WanderingVet who is one of America’s homeless veterans blogs about what it is like to be a homeless veteran and is currently "camping" somewhere in New Mexico. In his last few posts he talks about his neighbors: Mr. Elk, Mr. and Mrs. BlueJay and a few other assorted characters.
Using Instant Messaging, WanderingVet and I were able to have a conversation which, of course, included his "neighbors" and how he thinks that it may be time to move to a different neighborhood back within city limits.
José, on the other hand had mentioned that he has taken photographs of the local homeless shelter and the day center where the homeless "hang out" during the day. He also mentioned that the local animal control shelter is an attractive looking building that, in comparison to the homeless facilities, is a virtual Hilton Hotel.
Half jokingly I said to José that it didn’t surprise me in the least that the animal control shelter was an attractive facility. After all, since that’s where animals were taken to be "put to sleep" we had to make it as visually attractive and comfortable for them.
In either case, the thought of animals of various kinds were on my mind last night when I went to sleep and I wondered just how much money is spent on caring for out pets and how much is spent on caring for our fellow citizens who just happen to be homeless.
The numbers are depressing.
According to a report called: McKinney-Vento Funding Side by Side Comparison, put together by the National Coalition for the Homeless, in 2006 we spent $1.34 Billion by way of taxpayer dollars to help the homeless.
Compare that to the $38.4 Billion that we spent in 2006 on pet care and it is enough to make me wonder just where our sense of value lies.
I know that we love our pets. They love us in return. They are part of our family. So it is no wonder that we are willing to spend our money when the need food or medical treatment. We also spend high dollar amounts for doggie hair cuts, kitty litter, bird toys and on and on and on. We’re so concerned with making sure that our pets have every comfort and convenience.
Somehow, however, we fail to think about the 1.5 million homeless children. We somehow don’t remember the 400,000+ homeless veterans. It totally slips our minds that there are some 300,000+ homeless persons with mental and physical disabilities.
Most sad is that we seldom think along the lines that the homeless are people – just like us – who, for whatever the reason, have found themselves in a situation that requires the helping hand of another human being: namely us.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that American’s spent $44.7 Billion dollars taking care of their lawns in 2006?