Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More on Characters at the Park.........Homeless......

Part 1

Since I don't really leave my farm much except to do something horse related, I'm not forced very often to think about such things as the homeless. I get exposed sometimes on trips into town where I might see someone at a freeway ramp holding a sign. There are those news stories that come up when the latest "Tent City" in Seattle is being forced to move yet again. Other news stories sometimes are about victims of other circumstances who happen to be homeless. All of these things stir my conscience.

It is one of those problems I want to fix but don't know how. I worry about donating to those people with their signs because I know from first hand experience they are not always sincere. I would hate to be feeding some one's drug habit or whatever else ulterior motive might be behind a scam so instead I donate to local food banks but not nearly often enough.

The thought of being homeless haunts me. It's been many long years since we had any kind of savings. Now with Dave out of work for going on two years and thirty horses to feed, sometimes I am nearing panic. I try not to think about the choices we will have to make once Dave's unemployment runs out. Feeding the horses or paying the mortgage can only mean one thing to me. I fear homelessness could be somewhere down the road.

Even before Dave's plant closed down, I had this fear of being homeless. Knowing we just were not making any progress on getting this horse business off the ground meant our savings would not be growing anytime soon. The best thing I could think of for those kinds of thoughts was to push them aside and keep on keeping on in the hope that my breeding business would eventually come through like it should with this quality of horse. Still those thoughts of being homeless have lingered in the back of my mind.

Maybe it's that fear that makes me so sensitive to the plight of the homeless. All I know is each time the reality about the homeless hits me in the face I want to do something but it's easy to forget about the ongoing reality of what a life being homeless must be when it's not right smack dab up there in my face. I can make my donation of conscience and get on with my life.

I guess that's because most of the time for me "homeless" is a faceless condition of someone unknown out there in the world. When I say out there, that's exactly what I mean. Homeless is something that happens somewhere else. It's doesn't happen in my little town. "Those" people are on TV in Seattle, Tacoma, New York and LA not in the little berg of Graham.

Without names or faces and maybe even that local connection, unfortunately, there's a distance that safely buffers my conscience. This reaction is probably pretty typical for the human condition but still, it is a fact that I am NOT proud of. If I had it within my power to fix the problems of the world, I most certainly would. Since I don't have that kind of power and no one really has enough resources to save all of the world's homeless, I can tell myself I am doing what I can.

Now, standing right in front of me with faces and names, right there in my own home town, I was confronted with homelessness on a much more personal level. The question was, what was I going to do about it?

To be continued...........................

The Face of Homeless

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  1. Homeless family are all over and we somehow fail to see them here as well.It is a very real fear for many and tarrifying I am sure for those with small children.

  2. Both my brother and my family have been homeless in the past. In my case my husband lost his job and we hit the road with a newborn baby, living out of motel rooms until the money ran out. Then we had our cars. No one helped us, but we didn't exactly go around begging either. We managed until he got a job.

    In the case of my brother, people used to harangue me and ask why I don't help him. It was because he would spend any money you gave him on drugs and alcohol. If you gave him food or clothing, he'd throw it in the trash or give it away to someone else and insist that all he needs is money. There's no point in putting him in a rehab program, because he's spent his life in and out of those programs and they don't help. He was deemed incurable. So, you really never know whether you are helping or hurting someone who is homeless, possibly giving them money so that they can overdose and die. It's a tough problem to solve.

  3. I had to retype this because it said my message was too long)

    I was the same way until we became close to being homeless through no fault of our own. My husband, John and twinling sons had been in a devastating car accident.

    My husband was the lacross coach and driving a van full of college students when it was hit from behind by another van. My husband was unconcious as the van rolled across the road into the path of an 18 wheeler that hit his van broadside.

    One of my sons was ejected more than 40 feet across the road and finally into the grass. He ended up needing over 70 stitices on his face because the gravel ripped his face to shreds.

    My other son was pinned underneath the van with a college student on top of him. He sustained 5 broken ribs and a broken arm.

    My husband sustained a traumatic brain injury that required surgery and a permanent shunt installed to relieve pressure and fluid, of which he still suffers memory and behavior issues. His elbow and tendons were dislocated and broken and required surgery.

    You can still google the accident and it comes up although it was 5 years ago that it happened:

    Liberty Lacrosse Accident

    Thankfully noone was killed, because it's rare that noone dies when they are hit by semi truck.

    To be continued....


  4. -Continued:

    But we were forced to sell our home in SC, at a huge loss(we actually OWED money to sell it and made nothing off our house) because my husband was unable to work and the medical bills kept piling up and the insurance company refused to pay them because someone else was at fault.....but the someone else refused to take any responsibility until we finally went to a lawyer.

    We had been leasing out our little cottage home in New Mexico for 7 years when we moved to SC for a job transfer, so we asked our renters to move out and we moved cross country, spending every last bit of savings on the move, because our mortgage was cheaper than the house in SC was.

    Once there we were broke and my hubby was unable to find any work except security agent jobs that paid barely minimum wage.
    We went to bed hungry for many nights and woke up to hunger.

    If it wasn't for the local food pantries and our church we'd have had no food on our table at all.
    BUt many times the food that they gave us was expired or just lots of canned and boxed goods that noone else wanted so they dumped it off at the food pantries.

    And I know that starving people are grateful for help, but even they get tired of eating beans and rice day in and day out.

    And then there's the daily humility and embarassment, too. And the stress ....oh the stress.

    God bless you for wanting to help this family. You are a blessing to them, I'm sure.