published article by Street Sense of Washington,DC.
| Homeless Joe |
Hello there, my name is...well just call me Homeless Joe. There are quite a few of us here and the numbers grow every day. There are a few homeless Jane Doe's here too. The look is the same; hopeless despair. Sure, where I am from, Wilmington Delaware, there are in fact places to get fed three meals a day, get free clothes and other handouts but that would make us bums huh? The sad part is every day people will ride by, give those sullen stares and even some may venture a quip like " get a job you lazy bastard." Of course we are used to that by now. Yes there is the police harassment. It seems that even public parks are not for homeless people. Go figure that one. We have somehow become a sub species I imagine, where we have not many rights as the employed do. But here's the point I am getting at. Not everyone on the streets is a quote: “ low life, derelict or drug addict, nor an alcoholic”as some think of us as.
Many of us are just like you. Oh are you surprised??? Well think of this, there are former teachers here, millionaires, professional photographers, former businessmen and I could go on and on. The long and the short of it is this. And you might want to pay close attention to this. None of us started down this road wanting to be homeless, looking for hand outs, or picking from garbage cans. None of us want to be targets of both street thugs, nor by the general population and the authorities as well. However, we are singled out as no good, and just sponging off the system. Well my friend, let me say this. You may have a job and a home; perhaps a wife and kids now. You may have a measure of security too. But God forbid you lose your job, your home goes into foreclosure, your wife or you become sick and your benefits or insurance runs out and the list goes on. Know why? Because you might be sitting right beside me here on this bench in Rodney Square just like the rest of us. Funny to, right across the street is the infamous, Hotel DuPont, and by the way, don't try to use their public bathroom because if your homeless, they will spot you in a minute and Wilmington's finest, namely the police, will be ready and willing to throw you into the cop car and take you away, because you had to use the bathroom. There are but only a few bathrooms that we can use and some fine businesses I'd like to mention, who are kind toward us. They allow us to get in out of the cold and also use their bathrooms. One is the Dunkin Donuts @ 9th and Orange St.
I ask myself why this country can help so many other countries and not their own. I often ask myself why politicians are willing to fill up this country with illegal aliens, give them benefits and jobs because they work cheap, yet ignore the homeless. If our leaders have so many answers, tell me what is the answer? Why can't we take care of our own first in this country? There are families here disbursed, living in cars, vans, the back of trucks and yes alleys. All the while millions, or should I say billions are spent helping people who hate this country.
The long and the short of it is you can end up here yourself my friend. Homelessness is not some social stigma, nor personality type. Nor a financial criteria that brings you here either. I have been a successful businessman at one time. Now I struggle every day trying to find work. I send out no less then two applications a day ever since I hit the streets three and a half years ago. We are fortunate that there is so much in this city because it is not the case across the nation. So before you pass judgment, why not just get out of your car and sit down and ask some of us how we got here and what we want to do, to make our situation better. Do it and may be you will not be the next, homeless Joe.
S A Gibbins http://www.streetsense.org/2010/02/editorial-not-just-