Monday, September 8, 2008

What to do?

6 little blackbirds sitting on the stairs
1 got up and wondered off somewheres

5 little blackbirds shaking paper cups
2 screaming blasphemy when you won't fill it up

3 little blackbirds mumbling in the street
go around them Pharisee, be careful who you greet!

Those same 3 little blackbirds huddled round a fire
sitting in a cardboard box
in your old attire.

look away walk away
you're safe inside your own doorway
who cares if theirs is made of a tarp
and 6 of them froze last night in the park?

Homelessness is a huge problem around here but apart from donating stuff to local homeless shelters what to do? In SLO there were a few that you would see in Mitchel Park or at the Starbucks next to the outlets but here it's so bad the library has one guard per bathroom that never leave their post. Also, children are not allowed to use the adult bathrooms for their own safety and must use the special kids bathroom in the children's section. Phillip is getting pretty tired of living here since there are by no means enough public restrooms and with the amount of homeless people wandering around we've had to avoid more than dog doo if you know what I mean.

I've never heard a satisfactory solution to the problem. My own private rule when I'm with the kids is: don't talk to the crazy ones. But what about the rest? Is giving them a cereal bar really the compassionate thing to do? Is it the only thing to do? Is it the safe thing to do? Sigh .. with winter coming I know people here are going to freeze.


Kristen Borland said...

this is such a frustrating issue for me. i know i should do more, but there's the safety issue. i've got little ones with me almost always, and when i'm by myself i still wonder about safety. i hate to stereotype, but there are sometimes reasons to be concerned. i wish there was an easy answer.

Brianna Heldt said...

i try to either hand out food, or sometimes money. i also make it a point to smile and look in their eyes when i talk to them. to me if you're in an open, public place, smiling, saying hello and giving them something, it isn't particularly dangerous.

also, many homeless people do struggle with mental problems, and i think it's really important to be compassionate towards them. no one likes to talk about the mentally disabled in our country, but they're here, and it's terribly sad, and they need help. If nothing else, we can love them.

Jacquelyn said...

I wish I had your compassion Brianna. I realize that mental illness is a problem but some of the homeless people here are VERY aggressive and full of explatives that I don't want my children to be accosted with. I guess I just need to be wise and take each situation as it comes.

Joanie said...

Jacquelyn, did you write that rhyme?

What a thought-provoking subject. I also try to make eye contact if I feel it is safe, but I didn't realize the large numbers you're dealing with there. And we can't and shouldn't shield our kids from everything, but at the same time, there is a reason why we feel compelled to protect their innocence. I don't blame you for wanting to keep your children from being accosted.

On another note,
Glad to hear you've got your tickets and that you'll be back soon!

Jacquelyn said...

Joanie, yes, I did write that poem, sometimes I forget to put my name at the bottom ;)

Joanie said...

Your are so talented!

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