How Should We Treat the Homeless?


I think that to treat all homeless people in one certain way would be
hard for me to do because there are many reasons for a person to be homeless,
and some of them should be treated differently from others. I feel that the
runaways and drug addicts don't deserve as much as the unemployed and war
veteran types. But I feel in my heart that all people with no homes, or lives
for that matter, should get some sort of help to survive and get back on their
feet so that they can become a pro-ductive member of society.

Lars Eighner, a homeless man, wrote a book entitled "Travels with
Lizbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets" in which he describes in
one chapter "the process of scavenging Dumsters for food and other
necessities." Eighner states that even though he is homeless with not much
money, he still eats and sometimes finds money from scavenging Dumpsters. This
seems like a form of self-reliance for him.

In his story, Eighner tells us what is safe to eat, how to tell if it is
safe, and where to get the food. He states that a lot of people throw away
perfectly good food, and when they do he finds it. Eighner says the food "can
be evaluated with some confidence largely on the basis of appearance." In my
opinion, I don't care if the food looks perfect, I wouldn't eat garbage unless
I was dying from hunger.

But eating is only one problem facing the homeless. Their second
priority should be shelter. Where will they go if it is freezing or something?
Many large cities have homeless shelters, but sometimes they get full and the
last to arrive might not be allowed in due to overcrowding according to fire
laws. I wish that they would let these people sleep on the floor or something
rather than sleep outside and freeze to death. I think that if the government
can't help these people get back on their feet, then they should build larger
shelters to house all of them. They could even serve more food at the shelters
so the homeless won't have to eat garbage. I know my city is building a very
large shelter to take in the homeless and I hope other cities follow.

Homeless people have many problems to face. If this country would
organize more programs to help the homeless, we might see some really low-class"
panhandlers" become productive citizens if they choose to. Then the people who
have been helped could help more homeless to get back on their feet. It could
be a chain of homeless helping homeless.