Autumn’s In The Air

Posted: September 23, 2007 in Homeless Shelters, Homelessness, Hopes

Autumn is officially here. Some of the trees will begin the annual process of having their leaves turn some of the most remarkable colors: colors that the human mind can only begin to imagine. Some of the birds will be heading to warmer climates. Some of the furry creatures will find some place to build their burrows and begin storing food for the winter. Most of the reptilian creatures will go into hibernation.

For the local area homeless, autumn is a prelude to preparations as well. Many are already starting to think about trying to find a way to stay warm and dry this winter. They are starting to collect blankets, warmer clothing and so forth. The majority of homeless will be sleeping out of doors this winter – not out of choice, but rather out of necessity. They have no place to go. They have no homes. There aren’t enough shelter beds to go around.  

Those who can will try to get into the shelter on nights when the weather becomes too inhospitable. Since there are approximately 300+ homeless in the city and it’s immediate outlying areas, and there are only about 70 to 75 available shelter beds, those who have been homeless for more than six months know that their odds of getting in aren’t good.

When the weather becomes too cold and wet, some of them will head to the public library to get out of the weather. Some will go to the day center. Some will stay in their makeshift "camps" trying to brave the elements. Some will end up in the hospital for a few days having caught pneumonia from having to live outdoors.

Those who are working will be unable to save money because they will spend it staying at the least expensive motels they can find – and all in an attempt to survive the winter months.

Many of the area’s transient homeless have already left the area. They’ve headed out to locations where they hope to find either better homeless services or a more temperate climate.

In some other parts of the country where the winter season temperatures will drop to near or below freezing, some of America’s homeless will die due to exposure – some of them might even be children who are homeless.

What every homeless person has in common is the looking forward to the spring when the trees begin putting forth new leaves and the weather becomes tolerable once again. If they can manage to survive through the winter months, it will be a new beginning of sorts.

Unfortunately, the homeless know that after spring comes summer, and after summer autumn, then winter. Those who aren’t fortunate enough to have been able to get off of the streets by then will have to live through the same vicious cycle once again – and continue looking forward to the spring.

Perhaps I’m foolish for hoping: but maybe by next spring our society will have found some way to effectively help the homeless help themselves. Maybe, our government at the Federal, State, and Local levels will have the courage to do what’s right.

Then again, more like as not, it’s probably just a pipe dream to believe that something like that could possible happen.

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