you food deal, so i mean that is cool, but if the homeless were to show up to sunday service i wonder how many parishioners would squirm in the pews. for the most part it seems like instead of helping ppl for the sake of doing a good thing is an afterthought at best. i see ppl/churches help ppl bc they want to be recognized for doing it, they advance their agenda or inflate their ego “LOOK AT ME OVER HERE HELPING THESE PITIFUL PPL OUT!!!! GOD, I REALLY HOPE YOU ARE WATCHING!!! I AM DOING SOME AMAZING SHIT RIGHT NOW!!!! HEY!!! LOOK I GAVE THIS GUY A DOLLAR…o yeah by the way, can i get a receipt for that?”