Out In The Cold

Posted: November 26, 2007 in Children, Compassion, Homelessness, Money, Morality

Over the past few nights, the weather has been getting colder. I don’t know if it’s just a cold front moving through the area or if it is just winter. It’s probably a bit of both. Regardless, as it turns to late evening it’s become a task to stay warm.

Because of the drop in temperature I keep thinking about all of those homeless who aren’t able to get into the local homeless shelter because of the lack of available beds. Some are adult men and women of various ages and, unfortunately, some of them are children. Those are the thoughts going through my mind.  

It’s one thing for an adult to be forced to sleep out of doors when the weather is inhospitable. It’s something entirely different to know that there are children who also will not have either a safe or warm place to sleep tonight.

I’ve heard all of the excuses about there not being enough financial resources to help everyone who’s homeless. But it seems to me that if we really cared, we’d find the resources someway, somehow.

On television, there are so many infomercials that put the photographs of starving and homeless children in all other parts of the world and because the children look so hopeless, people make their financial contributions to all of the agencies and organizations that do that type of work.

While I’ll be the first to applaud the work they’re doing, it seems to me that we should take a look closer to home before we continue to ship money elsewhere. After all, wouldn’t that be the right thing to do?

I find it reprehensible that there are nearly 1.5 million homeless children in this nation who are homeless and yet we seem to be more concerned about the children of other nations than we are with the children of our own nation. To quote a well known phrase: "What’s wrong with this picture?"

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t help the less fortunate children in other parts of the world, but it would be morally correct to take care of those within our national borders first. After all, they are the ones who will someday be the adults within our own communities. Some of them may even become our community leaders. It is in our best interest to insure that they get the best possible chance at becoming socially healthy in life that we can afford.

If we don’t we are going to find that all we’ve done by ignoring their cries for compassion and aid is destroy our own futures.

And the truth is with the way things are going right now, ruining our own future as a nation by ignoring our nation’s children is something that we can ill afford.

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Comments
  1. AnAmerican says:

    You have hit the nail on the head with your comment “we seem to be more concerned about the children of other nations than we are with the children of our own nation”. For some reason it is viewed as very “in vogue” to offer help to those living in other countries before we address the needs of our own. The problems of poverty and homelessness seem to be something that most of our politicans want to place at the bottom of the list of issues that our country needs to address and solve. The greatest of any society is apparent by how we treat those in need….there are those of all ages who deserve better treatment.

  2. michael says:

    Dear AnAmerican,

    You’re right about it being seen as “in vogue” to help those abroad while those in our own nation are forced to live at below poverty standards.

    Unfortunately, I believe that it is because we’ve become too overly concerned with wanting to appear “politically correct” in the eyes of other nations.

    Perhaps, we’d be better off as a nation if we minded “our own business,” then, maybe, there’d be less homelessness among our own.

  3. wanderingvet says:

    I guess our starving children are not as photogenic for television as foreign children for those “save the children” commercials. I wonder why those agencies have a hard time starting right out side their office doors here in the U.S.A. There is just something about a straw hut as opposed to a sidewalk that just pulls your heart strings! It is a crying shame that we send more charity abroad then we do domestically. It is odd too that whenever there is a world crisis the U.S. Government is the first to give to it. The US Gov has donated enough to Tsunamis, Earthquakes, Floods all over the world in the last Seven years to almost be able to eliminate homelessness in the U.S. alone. Between that and the private charities there would not be a serious homelessness issue except for the willfully homeless in this country. Could you imagine that! Hey I wonder if we should go to the United Nations for help? I doubt they will though, they are like my congressman. I wrote the United Nations a letter three years ago asking them how much money they have donated to the U.S. for any crises we have had here (this was during Katrina Relief)….the answer is zero but I wanted them to write it to me anyway. Lets face it no one is going to do anything for the homeless except the homeless themselves. The homeless have to line up and mobilize for something besides the lunch line. Only then will something be accomplished.

    Wanderingvet

  4. michael says:

    WanderingVet,

    Interesting enough, is that the only homeless who are mobilizing are the ones who have the desire to get out of homeless – unfortunately, because of the prejudices that all homeless experience, they are at a disadvantage at getting any type of genuine and substantial help with trying to raise their standard living.

    It seems backward to me that if a person has a drug or alcohol addiction they are more likely to get services from organizations and agencies than a person who truly wants to get off the streets.

    The irony is that with all of the “help” that is given to those with addiction problems of one type or another, there is actually a low success rate with those programs. But, that’s because many of those who are getting the “help” don’t really want it in the first place. They take the “help” to avoid having to pay court fines or jail time – not because they want to be free of drugs and/or alcohol.

  5. Mabel Darling Phipps says:

    People are homeless for many reasons. Some are homeless due to mental problems and they need our help. Deinstitutionalization was a cost cutting mechanism to empty the psychatric hospitals putting defenseless and sometimes dangerous patients on the streets. Having built an aftercare system for mentally handicapped people released from hospitals that is woefully inadequate for the task of caring for released patients the homelessness on our nations streets have become the only resource for such people. My heart goes out to the mentally ill homeless and, I have and will continue to help them.

    The homeless people I will not help are the drunks and dope addicts. Why shoule I give a lazy drug addict my hard earned money. I have every compassion for a man, woman or family down on its luck for no fault of its own. Anyone, including me, is likely to be just one or two paychecks away from homelessness so I feel for those who work hard and still end up homeless.

    In my mind their are the worthy homeless and the worthless homeless.

    Those homeless people worthy of help are those who lost their jobs but are still willing to work and thus re-enter society if given a fair chance. The unworthy homeless are those people who stick that spike in their arm to get high every day then want me to feel sorry for them and their “disease”.

    To me addiction is no more a “Disease” than indirect lighting in one’s home is a “Disease”. If I want indirect lighting in my home I must choose it, then pay for and maintain it. Likewise if I want to be a worthless dope addict or drunken sot bum I must choose it, pay for it then maintain the debilitating processes and downward spirial it brings.

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