Why Help The Homeless?

Posted: May 27, 2008 in Compassion, Employment, Family, Health, Homelessness, Morality, Veterans

One of the emails I found waiting in my inbox this morning came right out and asked "…why should we help the homeless?"

It was quite a lengthy email which was really nothing more than a litany of complaints about the homeless. As far as this person was concerned the homeless should just "…take care of there own lives and not bohter the rest of us!" (the typos are his, not mine)  

The person seemed to feel that every homeless person should just go right out and find work; or else they should move somewhere else. Moreover this person felt that he shouldn’t be made to feel guilty if he didn’t choose to help the homeless because "… I got bills of my own too pay."

I haven’t responded to that email… yet. I placed it in the "pending" file. As soon as I can figure out how best to answer it in a manner that this gentleman might be able to understand, then I’ll send my reply. Then again, I may just put it in the Recycle Bin, since he seems to already have a mind set that will not be changed.

Still, I did want to address the question "… why should we help the homeless?"

So here goes…

As far as I can ascertain, almost every culture has some variation of the "golden rule" – behave toward others the way you would like them to behave toward you.

This being the case, I have to ask: if you were the one who was homeless, how would you want the rest of the community to treat you?

I’m a strong believer in "what goes around, comes around." So, think about the way you behave toward the homeless. If the shoe were on the other foot, would you want to be treated that same way?

For some, being treated the same way would be of no consequence since they behave toward the homeless with compassion, mercy and kindness. But for those who treat the homeless with scorn, disdain and contempt – I’m willing to be they’d be the first ones to cry "foul" if they were treated in a similar fashion. They’d be the ones who would complain the loudest at how disgustedly they were being treated.

Why should we help the homeless?

What if suddenly you found yourself without a home and you were unable to get some form of assistance through any of the homeless support service agencies? With the lack of adequate funding available for these agencies these days, that’s a high probability. Or, what if you "fell between the cracks" and didn’t qualify for certain types of assistance? Wouldn’t you like the rest of the community to give you a hand up?

Why should we help the homeless?

What if you were a single mother with dependant children? And, what if you had no place to leave your children during the day so that you could go out and look for employment? What if one of your children became ill and needed medical treatment? Or, what if you were the one who became sick? Who would care for your children if your illness required you to be hospitalized? Would you want your children taken away from you and placed into a Child Protective Services facility – and then not know whether you’d be able to get them back?

Why should we help the homeless?

What if you were a senior citizen with on-going medical needs? What if you had to choose between paying rent or paying for your prescribed medications? Medi-Cal and/or Medicare simply doesn’t cover all the costs. Paying the rent would keep you housed, but then you wouldn’t have your medications. Paying for your medications might force you into homelessness.

Why should we help the homeless?

What if you were a husband and father who was one of the 260,000 persons nationally whose jobs have been cut just since the beginning of this year and your home had gone into foreclosure or you couldn’t pay the rent and had faced eviction? Wouldn’t you want someone to step up and help you so that you could get your family off of the streets?

Why should we help the homeless?

What if you were one of nearly half a million homeless veterans who have served this nation; someone who has fought to protect the freedoms that everyone in this nation enjoys? Wouldn’t you want, at the very least, to be helped – if not for your humanity – then at least for the sacrifices you’ve made?

Why should we help the homeless?

How about for the most simplest – and most noble – of reasons: because it’s the right thing to do?

  1. Because they’re human – just like us – and deserve a chance at happiness.
    Thanks for the post, I really hope people change their mindset when it comes to homeless people – it’s one of the most degrading forms of life, no one would chose to be in it.

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