Homelessness: A topic that hits home to me
Homelessness is not a personal problem, it is a social issue. If there are hungry, unclothed, unsheltered, human beings in your city streets then it is your duty to lend a helping hand. Do not wait on someone else to aid them- that may not happen. Kindness is in your control and most importantly in your nature.
Like many people, for a while I became focused on my personal goals and neglected the needs of others. Mostly, when it came to the homeless community. I believed that is was an issue for the government to take care of (as if), or that the person themselves made poor decisions and landed themselves in that situation. Don’t get me wrong I would give a dollar or two to whoever asked, regardless of their habits or what my predetermined biases were of them, but that was not enough.
Giving without understanding or taking time to analyze the situation is also as neglectful in many ways. A dollar or two did not solve their problems, it just temporarily aided their most urgent need. After that interaction I would just go about my life as I always did; no thoughts about the matter. I was headed HOME to prepaid food, heat, and comfort. Until next time- I supposed- it was a norm and a part of the city I grew up in. You either had drug addicts trying to get their next fix or lazy people who did not care to work even a part time to make some money (at least that was my mindset at the time). Until life happened and it was one of my own that was affected. It was only then that I started to feel uneasy and realize the severity and size of the problem.
A relative of mine had been in an out of jail his whole life and upon being released from prison (after serving a 10+ year sentence), he struggled to find employment and keep himself clean. Which is the case with many individuals who are caught on the wrong side of the law. Regardless of what landed them there- whether a poor decision, a mistake, a bad habit- should they not have a second chance and the same opportunities when released? Food for thought- but back to the topic. Having been released from his 4x4 county penthouse he would temporarily find employment and then find his way back, jobless, and onto the streets after a few weeks.
Living in the streets he was forced to rely on his primitive nature of ‘life or death’ and survival of the fittest, just like his homeless counterparts. He relied on criminal activities like selling drugs and stealing just to get a meal and survive. While I do not know fully the extent of his criminal activities while on the streets, I know that his situation went from bad to worse in 2013.
He was found unconscious with huge lacerations to his head- seconds from death. He had become a victim, yet again, to the unruly misfortune of being homeless and forced to survive on your own. After a week on life-support, endless MRI’s, and doctor consults, my family had to make a decision whether to unplug the machine that was breathing for him or to keep him attached for our sake.
We decided to let God have the final say and the doctors proceeded to remove the life support. They warned us that his death would be almost immediate or at most we would have an hour with him. By the grace of GOD, the universe, Mother Nature, or whatever else you may call IT, he survived. Today he is only half the man he once was, due to the blows and injuries he suffered to his head when he was attacked; he can longer speak and many of his functions have been reduced to the point where he needs to be aided by nurses in a home.
I share all this with hopes that no one else I know will have to go through this uneasy feeling of not knowing where their relative is or have to make a decision on whether they should let go of their loved one once again. The issue is very real- it is in our faces and we can no longer ignore it. There are more than half a million homeless individuals in the US alone and every single one of them need our help.
Our philosophy here at Ahnansi is that cycle of life consists of four elements: gaining, giving, teaching, and repeating. Meaning once you are stable, comfortable, and have all your basic necessities met, you should find a way to share it and give to someone in need. After providing that individual with what it is they need, you then must teach them how to obtain on their own that which you have given. Once that person gains the knowledge they will be more inclined of being able to provide for themselves and help someone else in need. You yourself should venture off to find who else is in need and continue the pattern.