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The Homelessness Discussion I Overheard at Work

May 26, 2016 by Lady Unemployed

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I found this photo above five years ago. Seems more fitting for me now than five years ago.

The thing is there is a homelessness problem near my job. Homeless camps, drug users, people have been photographed shooting up and having sex on sidewalks, people have had tents and camps on sidewalks in front of my building.

So it isn’t great. And it makes me uncomfortable enough I did buy pepper spray to carry with me when I walked to my bus. And I would be a liar if I didn’t say I wish this crowd was somewhere else.

But as I hear the owner of my company plead with city officials to fix the problem and groups organize to document the footage of what goes on around us, sometimes I feel sad about what all this sounds like.

What made it worse and what made me want to blog about it was a discussion I overheard in the break room.

I walked in to get coffee and I overheard with tones of disgust two coworkers talking about the surrounding problem.

And I can’t remember the conversation verbatim but it left me feeling like we could apply that same discussion to a pest control discussion.

“Some even have cell phones!” One woman said with disgust.

I turned and said, “Oh I think shelters give those out or so I’ve heard.”

The conversation died. But I thought…

The homelessness we see are people just like us. Kids who have become adults who once had dreams and desires to become something that surely didn’t include shooting up on the street and digging through garbage cans. And I know it’s not as simple as that. Nothing is.

I learned in college we are people first. These are people.

And from what I’ve learned in my own situation of barely making ends meet things can go off track so badly. So I think as I walk down the street trying to get to work and ignore the obvious pain all around me….there but for the grace of God go I.

I don’t want to judge my coworkers too harshly. I am not exactly striving to be part of the solution. I cross the street when I see tents surrounding the city block, look away when I see signs begging for money, shake my head sadly when I hear people asking for me change and I don’t exactly volunteer either.

But I just wonder if we started talking about this problem differently what would change. If we started thinking of those who we see struggling the most as people first instead of as an insect infestation that must be gotten rid of.

Just a thought I wanted to share.


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