Monday, December 21, 2009

The Cost of Homelessness

Today is National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day. There will be vigils through out the country commemorating those who have died while being homeless. Through Bloggers Unite, blogs across the web will post something about homelessness.

A few weeks ago, I was at a rally in Boston. There were speakers and people singing but, although it was only around 30 degrees, the wind chill was fierce. My hands and feet began feeling cold to the point of being painful as I was standing there listening. A woman got up and spoke about how climate change was affecting people in the inner city. She mentioned that people weren't worrying about the environment when they had to decide between paying for food or heat. I thought about that for a moment and suddenly I was aware that, frozen as I was, I could go home when the rally was done and warm up. I thought about all the homeless people who have nowhere to go in this awful weather, and how many of them were actually freezing to death as I was just suffering temporarily.

My housemate just returned from Boston as I started writing this. She had passed a heating grate near Boston Common with metal spikes on it, apparently to prevent homeless people from sleeping there. She was outraged and came home and made a wooden cross that she wrote 'RIP Homeless People' on and went back there and put the cross over the grate to make it obvious what the city was doing.

Too many people have died because we don't care enough to make sure that everyone has a home. What will it take to change that?

How can we create a world where everyone has shelter, where everyone can be warm, where everyone has enough to eat? How can we create a world where, instead of McMansions, SUVs and plasma screen TVs, everyone's real needs are met? Everyone. The world over. Starting right here.

Quote of the Day: "There's no such thing as a natural death when you're living on the streets. It is just plain dangerous to be homeless." - Michaelann Bewsee

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