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Old 05-29-2008, 11:20 PM   #1
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The Homeless

I had an appointment today & decided to wait for my ride outside, since it was such a beautiful day. I noticed two men (about middle aged, clean clothing etc), walking down the street (in the gutter) with shopping carts, piled with overstuffed Hefty bags & whatnot. Most, if not all, the bldgs on my block are security bldgs. (You need to be buzzed in to enter.) Thought I noticed one of the men coming out of a bldg to the shopping cart. I'm a little embarassed to admit, one of my first thoughts was, wonder what they're doing in this neighborhood. (It's a quiet street, & you only see people when they are walking their dogs.) I usually see Homeless people in run down areas or Downtown, but never here.

My next thought was, what, if anything, should/could I have said or done? Should I offer him a few bucks, ask if he wanted to make a few $ & offer him some handyman work - which I do need. A single friend of mine (an older gal), would go to a nearby park or the front of Home Depot, where men who are out of work, line up - to make some money. She would take them home, put them to work, feed them & pay them. I don't know that I feel as brave/comfortable. Guess he noticed me looking over at him, as he said "Good morning young lady." I nodded & said good morning back. While I was still ruminating about what to do/say, he disappeared around the corner to join his friend, who was calling out to him. I started to feel a lump in my throat, & have thought about it off & on today.

I know the economy is bad - foreclosures, grocery & gas prices going up, etc. Yesterday on the News, heard Ford laid off many employees. I feel that not all Homeless people are lazy, mentally ill, or suffering from substance abuse. I can see where one can be a productive member of society one day, & get laid off or ill the next day, & quickly lose everything.

What, if anything, would you have said or done? What is your honest reaction when you see a Homeless person? Do you look away & go about your biz, offer to help, etc. With the way the economy has taken a downward spiral, I have to wonder if a larger Homeless population is going to emerge.

ETA: For whatever it's worth (& it isn't worth much), I received my economic stimulus check. It was half the amont I expected for single homeowner no dependents. Not to look a Gift Horse in the mouth, but the amount won't even make a dent in my property taxes. No political statements here, but think the monies to "stimulate" the economy, could have been put to better use.

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Old 05-30-2008, 12:46 AM   #2
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Amy, first let me thank you for this open sharing of your thoughts and questions. Wow, did you ever call it - the confusion and doubt. Would I take a total stranger in, from off the street, to do some handi work or for a meal or even to hand them a twenty if I had it. Have I any answers? - no, but you have made me realize that I had better come to grips and have some answers ready.

About this "stimulus" money - it's all _ _ , just votes bought with more debt for our children and grandchildren to try to pay off. I'm afraid the gang in Washington has us figured out - we have swallowed so much from them we will buy anything they do or say.

You know, it's said that if we are prepared to let the government take care of us we had better be prepared to be disappointed. Which means also, those guys collecting rags or cans or what ever - we better be prepared to help rather than expect government to do it all.
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:50 AM   #3
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Amy, I never offer money, but I will offer to buy them a meal or something. One day I was approached and had a grocery bag in my hand. I offered it to the guy and he said no. Hmmm...wonder how hungry he really was? In any case, I wouldn't be brave enough to have a stranger come into my home. I generally just offer food and go from there.

PS, lets be careful with the political stuff guys. I think this is a great thread and I don't want it to get lost in a political debate.
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:59 AM   #4
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Thanks Alix, I got the message!
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Old 05-30-2008, 01:03 AM   #5
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Thanks for your input, David & Alix. My close friend that I mentioned (now departed), had a very big heart. She was more courageous than I, and as mentioned, brought people into her home & put them to work. I'm sure it helped them to care for their families as well. She told me her husband used to say, "Are you opening a soup kitchen?!" She brought home a younger fellow she met in the Park. Gave him a roof over his head, & he was able to eventually buy a car & train for a job with the airlines. He would have given her the shirt off his back, had she needed it. There were times when she was ill (her kids grown & gone), & he took care of her. So part of me wishes I had the courage she had. Reminds me of the movie Pay It Foward.
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Old 05-30-2008, 01:05 AM   #6
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Amy, you were privileged to know someone like that. I think that kind of person has a very special blessing. I'm afraid I'm too cynical to be like that.
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Old 05-30-2008, 01:40 AM   #7
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One of the nicest things my sweet daughter ever did: a few years ago (she is 39), she was shopping late at night in the dead of winter at a well-known local super-store (Fred Meyer, sort of like Walmart) and there was an elderly homeless man in the entryway trying to keep warm. The store manager was trying to get him out of there. DD walked up to him and said "How dare you talk to my grandpa that way! She took the guy into the store with her, bought him some fried chicken and potatoes, a coat and a blanket. Then they went their separate ways. I'm sure he never forgot her.
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:55 AM   #8
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Karen, what a wonderful thing your daughter did. The world does not have enough kindness.
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:34 AM   #9
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I was in Chicago on a cold winter day, I was going in McD's for a breakfast (I know, I know), outside there was a young woman sitting on the sidewalk with her young child begging money. T went in and got one or two of everything I could carry and went out and gave it to her. She had a tear in her eye and mouthed a very quiet thank you.

I went back in to get my breakfast and was only a minute or so. When I came out, she was gone. I cannot tell you how good it made me feel.

I work in NYC and my job takes me all over the city. I see all maner of homeless. The obvious druggoes, I do not do much for othe others, I do what I can. On 31st street between 7th & 6th St Francis feeds the homeless at 6:00 AM. The length of the line is unbelievable. (Fellow NYC'ers I think that is the church, plese correct me if I am wrong).

I saw a program on HBO several years ago, ther are families in America that dress well, are both employed and have kids in school, that do not have homes, it is very sad.
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Old 05-30-2008, 08:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
"How dare you talk to my grandpa that way!
Years ago I was walking in downtown Winnipeg, and we passed a really, really down and out person (either on drugs or alcohol) begging for money. The person with me said "Someone, somewhere, has baby pictures of him". That phrase has always stuck with me.
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