Friday, February 10, 2006

Homeless in Toledo

My earlier post, No Homeless at the Super Bowl, continues to receive comments and links to interesting blogs. The most recent one led to historymike's musings and Michael Brooks, who happens to be a writer and editor. He has an interesting first-person account about Major Goodlow, a homeless person. The article is part-one of a two-part series examining homelessness in Toledo, and also appears in this week's Toledo Free Press.
Major Goodlow is upfront about the reasons behind his homelessness.

“What it really comes down to is that I have a problem with disobedience,” he said. “I know that I shouldn’t be doing certain things, but I wind up doing them anyways.”

Among those disobedient behaviors was a decision years ago that Major made to try crack cocaine...

Major is 37, and just celebrated his birthday inside the Cherry Street Mission, Toledo’s oldest and busiest homeless shelter.

The shelter does more than simply provide beds and food. A spokesperson for the Mission said they try to get everyone that comes through the door to make a commitment to their rehabilitation program, and that 74% of the men who complete the program avoid falling back into homelessness after one year. Many of the men at the shelter work:
“Many people think that ‘homeless’ means ‘lazy’ or ‘bum,’ but a lot of these guys are working jobs,” he said. “They are working to get back into having their own place again.”

Moving beyond the story of Major Goodlow though, and reading the comments, is another story - a story of hate. Some "enlightened" racist actually posted this comment:

"If stating the truth means that I'm a racist, then so be it." - David Duke.

Read between the lines and you can figure out what his idea of truth is.

It's not enough that the homeless have to deal with mental illness, drug addiction and the other problems that lead to their homelessness, they also have to deal with ignorance and hate. What is it about some people that leads them to kick a man when he's down?

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