I wonder if we’d notice that there were no more people camped out under freeway overpasses. No more tents propped up against the chain-link fences surrounding empty lots.
I wonder if we would miss the people who stand beside freeway off-ramps holding tattered cardboard signs that ask for money, food, or work. Or if we’d wonder what happened to all those run-down RVs with the windows blocked by newspaper.
I wonder what it would be like if I had to live on the streets. If I lost my home because I received a pink slip at work and couldn’t pay my rent.
I wonder where I could find a safe place to sleep at night in a scary, violent city. In the dumpster behind a Walmart? No wonder so many people on the streets head to safer places like the beach, parks, and suburban neighborhoods.
I wonder what it would be like if I had two young children with me while I searched for shelter. No wonder many homeless families huddle in their cars, often their last material possessions. It seems much safer than staying in a shelter with 200 strange adults or, God forbid, letting their kids sleep unsheltered on the city’s streets.
I wonder what it would be like if homelessness was ended.
I wonder what it would be like if every homeless shelter and program had to shut down, not because of lack of funding, but because there was no one left in need of help. If all the shelter beds were empty because no one needed them any longer.
I wonder what the homelessness advocates and service workers would do. Perhaps they would become teachers, or County social workers, or firefighters, or international aid workers.
I wonder if this country could ever imagine, I mean clearly picture, a nation without homelessness. Maybe if we closed our eyes, and saw empty streets and empty shelters, it could actually become a reality.