i am indeed homeless. but why would i need a separate bill of rights set aside from the rest of the citizens of the united states. does being homeless make me different? does being homeless make me subject to a different set of laws than the rest of the population of this city and state and country? does being homeless make me subject to being persecuted, discriminated against, harrassed, or somehow set aside for special or intensified efforts by the local police department or county official to deny me my basic rights guarenteed under the constitution of the united states? in my opinion...absolutely not.
but this led me to another thought process and this is the one that prompted me to write this particular blog entry and the one that i think is problematic in alot of organizations that deal with the homeless and advocate for the homeless.
i am no different than anyone else when it comes to the basic principles of the law, government, and the principles of life. i am homeless. that's it....i'm homeless. i'm not a criminal. i'm not an intelligence agent from another country. i'm a citizen, not an illegal alien. i have broken no laws. no organization is trying to target me with discrimination. no company has refused to interview me. no web service has denied me access. no county or state building has denied me access. so why would an organization think that i need a separate bill of rights. sometimes, you run across self serving organizations who promote themselves and their agendas at the expense of the very people they are trying to help. they like interviews. they like websites promoting their grandiose ideas of what they can do to help the homeless. they like meetings with city officials to discuss the homeless and what can be done to help this downtrodden part of society. btw...i probably didn't spell that right but..you know. anyway....they like to see their organizations name in the paper. they like fundraisers...alot. they like to meet with county and state officials to discuss the plight of the poor and homeless. but what do they do? well...not much. at least not for the people who are actually homeless.
we don't need meetings and charts and pretty words. the homeless need shelter. the homeless need employment. the homeless need to be sure they are going to eat three times a day. the homeless need a bus ticket to a job interview when they're lucky enough to get one. the homeless need supportive housing when they do find employment so they can continue their journey out from the abyss they are currently in. the homeless sometimes need drug and alcohol treatment so they resume a normal existence. the homeless need assistance in finding clothing. the homeless need alot of things. but a bill of rights?
tonight it's going to be very cold. the homeless need shelter. the woman who sleeps on the street needs a blanket and a pair of gloves to survive the night. the family who is staying in an abandoned house with a young child needs food, clothing, and a way out of that abandoned house. that young man needs a bus ticket to a job interview tomorrow so he has a chance to get hired at minimum wage so he can begin the journey to not being homeless. the mission needs blankets and pillows so all the homeless who come there tonite will at least have somewhere to lay down and sleep for a few hours...in the warmth...out of the snow. the friendship house needs money to continue their coffee house and their assistance...real assistance...to the homeless. the rick vanstory resource center needs money to continue their assistance to the homeless and addicted. they offer shelter, ged classes, job search assistance and treatment for the addicted. they find housing for those in the program also. mark with god's helping hands needs money and donations so he can continue to feed the homeless five days a week.
after all that, i think this is my point. there are those that help the homeless. there are those that talk about helping the homeless. the next time you consider donating to an organization....ask them questions. ask them....what do you really do for the homeless. if they give you pretty answers with no quantitative results...find another organization.
i am homeless. i'm not special. don't isolate me into a different class. don't separate me into a different part of society. i do that enough myself. i already have a bill of rights. it's the same one you have.
see you around town