As I walked through town today, I was shocked by the number of homeless people I saw either sitting on the cold concrete floor with their life belongings next to them; slumped in store doorways with only cardboard boxes as a shelter; or cocooned in their sleeping bag on a park bench. I suppose it hits home more at this time of year, as the temperature plummets and we all watch people spending money they haven’t actually got (a figure I heard today was £8bn was spent on Black Friday this year – that’s obscene).
My home town is no different to any other though. It’s certainly not as bad as the big cities, and nowhere close to what you see in London. But it doesn’t make it any easier. I have many times purchased hot drink and food for these folk, but I can’t help continually asking questions in my head about their situation.
How, firstly, have they ever got to this stage? Automatically I think drugs, drink, money, crime etc has lead them to this. Is this right? Could it just be a case of bad luck and life dealing them a continuos bad hand?
I ask myself, how have they not got anyone in their network to call upon? Family? Friends? Old neighbours or acquaintances?
I’m cynical – I never give them hard cash, I automatically think it will get spent on things that are not good for their body – rather than a warm Greggs sausage roll and a cuppa. Am I wrong to think that? I’d much prefer to treat them to something they need. But I look at the pile of sandwiches, drinks, biscuits that are sometimes next to them, and think they could eat better than some with a roof over their head.
I feel sad when I see anyone alone in the street. The Christian in me wants to talk, help, support, and make right the situation for them. But I know for every one person I try to help, there’d be dozens more. I feel for the poor animals that are also dragged into this lifestyle. Is it fair on them? What life is it for these animals? I know they probably offer a reassuring love and companionship to the guys on the street, but is it right?
So what is it that homeless person actually wants or needs? Food? Drink? Bed for the night? Employment? A hot shower? Clothes & blankets? I’d love to ask the question, but have no idea how it would be received.
I never look down on them. I try very hard not to judge. You do not know what goes on in people’s lives and shouldn’t pass judgement until you know the facts.
I am an extremely positive person, and also consider myself to be very lucky with family and close friends who I would like to think would never allow me to ever come close to the scenarios these poor homeless people must be suffering everyday. But this makes me feel sad that to get a stage of complete homelessness, only a plastic bag of belongings; one layer of clothing; and the worry everyday of whether they’ll actually wake from their cold slumber.
So, how can it change? Is this just the norm now – and what we must all appreciate in society?
I regularly think that the world is more and more messed up everyday. Individuals that are paid huge amounts of money for what they do (we all know the industries this applies to). The way money is shared around does seem a little top heavy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure plenty of that cash gets filtered down to well deserved charitable causes, but there will just never be enough to make things right will there?
I for one, know I could never manage life on the streets. Not even for one night I’m sure. It must be awful. I don’t have to worry about where my next meal is coming from. I don’t have to worry about what clothes to wear, how to keep warm, or when I can take my next hot shower. I’ve worked hard in life, so I deserve the lifestyle I have created for myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel saddened as I walk through town each week.
I don’t know what your thoughts are about our homelessness situation, the people and animals affected by it, and what you might already do to help the situation (if anything). Would be great to hear your thoughts.
I will continue to support where I can. After all that’s what human beings were put on this earth for – to help each other. I hope that God continues to look over these unfortunate people and keeps them safe and warm, especially this Christmastime.
God bless you all. Be thankful for everything you have folks, no matter how big or small.
(For ref: Image taken from Google for visual effect. I didn’t start snapping people on the street, I’m not that insensitive!)