As every homeless person knows Thanksgiving and Christmas guarantee meals. But with all the closures of libraries and other places where, frankly, we hang out to have a roof over our head, heat, and bathrooms, the holidays can also mean days of being uncomfortable, hungry, and sick.
Those of you who have never been homeless might like to think that it's like an extended holiday trip to live in a RV or VA or your car, like going camping. The difference is, there is no home to go home to. A break down. Finding parking spaces - the police identifying you as homeless and harassing you to move on. The metal cold and damp.
Those of you who have never been homeless probably thank your lucky stars - or God - and those of you with empathy probably think "There but for the grace of God go I." Others of you avoid us. Avoid looking at us, talking to us, thinking about us. You deny that loosing everything - or a whole lot - will ever happen to you.
Think of all those people who lost their homes in Paradise, California fires. Thousands of buildings went down. Those people woke up the morning of the fires never imagining that they would loose everything - and some lost their lives. Some will never be found. As we hear about how thousands of former residents of the town are now far flung in other California cities, we wonder how they got there, if relatives took them in, and if they will ever be able to own a home again.
Blessings to those who have opened their homes and hearts to those in need.
Natural disasters everyone understands as a crisis. It is personal crisis that lands many into homelessness. Health issues and expenses. Unaffordable rent. Divorce. Death of a partner. A car accident. The bite of a black widow spider. One paycheck away from homelessness because the rent is too high to actually save for a rainy day. Job loss. The death of a parent or caregiver. Out of foster care.
Yes, some homeless are mentally ill and therefore cannot cope with life and their circumstances. Homelessness can also make a person mentally ill. It's a stressful existence.
And so here we are the holidays. Watching news about the immigrant caravans coming to the United States.
WE WONDER. WHY NOT HOMELESS PEOPLE - AMERICANS - FIRST and then legal immigrants?
Yes we have heart. We do. It's just that our very lives are so much about finances - affordability - and so we think maybe the United States cannot afford to support the people in these caravans if it cannot afford to support us.
Senior Citizens who worked most of their lives who can't get into senior buildings with long wait lists.
The lady who lost a leg to diabetes and can't give up her dog.
The man whose car was totaled by an uninsured motorist.
The woman who got run over.
The molested girl who ran away to Hollywood.
However, what Tulsa Oklahoma just did - inviting people to apply to live there - 25 people to be given $10,000 each - providing they are self employed or telacommute - we think is the wave of the future. Put it this way. If there are affordable living cities willing to take homeless people - well - provide the transportation and the apartments. Some of us - more than you may realize - are willing to work at something. There may be physical limitations to consider. But most of us would rather earn than be totally dependent on government funds.
Something to think about, anyway.
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