Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Eye Of The Beholder

Well. We've taken elitism to a whole new level. The one time Federal Building is being vacated for new digs. It has been proposed to turn it into office space for various charities that help the homeless. The downtown association says NIMBY!!! Not in my back yard. The concern? People with mental health problems and substance abuse might be drawn to downtown.

We certainly wouldn't want that. We'd much rather have drunks falling out of the bars after too long a happy hour or the stabbings that seem to occur with some frequency around the Torch Lounge or the cat fights at the resort. Oh, and teenagers wandering around with guns. It's okay. They aren't breaking any laws.

Neither are the homeless.

Forget the fact there already are some services for them in the area. They already have a presence. Forget the fact that many who are looking for aid do have jobs. They just do not earn enough to pay rent. Thank a service oriented, minimum wage economy. Is it how they look? Do they look any worse than I do falling into town after hiking on Tubbs Hill? Maybe. Maybe not.

But then it is all in the eyes of the beholder. A columnist in Spokane attended a performance by a choir made up of homeless. She reported, "Soon, I balance a paper plate on my knee and try my best to blend in. But that's impossible because I'm not homeless." Wow.

You can't sweep them under a rug when you're considering seeking HUD funds. You might face the problem though. Perhaps having them right under your nose is the way to get it done. It's a thought.

It could be anyone of us you know. No matter how well one plans, the unexpected can happen. In this age of globalization when jobs are disappearing at a dizzying rate and companies are downsizing, what is one to do when the unexpected happens?

When hand to mouth and payday to payday run out you're left with a car, maybe, or a shelter if you're lucky. I rather think if people are seeking aid the intention is to get back on their feet. They should be applauded, not shunned.

What if the tourists see them? They won't be shocked. Homeless are everywhere. Even pristine Coeur d'Alene.


Betty said...

We are suffering from a lack of compassion in this country. It's an epidemic.

Phil said...

We rarely go downtown, and usually it's to Tubbs Hill. I don't know why anyone would be scared of a homeless person. I'm more nervous of the tourists driving down Sherman while talking on their cellphones.

Dogwalkmusings said...

Phil, I had to laugh - why do you think it's tourists on the cell phones or do you note license plates?

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid of anyone driving down any street talking on their cell.