Monday, June 15, 2009

On the Homeless Front

I don't usually write about such politically charged topics but there were two items recently that came to my attention that I felt I needed to discuss. Both are related to homelessness. I've know many people who have been homeless or have been unfortunate enough to have to stay at homeless shelters. None of them were mentally ill, or drug addicts. Most of them were simply ordinary people who lost their apartments because of domestic isssues, were unable to pay their rent, ran out of relatives to stay with or had some sort of natural disaster.

When I read that people were up in uproar over a an upscale building in Brooklyn that the city turned into a temp. shelter, I was rather disgusted by humanity's selfishness and greediness. The place has granite countertops, terraces, marble bathrooms and walk-in closets. It was meant to be a luxury condo building however because of the economy the developer had to turn to other means to not lose all profits.

Now, it seems some people were rather upset by the idea of homeless people "living large."

"I'm a hardworking taxpayer, and I don't think homeless people should be living better than me," fumed Desmond John, 35, a window salesman who wanted to rent one of the fancy apartments. "They said it's not for rent. It's a shelter. I was shocked."
I'm also a hardworking taxpayer but somehow I think it's rather unfair to decide how someone 'should live' based on their place/status in society. To say people, don't deserve to be there is just wrong and very sour grapes. That's another human being, just like you. First of all, it's a temporary situation and perhaps it's a rather nice reprieve for someone who has suffered to get to stay in such a place for a little while. Uplifting and renewing.

In that same vein, NPR introduced us to "Homeless advocate Eric Sheptock [who] uses technology to get his message out. Though he's homeless himself, he keeps a blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter account. He spends a lot of time in the city's public libraries, where he gets free access to a computer. There he can check his e-mail account and write his blog — called On the Clock with Eric Sheptock — which has so far attracted hundreds of readers. He recently wrote about his concern that the homeless shelter he now lives in is in danger of closing. "

How amazing is that!

Learn more about Eric at www.npr.org

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