Homeless in the world?

Every once in a while I like to give my opinion on something non 40k related, and regret it every time. But I just have to share this.

It is a terrible thing that happened in Haiti. My heart goes out to all of you who are in the affected areas of Haiti, or have loved ones there or worse, have lost some one you love. The world is banding together to help as best they can, especially the celebrities who are all jumping on the Hope for Haiti bandwagon that seems to be more of a fashion statement to them than charity fund. Celebrity fanfare aside, there are a lot of people out there who are in desperate need of food, clothing and a place to live. I hope every one has done their part and donated what they can. Here is a link to where you can do something if you so choose. Save the Children! My wife works for them. :)

Every once in a while, I try to also look at the bigger picture during times like this. For example, I did a quick search and found out that during any given year, 3.5 million people in the US are homeless with almost 20% of them being families with kids. It was a number that shocked me! You can check the site your self. These are people that sit in the corners of city buildings looking at us as we walk bye, too defeated to even ask for money. We ignore them every time. I am guilty myself.

What is my point? I hope that after Haiti is put back on it's way to recovery, if you can call it that... (A lot of Haiti looked like Port au Prince does now, but BEFORE the quake), some of these actors and rappers can shift gears and focus on more domestic or worldly issues. There are 1 million Somalies who are just as desperate, if not more.

I know next time I walk past some dude sleeping over a subway vent in the city for some warmth, I am going to stuff a few bucks into his pocket.

Know what I mean?



Anonymous said...

Great article.

Id suggest against giving the homeless pure cash though. Sadly, alot of them are alcoholics/drug addicts and cash goes to the wrong things. Walk down the street and come back with a big mac or a new hat instead.

Kroxitau said...

I work for a preschool and during Christmas time we use donated backpacks to make gifts to hand out. Mostly it is a backpack with first aid kit, some power bars a jug of water, couple pairs of socks, hats, mittens, some t- shirts and a pair of pants.

All the items are donated to us by families. It is a pretty good way to teach kids about helping people.

Anonymous said...

I second the sentiment of this article. As a detox worker, I see the harsh results of homelessness everyday. That said, although I have a skewed perspective, I also recognize that a large percentage of the local NFAs are addicts.

However, being homeless means that they're living in a punishing reality. Giving a little change doesn't hurt me, so I don't mind offering it as help. What they do with it afterwards is their choice.

I learned a long time ago not to judge someone based on what poor decisions they *might* make.

lastofthedaydreams said...

check out the movies on the current zeitgeist... the world is pretty messed up, and we chose for it to be this way.

count your blessings, wake up, and make the change yourself.

Col. Corbane said...

Whenever I think that life is bad, I look out of the window and think 'someone's living in a cardboard box out there'. Always put things in perspective.

Back at the turn of the millennium, the British govt came up with the idea of building the millennium dome which was a huge exhibition site next to the thames in central london as a way of marking the turn of the millennium. It cost millions and was vastly over budget. It's now a shopping centre and car park.

At the time, we had a political comedian called Mark Thomas. He went round to all the companies involved in building the dome dressed as Santa with a film crew and got the receptionists to read out xmas wishes. They went along the lines of ....

"We could remove all the forgotten landmines in the world for the cost of the millennium dome."

"We could cure every addict in the country for the cost of the millennium dome."

But the one I really remember was ....

"We could house every homeless person in the country for the cost of the millennium dome."

All the receptionists got to the word millennium before they realised what they were reading out on camera.

So much money, and we have a shopping centre to mark the turn of the millennium.

It's such a shame we waste so much money on stupid things, and yet so many go needy around the world.

Flekkzo said...

Very current and infected subject so I will try to be gentle in my reply. I tend to have a way to look at things differently than most others and it can sometimes be hard to explain things when you speak in different ways.

Homelessness have many causes and take a long time to battle. Often the reasons are related to social issues, such as a combination of loss of jobs, addictions, and mental illness. There are also the collateral damages in the form of crime, children, etc.

I grew up in a socialist country and saw it change over the years. The social programs were financed by taxes and it is hard to have a high tax preassure and effectively use that money. It easily fails and people get hurt in the process.

I now live in a distinct non-socialst country. While there are people here who can't dream of giving someone else help there are others who, for various reasons, really do want to help. My issue is that the help often is of a very temporary nature rather than permanent help. The difference between giving extra food to families for Xmas and the political will to make sure that the same people can live decent on their paychecks.

So on to my point. If you desire change I think that what needs to be done is to create a political will to create solutions. Better social fairness, better distribution of wealth (not talking Marx here), and more efficient use of our collective resources. For the long haul.

I also am weary of organizations asking for money during crises in the world. If you do give money reasearch how it is used and who gets paid what. And to grab the bull by the horns, I am *not* dissin' Mrs Jawaballs. She is in no way overpaid and is a very sympathic person judged by her blog. I recommend giving to that particular charity that Mr Jawaballs mentioned as you can ask him to as his wife to post about how they use the money they get. How's that for feedback!

But again, beware of charlatans!

A tip if you do see a homeless and want to help. Ask if he or she is willing to pose for a photo (who doesn't have a camera in their phone today?). Use that photo in your Twitter feed, on your blog, or any way you roll. Ask for the persons story and retell it. Create awareness and opinion. Then give them a practical gift as thanks. I believe that talking about the problems in society is key to a healthy society.

Thanks for reading my awefully long comment and don't be afraid to have your own opinions. Jawa opened the can and now will have to live with the consequnces:)

Kevinmcd28 said...

the last time i was going to the guy said he wanted it for drugs, too much of a plague for them.

so really offer to take them to mcdonalds, if they say no then they obviously want drugs. McDonalds with homeless people is a good thing too do

Old Shatter Hands said...

I love this post, Jawa. I to believe our NGOs and non-profit organizations need more funding than ever if they are going make an impact on the lives of the people they serve. That's why I've added a spot on my blog for the doctors without borders widget. You might want to look into Save the Children and include their link on your blog permanently.

As to panhandling, I think there are much better ways you can serve the homeless. Give to NGOS and non-profits first, then give out food on the street.

Don't feel bad about not giving our money on the street. Your spare change kills. Look at the statistics for how many homeless die to alcohol poisoning and drug overdose before you give out a few bucks on the street. As I rule, I do not give money to panhandlers. I give to organizations that serve the homeless by providing them with shelter, food, medicine and jobs. Your hearts in the right place, Jawa. Compassion and wisdom must go hand in hand.

jawaballs said...

Can of worms was opened Flek! And of course you are all right. Giving that few bucks to a homeless organization would probably be a better help then to a guy on the street. It would be better to maybe carry a Subway gift card in my pocket for when I feel the need. :)

Kevinmcd28 said...

good idea jawa, thats alwaays better than mcdonalds. now i want subway......--

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