Monday, February 06, 2006

Educating Ourselves About Homelessness

My recent post about the homeless being sheltered out of sight during the Super Bowl received several comments and links to two blogs I felt were important to mention. The first one is The Homeless Guy. This blog is maintained by a man who's lived on the streets and is trying to turn his life around. I found his posts fascinating because he provided candid answers to questions like these: How can we best help the homeless? How should we deal with panhandlers? How did he become homeless?

These were his most poignant words though, and I'm sure they reflect a truth most of us can understand at some level.
Know that homeless people have lost most of their love of self and others, and that by others showing genuine concern for them, they will begin, again, to care about themselves - a first step in the journey out of homelessness.

The second link directed me to the Homelessness Marathon blog, which was created to discuss the 9th Annual Homelessness Marathon that is set to air from Atlanta starting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 15th. Locally, Lansing station WLNZ - 89.7 FM will carry the broadcast. Here is a description of the marathon from their website:
The Marathon is a unique 14-hour live broadcast focusing on homelessness and poverty in America.

The Homelessness Marathon is a consciousness-raising, not a fund-raising broadcast. There are no on-air solicitations. Instead, the Marathon presents the voices of experts, takes calls from around the country and, above all, puts homeless people on the air directly so America can hear who they really are and learn about the obstacles they face.

The Homelessness Marathon regularly covers topics other broadcasts don't touch. For example, six months before Katrina hit, we aired a segment entitled, "Hurricanes and Homelessness." Some of the tough questions we'll be raising this year include, "Why is there growing friction between Katrina survivors and people who are homeless for other reasons?" and, "Has the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless sold out the very homeless people it is supposed to protect?" But the toughest question is also the simplest one, and we ask it every year: "Why are people sleeping on the streets of the richest country in the history of the world?" [Emphasis mine.]

Check both blogs out for yourself. I believe we need to educate ourselves on the problems people in our country face if we hope to find answers and provide help. For more information on homelessness here in Michigan, click here and follow the links.

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