Many of the families and individuals that have the misfortune of finding themselves homeless in this city tend not to have been set there by the traditionally perceived reasons for homelessness, substance abuse and mental illness. Many of the people in this situation today were already living paycheck to paycheck in a state where Rick Perry boasts to have created so many jobs for his constituents he called it a “Texas Miracle”. Yet our great state also boasts the highest percentage of workers employed at minimum wage jobs. In the entire country, only Mississippi who is tied with TX, has such a dismal distinction.
The path to homelessness is a seemingly-fast and incredibly painful one. It humbles and shames the proudest, and tests the limits of faith and strength for even the most pious. So, when these workers, whose financial resources are already strained from supporting families, are injured, or a car breaks down, or they get sick, or they get laid off, or any of the myriad reasons, the effects snowball and often can take years to reverse. Time must be taken off of work, then sick days run out, or maybe neighbors and family members simply don’t have the resources to help pick up the slack. When there is no more family jewelry to sell, when wedding rings and inheritances have been pawned; when televisions and even couches and refrigerators have been sold. Bills become overdue. Overdue letters turn to collection and disconnect calls. Then come the eviction notices, the pleas to friends and family for shelter, and finally, for those with no other options, the streets await.
And even when these unfortunate are finally able to go back to work (contrary to what some politicians might have you believe, they would like nothing more than to be able to work and support themselves and their families) they often are confronted with condescending smiles, derison, and turned backs. Nobody seems willing to hire someone with the stigma of being homeless, nobody wants to rent an apartment to a homeless person, and unfortunately in today’s society, most would just rather not take notice of a homeless person. It’s always much easier to keep walking and checking your facebook on our phone or making plans for the evening.
Caring is much more difficult. It’s hard to give a dam about another human being and stop worrying about what your friends and family will think about you. It’s hard not to worry what the strangers walking by will think of you if you give a sandwich to a woman curled on bench. But the truth is, it really isn’t that hard. STOP MAKING EXCUSES AND TELLING YOURSELF IT’S NOT YOUR PROBLEM. Even if you don’t help A.D., help SOMEHOW. There are plenty of organizations that help the needy. Or maybe just make a few sandwiches and pass them out. But THIS IS THE WORLD YOU LIVE IN, CHANGE IT.