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November 5, 2014

Resist Homeless Hate Laws

Helping the Homeless

We have lost our hearts and our minds!

 

A 90-Year old man and 2 Reverends were arrested for feeding the homeless in public!

 

What are Fort Lauderdale and many other cities in the country thinking when they post laws that prohibit feeding or gifting the homeless! Now we are cluttering our courts and jails with homeless and citizens of service!!! I am truly speechless. I feel a deep anger and pain inside me for the hideousness of this thought process!

 

My anger asks: What if we DON’T use jails for the innocent? What if we don’t create crimes out of good behavior? Is this about cities and counties making money?

 

Then my calm heart asks: What are some of the other options?

 

Too often I hear people (family members included) saying “Get off the street and get a job!” What an incomplete thought that is!!! How do they propose a homeless person do that? Are they going to buy a paper to look for a job? Oops, most job postings aren’t in the paper anymore. Ok. They are going to walk into a public library (without being asked to leave because they are dirty or smelly) and look at the listings on the internet! GREAT! Then what? How do they make a call? (Pay phones are very rare!!) How do they get to the location to fill out an application? How do they clean their clothes? How do they shower? How do they return for the interview?
With no job, how do they eat?

 

There is a very big difference between homeless and street people. Our street people are those who live on the street and prefer to be left there. More often than not these people are suffering from severe mental illness that is untreated. In the state of Florida a majority of the counties do not have programs for the mentally ill and their medication. How do we solve that double bind? NOT FEED THEM? Arrest them for eating or asking for meals or money? That is NOT a solution.

 

The homeless are a more varied group. They may be individuals and families who have truly been displaced from their homes and do not know the resources available. They may be our veterans who have fought for our freedom and now suffer because they cannot enjoy freedom in their own lives. They may be addicts or alcoholics. They may be injured or handicapped in a way that did not allow them to keep a job and so they are now living on the street. They may be our runaway children. This group is a majority of the people on the streets. We, as a people, can help each and every one of these people get back on their feet but not by angrily judging them or assuming they just need to get a job! The apathy many of us have witnessed is very sad. “It’s their choice” people say! Yes it is but not in the way they mean it when they are angrily discharging themselves of guilt and responsibility for a fellow soulful being.

 

Every day we make a series of choices, hundreds, some we don’t even notice. Each of those choices builds upon previous choices and experiences. One day we find our Self in a very difficult life situation. How do we ask for help? Where do we go? Do we run? I cannot tell you how often I have heard someone say, “I will leave. I do not know where I will go but I will leave.” Another thought I hear quite a bit is, “I am too tired to fight anymore. I don’t care if I don’t get anything, I just want out!” These thoughts if acted upon can lead to homelessness.

 

“Let’s come up with a solution.”

And then there is the addict or alcoholic. No one chooses to be an addict! I don’t know of a single individual who awakened one morning and said, “I want to be in the greatest suffering life can offer!! I want to be an addict!!” It doesn’t happened that way. The person is already familiar with the abuse pattern from life experience. The use of alcohol or a drug opens them to being seduced by the illusion of a relief (substance) that recreates the vicious abuse cycle that is already active within them. They do not know they are falling victim to the substance until it is too late. Some will choose to use until they die. Most are desperate for help and love. All are suffering.

 

Welfare is not an answer! It is not even support. It is useless at this point. We need a way to empower those who are suffering. To heal them to a point that they can stand on their own and WANT to work and live! We need people who are willing to reach out and feed them so that they can have the strength necessary to even WANT to heal or move forward. The problem is, we need resources. We need independent charities that are structured to empower, train and place these people – Boca Helping Hands is a great example. We need charities that will address the mental and emotional issues. We need charities that will fund scholarship treatment for the substance abuse needs. We need charities that will pay for the medical treatment. THEN we need the police, sheriffs and paramedics/firefighters to know how to transport. Or maybe we need a charity that is central for the assessment and placement.

 

So, I ask you to ponder the situation. Let’s come up with a solution. The holidays are upon us and they are about unconditional acceptance and unity. Could there be a better time to rise up from judgment and separateness and unite for the good of all?

 

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"Two Eagles" Smith

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