I get it. I don’t kid myself. Homelessness is a smelly, dirty, often noisy, unpleasant, sometimes dangerous and at least scary element of thousands of neighborhoods and cities. No argument.
Some are homeless due to drugs and concomitant mental deterioration, some due only to mental deterioration, some out of a downward slide into hopeless poverty, some out of sudden, unforeseen circumstance.
While I hate the problem, recognize the complexity and do not know how to solve it; I can’t hate these people. Whatever the point of view each hold that keeps them on the street; they are each and every one of them human beings. Someone’s child.
I imagine the experience of having no shelter, no anchor, no place that is “mine” can erode one’s self respect, self esteem, view of the world. I can excuse the anger I encounter (as difficult as it is to deal with); it just makes me so sad.
Imagine having no place to simply shit. No place. Every day seeking an open bathroom, some retailer’s brave courtesy, being relegated to finding a space behind a dumpster or someplace where no one can see… And failing to find it in time.
Shame. Humiliation. Rage. Pain. Despair. This photo says all that with one image. Just toss the pants and give up.
My personal approach is to look each in the eye, acknowledging the humanity therein…sometimes deep and barely there…hoping at least to offer a sense of recognition – of being seen – as Human and present.
Sometimes, that can become an uncomfortable begging situation; but far more often it’s just a kind word and a nod from both of us. I can contribute that. At least.
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