We call it the “homeless problem” in America. Some of us see the homeless people in this country as dirty people that sleep in the tunnels under the city and in vacant buildings and in vacant lots. Many are homeless because of misfortune. Many are homeless because life has dealt them a physical or mental “bad hand.” There are some that were once professionals and, now, for whatever reason, have just “dropped out” of society. And, some may actually prefer this kind of life-style like the hobos of the 1930’s and 1940’s who rode the rails from town to town.
Many of these people are on the streets because we have abandoned the very institutions that once housed them -- the state-run mental facilities. However, homeless people have been around since man first built cities. In the bible, you can read of beggars that were either crippled or blind or had some other affliction such as leprosy. We like to think that its just a modern problem, but it’s not!
Generally, we leave them to be taken care of by the more religious or compassionate of society. We leave them to organizations like the Salvation Army and the Little Brothers and Sisters of the Poor. Because of their care, we don’t have the homeless constantly dying on our streets from starvation and illness. Many of these organizations also feed the soul and mind as well as the body. Some people may be able to get back on their feet and rejoin the greater society. These organizations take a lot of burden off of the Federal Government. These are the groups that our former President, George W. Bush, called the “armies of compassion.” And, these groups greatly need our help.
You may not like to see homeless people on your city streets. You may not like them begging for your money, and, you may get irritated if they clean the windshield of you car. However, you should always remember that these people do have morals. Unlike criminals that would steal and sell drugs, the homeless in this country are a nobler lot. They generally don’t try to hurt their fellow man. They generally don’t steal. Instead they panhandle, and collect items that they can resell so that they can feed themselves. Some might be drug-users and alcoholics, but they generally don’t sell drugs. Many are religious or practice religion. And, for the most part, they are good people that life has treated poorly but who many of us view as bad citizens.
Today, Christmas is upon us. During this Holiday Season, many of us have given to their favorite charities. But, for this coming new year, lets make it a point to remember that being homelessness is a year-round condition. So, please don't forget to give generously throughout the year as well!