Today at work a conversation started up about some of the local homeless who are seen regularly on the streets holding signs. Mostly asking for money, food, work for exchange or just simple personal supplies like soap and towels. A coworker commented about a woman seen recently sitting down, holding up one of these signs and talking on her cell phone. They were appalled that she had a cell phone and was asking for money. Of course I opened my mouth (usually to insert foot, but this time I had a point). I stated that there are companies and programs out there that offer free cell phones and some that offer plans for under $10 a month. She may be able to afford to pay that but rent, bills, groceries, etc are a lot more expensive. It is possible that phone is to keep up with loved ones and sometimes when going through such a hard time you need to be able to reach out, especially if she had children. Also, it's good for emergencies, if you're living on the streets or squatting from place to place you can definitely get into some serious situations. Someone commented that she was talking to her pimp or drug dealer. Which is possible too. But maybe a pimp is her only alternative way to get money and her dealer is her only way to get away from the nightmare she's living in.
It made me think. How do people like their homeless? Smelly, dirty torn clothes, missing teeth, dragging their bodies on the ground begging for food and water? Quiet hidden under bridges so they don't have to see or deal with them? Do we forget that people from any background can end up in this situation? It is possible to run into a homeless person wearing Prada it may be all the clothing they have, but they have it. They be clean, shaven, have good dental health, a cell phone, bike and "gasp!" even a JOB.
There has always been a way to end up without. Without a home and without the funds to acquire a place to stay. No one you can count on to help you out. Possibly a mental, drug or domestic issue that has landed you in a very difficult situation. Is it more difficult for society to want to help you if you look too "nice"?? -- the idea frightens me.
I wish we just helped others out to just help others out. There shouldn't be requirements on what you do with the monies I put in your cup and if I am caught up on that then maybe I should try to help/give if I can by giving food, water, soap, towels. "Get a Job" just doesn't cut it, it may have been easy for you and other people in your circle, but that does not automatically mean it is for EVERYONE. Now especially there are not enough jobs to go around and many companies do not want to hire older folks they want the younger people who will take less pay, less benefits and have more knowledge about how things "work" now.
So please take the time to think about that person you see who's down on their luck and though it seems like the answers to their woes are easy for you to grasp, don't assume it is for them and that alone is not a reason that they should suffer without basic life necessities and safety.
Light and love