Sometimes our efforts to battle homelessness feel like an uphill struggle, especially when society thinks self-portraits next to suffering people are part of a fun, adventurous game.
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But the answer to homelessness in this angelic city is right in front of us. We simply need to assign two millionaires to each person experiencing homelessness, and we are done. We could call it the “Two-For-One” program.
If we operate like Santa Claus receiving a wish list from an impoverished person who is looking for food or shelter, what do we do with the “naughty” people? Deny them food, shelter, and housing?
Deterring poverty and homelessness is about changing societal systems that manage homelessness instead of working to end it, and helping those who are already homeless get housed.
Sometimes, I wish I had a venue to scream a shout-out at the top of my lungs so that everyone could hear about the amazing people who are working to end homelessness for themselves and others.
In recent years, the approach to homelessness dramatically changed from how to “manage” homelessness to how to “end” homelessness. This was not merely an alteration of semantics, but a systematic change in how to allocate the limited resources that were spent every year on America’s growing homelessness problem.
People are starting to feel that the end of the recession is near, if not over. So, will empathy for people living on our streets be sustained?
Personal encounters always remind me of how the simplest seeds of kindness can dramatically change a person’s world. A community’s world. Your world.
Got a new idea of how to help people in need? Pursue it. That act of kindness just might change someone’s life.
When you think about it, the organizations working to help those people who are forced to beg on our streets really aren’t that different.
We, the benevolent caretakers of people hurting on the streets, do our own form of panhandling. We send out letters asking for money. We tweet and post our stories on Facebook, hoping they will inspire people to give a few dollars. We talk about the people we serve with generous philanthropists, with the goal of receiving a big check.
A federal judge recently ruled that hurting people in the State of Utah have the constitutional right to beg on the streets, based on the fact that these people have the right to free speech. Of course, they can not shout “fire!” in a crowded auditorium, but they can stick their hands out to ask for a couple of bucks for their next meal.
I’m sure business associations around the country are grinding their teeth out of frustration. They feel that beggars are an eye-sore and scare away bona-fide paying customers. Who really wants to have a beaten-up tin can shoved in your face on your way to Starbucks for a morning latte? Not Kim Kardashian, who was recently photographed ignoring a homeless man in a wheelchair begging with a Starbucks cup.