it's theory and reality
to me. in the case of one of our guys, a few years ago, some local teens asked him to buy them some beer. they all went into the woods to drink it, and then they beat him to death. local authorities blamed the homeless and swept the tents of the homeless in the woods with bulldozers. is that justice in America? we can do better.
another one of our guests froze to death this past winter. and yet another, a viet nam vet, died alone in the woods from pneumonia.
a month ago, however, we drove another of our guests to a hospital about 100 miles away where they performed a life saving surgery. another former guest just celebrated his one year anniversary from being out of the woods, working and living in a rented room. another gal seems, for now, to have escaped the clutches of an abusive boyfriend, and has left the streets for two jobs and a rented room. and with the help of local hospital social workers, and our county department of social services, a room in a nursing home was secured for our alcholic diabetic. was that effort worth it so he wouldn't die on the streets? i think so.
and yet one 19 year old homeless girl finds herself pregnant. what will ultimately happen to her and her unborn, we don't yet know.
i guess i'd rather try to help, even if i got taken or robbed, or made a fool of, than to stop. this is not for everybody. when we in the business get together for case management meetings, there's a lot of humor present as we sort through what we feel are the more 'sound investments' as opposed to other levels of assistance we can offer, from just basic food and a shower, to the purchase of tools or to fund a security deposit. we simply do the best we can under the circumstances, against all odds that any type of success is possible.
a handout? yes. a handup? maybe. more good than harm? one can only hope.