Posted 23 January 2007 - 04:10 PM
Truly am sorry about your Aunt, CGM - not for her perhaps but for all those that have struggled to keep her going all these years and prevented her from ever becoming actually homeless.
DSTM has a great point about education - now it's of vital importance but years ago, education wasn't guaranteed and children often had to drop out of school (many at an incredibly early age) to help support their families. And while many have been very successful in life (book smart is truly seperate from 'being' smart), many more are now in the situation where they barely make it through each month. Many who do still have a home eat canned dog food just to scrap by. And it takes just one financial 'hiccup' in life to put them over the edge and to become homeless on the street. A pretty dismal future for the elderly that helped build our Country. Possible solution: More truly affordable housing for the elderly and a society that thinks the elderly are important, rather than 'disposible'.
And Scarlet mentioned something that has plagued our area for nearly two decades now. Our government in it's infinite wisdom decided it would be cheaper to hundreds of houses to be used as 'group homes' - and then they closed a huge, major hospital that was home to people with various mental disabilities and was 'home and security' for all those with physological problems. The group homes don't seem to be working that well if one judges how many of these same poor souls are now homeless and equally as bad, not taking medication regularly. Possible solution: Re-open the vast hospital and ensure these in such need are truly taken care of and feel safe and secure once again.
And for families, all it takes is one major financial hiccup and poof!, they're homeless and their future in dire straits. Children can't be registered in school if they don't have a 'permanent address'. One can't qualify for welfare nor medical coverage without an address either. And if the reason they've become homeless is because of a death of the financial provider or illness within the family itself, things must be unimaginable.
And poverty can actually be 'caused' by trying so hard to work and support oneself and his or her family, as well. And example of this is a young mother with two little ones that I saw each morning Monday through Friday as she headed off to work in the city. Bus fares increased quite drastically and this increase was just enough to 'tip' her over the line where it became cheaper to stay home and care for her children. And that means social assistance - and anyone struggling to survive on welfare is surely struggling indeed. One more family living on the edge, awaiting a financial 'hiccup' that could make them too homeless.
And when I read your post, Orange Blossom - well, I admire you and your strength so, so much! Gentle hugs! It's people like you who try so incredibly hard that I have the greatest respect for in this age of 'silent struggling' in our affluent society. There are those that simply 'live off society' and then those that, no matter the education level, still may live in fear for financial security each and every month.
Maybe our government should stop spending money on the 'icing on the cake', things like millions being given away to other Countries, millions wasted in government spending on so many things when, in reality, our own people without our own Countries are suffering.
Perhaps take some of these millions and build housing for the truly needy who are trying to mightily in this age of unstable economy. And perhaps re-vamp the welfare system completely. Healthy adults with no children being required to 'work' for their monthly payment (even if it's picking up litter from the side of the streets).
We not only have soup kitchens for the homeless but limited shelters for them too (more beds open when the weather becomes icy) but for those that ended up homeless through no fault of their own, what a scary place these shelters must often be. And we have Food Banks that help, too - but imagine the humiliation for those people that must stand in line for hours, often with their little ones, just to get enough to eat each week. While I could be wrong, soup kitchens and food bands are simply a 'bandaid' for what is a huge, huge problem in our Countries.
On a personal level, our local newspaper has a both interesting and heartbreaking article last Fall. A reporter determined to find how many homeless really existed in our little area of suburbea, headed out with the promise to the homeless he found that he would not 'turn them in'. Included in these people he located (usually living in our heavily forested areas just blocks from busy areas), was a grandmother and her grandchild. Homeless, living in a battered old tent and washing in a near-by creek. Apparently the grandmother had raised the little one all by herself since shortly after the baby was born - and when the child was in Grade 2, the teacher (who meant well, I'm sure) reported her to Social Services 'just to check on things'. And after finding the child was sharing the same bedroom as her Grandmother (apparently a child that is not 'naturally yours' must have a seperate bedroom and even the cot that had been added wouldn't do) plus it was determined that the Grandmother wasn't young enough to raise a child alone.
Rather than help the Grandmother with her rent so she could move into a 2-bedroom apartment and rather than simply have a Social Worker pop in every month to see how things were going, the 'rules' state that the child would have to go into foster care. Grandmother and child slipped away one evening and ergo, homeless but still together. The child does continue to go to school each day, but in a different school with Grandmother fibbing that they have a permanent address and they live from the money earned from picking up bottles and cans, with clothing and such provided by Charities.
I know I've been ever so long-winded on this post and I do apologise. Suppose it's just because while getting our government to change things seems unlikely, I wonder what, if anything, can be done.
(Lest everyone consider me a 'bleeding heart' - gentle smile - thought I'd mention that when a pan-handler approaches me on the street I simply ask if they would like me to buy them a meal. Some say yes and it's obvious they are truly hungry and often cold. Others say no, that they just want the money ... these I simply wish a good day to and walk off.
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While outer events might make one happy or sad, happiness itself is entirely internal, and at all times completely within one's power.