The Second Chance

Posted: September 4, 2007 in Compassion, Discrimination, Homelessness, Misconceptions

Several days ago I published a post called "One Tree. Four Sons." In that post I mentioned that I liked trees and I talked about one tree in particular that I happen to see quite often.

Yesterday, while reading the SLO New Times, I came across a small article called: "Mission Floss Silk Tree Will Likely Be Moved." The article was about a tree that stands right outside Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. It seems that the tree is causing a bit of a problem because it’s overgrowing the sidewalk, the Mission walls and the Mission stairs. So the tree has to go.  

What I liked about the article was that everyone agrees that the tree shouldn’t just be cut down and destroyed. Rather, the tree will be moved to another location, but will remain on the Mission’s property. That gets four gold stars in my book.

But before everyone starts patting the city on the back, I should point out that the funding for the project will not come out of the city’s pocket. The Hind Foundation, a local philanthropic organization is going to be footing the bill. And, that give the Hind Foundation four PLATINUM stars in my book.

One of the things I thought about after reading the article was how it would be nice if someone did the same thing about helping the homeless in our community. It’s obvious that the city has no intention of trying to find some solution to reduce the numbers of homeless in our community other than by passing ordinances that penalize the homeless for being homeless.

It would be nice if someone would step up and find a way to "transplant" the homeless from living life out on the street and being outcast to a place back into the mainstream community. That to me would seem to be a win-win situation.

Now, I realize that not all homeless persons want or can be reintegrated back into the community, but there are those who would like nothing more than to be "regular" people once again. However, every door of opportunity seems to be slammed in their collective faces – and all because people are stuck in a mind set that says: "All homeless people are alike: their all drunks, drug addicts and derelicts." And, that’s just not true.

I know quite a number of homeless of are trying to get off the street. They are struggling just to get by day after day. The odds are against them because, as a community, we refuse to even believe that there is a remote possibility that any homeless person can or wants to be a productive part of the community.

I’m happy that the Floss Silk tree is going to be saved. I’m excited that it’s going to have the opportunity to continue to flourish in our community.

What would make me even happier would be if the homeless were given the same chance.

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