along side of these articles and exposes often are new declarations of various programs to end homelessness and the remarkable progress they've made in select cities across the country. some involve free housing, others incorporate supportive housing, innovative cities are now beginning to utilize micro housing and other various and assundry methods. none of them will work...not one.
ten years from now we'll still be formulating programs, spending hundreds of millions of dollars and announcing we're only a step away from ending homelessness. nothing will have changed except for the fact that we've spend trillions of dollars and more homeless men and women will have died needlessly without a home.
unless we are willing to give a free home with absolutely no strings attached and give it with no expectations from the homeless, not one single thing we can do and not one single program we can utilize or formulate is going to work. nothing....not one thing will end homelessness. only the homeless can end homelessness. bluntly....they're not going to do it. now let me preface what i'm about to say with this one statement, this does not include the mentally ill or the homeless that will transition out of the situation in a relatively short period of time. it does however include most of the 600,000 homeless individuals that live on the street or are part of the transient population that stay in a mission on a nightly basis. we cannot rescue them. they will remain homeless until they either die or decide they cannot carry on under the circumstances they're living at the moment. they are alcoholics, addicts or have some other pathological condition and they will not change until their physical condition forces them to or they become so concerned about their own mental or emotional well being that themselves decide to begin the process of ending their own self imposed homelessness. the 600,000 or so homeless individuals that remain constant in numbers are the hard core homeless that are the most difficult to define or to deal with. they are the most stubborn population of the homeless community that no matter the circumstances, no matter what the opportunities and no matter the incentives...they will choose either openly or covertly to remain homeless. because of their addictions or other conditions they will not grasp the opportunities that are given them. they will continue to use excuses, reasons and false logic to justify their homelessness which in essence also justifies their alcoholism or addictions. these are harsh statements....but they are true. these are the real faces of the homeless. these are the real stories of the homeless. this is the true state of homelessness in this country and until we are honest enough with ourselves and the homeless to recognize and accept this, we will continue to mire ourselves in false logic, false hope and faulty methods of dealing with the homeless. we have to be blunt enough and courageous enough to say these things openly, honestly and with sincerity.
this does not mean we should not continue in our effort to help the homeless, just the opposite is true. we should continue to have compassion and continue with our very best effort to help the homeless. they are not a lost cause. we should continue to offer chances, opportunities and assistance to the homeless. they are our brothers and sisters. they are human beings. we are all they have. but we must refocus our efforts and we must open our eyes to the simple, realistic facts of who they are. it is vital we keep our missions and shelters operating at full strength. they are the lifeline and the most effective tool in aiding, no, not aiding, but keeping alive the homeless until they themselves decide they've had enough. we must continue to reach out to the homeless, keeping them aware that we are there when they are ready. we must continue to let them know we have not abandoned them, but we are waiting for that moment when they too are honest and completely realistic with themselves. we must continue to stretch out our hands to them, waiting for them to grasp it.
we cannot rescue the homeless. but we can ensure that they are not fatal victims of themselves. we can ease their burden during the dark times of their lives. we can be that small light at the end of their darkness. we can be that lifeline just before the moment they sink. we can be...and we should be.
honesty, stark reality, crude bluntness and a new face of the homeless is what is needed to be the most effective we can be in fighting homelessness.
see you around town