In the last few years, the issues of homelessness have risen throughout world media. Many authors and friends I hold in high esteem talk and blog about its effects in their small radius of the world. Homelessness doesn’t just apply to those people we see sleeping in parks or alleys or on the sidewalks of our communities, it also applies to refugee camps the world over and mass migrations. It should not be enough to approach it in just our country because these people pour over borders worldwide due to droughts, famines, wars, and persecution.
It’s ridiculous that one of the wealthiest countries on the planet has this problem. That said, homelessness has been around as long as humanity. The problem as a whole is a numbers and health issue, and the answer lies in adherence to our collective responsibility as a species.
I was homeless on several occasions, and I knew many more like me who climbed back to our feet by sheer will. I also met many others who chose to be homeless, each with their own reasons. Changes to the welfare system, for instance two free years of college, would lift many of these people back to their feet; empowering them to reenter the workforce with renewed confidence and self respect.
The numbers of those homeless due to addictive substances grows at alarming rate. Make no mistake; drug addiction is a form of slavery; the shackles and chains and collars far more incapacitating and harder to escape. That is precisely how addiction should be viewed, and it is precisely how those that cultivate it and live off it should be charged. Those caught in the collar and chains of such slavery need to be placed in programs that are longer than a few months, maybe as long as a year. The anatomical problems take far longer than a few months to reverse.
Lastly, what of all those who battle any number of mental health issues? People like veterans, and infants of chemically enslaved people, and those whose life experiences drive them past their breaking point. There are so many more who struggle with disabilities brought on by birth defects, genetic misalignments, and in more cases than we might think, have been misconstrued altogether. The group of people listed as “Mentally ill or unstable” needs to be granted the kind of care such people require–not because they are a hindrance but because it is the compassionate thing to do.
For all of this to happen here, our government has to allocate the funds for these projects across the country. A few years back where I live, the state dropped funding to several major state institutions, forcing all those within back out on to the street as the means to fix a budget problem. Apparently roads and bridges were more important than people’s health and safety. The governing body, led by a Democrat rather than a Republican mind you, reasoned that each county should be responsible for their share of the mentally ill or impaired rather than the state.
These problems ensue because the ethics of those in position to fix it refuse to do so. Don’t forget that the reason for collecting taxes at the state and federal level is to be able to tackle a financial issue with a large sum of money that everyone put up for the benefit and safety of their communities and country. If we want more funding for issues like this, than I surmise that republicans replaced with democrats and a healthy number of independents will force a balance back into the senate which will open the doors for a more balanced point of view which leads to fairer bills and better distribution and collection of tax dollars. Then we can tackle all these issues and more!
Impossible? Think again.
A while back, I heard a piece on a news report concerning the daily tally of combat expenditure for our country in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rather than providing a specific figure, they dropped some estimated costs. To help people grasp the power and weight of this daily expense, they said that if we gave the entire war machine one day off, meaning we just stopped all action in Iraq and Afghanistan for a single twenty-four hour period; we could provide the entire continent of Africa with fresh, running water with the money we saved and still have a remaining surplus. Imagine then what could be done if all wars ceased for one day and that money were pooled into a collective fund. The finances are there; the will is not.