Commentary: Homelessness Everyone's Shame

By Tammy Ray

     The ignorant, selfish ones say that the homeless are failure at life.  Worthless and crippled, unwilling to face reality.  The homeless are bag ladies and bums, winos and junkies.  They are illiterate, and most are insane.  The homeless bring a threat, a bizarre shame.  They live in our city streets.  They down themselves in cheap wine, and then die in our gutters.  They are laid to rest with no name, not even a tear of good-bye.

      This article is dedicated to the ignorant, selfish ones who consider the housing problem to be someone else’s problem, those who believe that each homeless person in unlike themselves.  In other words, this article is dedicated to all of us.  We cannot continue to stereotype people just because we live in a society that has stopped caring.

            We all live in this cruel world where love has turned into our own demon, our own greed.  Somewhere along the way we stopped showing compassion.  We watch children dying, and we have become so cold that tears seldom fall, but we thank God it wasn’t our child who had to suffer.  Our fast-paced world has buried our giving souls among the rubble of today’s needs, today’s confusions, today’s streets.

         It is so easy to look the other way when we see others in need.  We think that if we don’t acknowledge the problem, it will go away.  We can blame others when we are forced to admit that we have an epidemic that has already stolen the lives of many Americans.  Approximately 13.5 million people in America people like you and me have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives.

         Have you every felt despair, felt grief that crushes your very being?  If so, you have felt life’s poisonous venom, then you might agree that if we look deep within ourselves, there is no separation between them and us. Once life has beaten us breathless, we too become the helpless, the weak.  The only separation becomes the walls of our warm homes and the emptiness that chills the night air. 

        We cannot close our eyes and make it disappear.  We can no longer hide behind ignorance and self-centeredness.  We cannot save this world alone.  We are all to blame.  We are all dying, but tears seldom fall.

         We all need prayer and understanding, so please open your eyes and see that today’s world is cruel, and only we can turn the heartless shame into a worldwide search for the answers.  A worldwide search for love.  Love and faith are the only ways to reassure any of God’s children a tomorrow.  We are His Soul, His children.  It is time we all act like it!

         If these few words have touched your heart and you would like to know more or if you want to help, please get in touch with the following organizations:  Community for Creative Non-Violence, 425 Second Street N.W. Washington, DC 2001; Comic relief, P.O. Box 2208, Los Angeles , CA, 90040; and Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, 1468 West 25th Street, Cleveland, Oh, 44113.

 Published by the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio May 1994 Issue 6