A Word about the Homeless

homeless1

I am a compassionate person.  My wife and I live in downtown Chicago. We walk past people with homeless signs every day. Some have physical disabilities, and others are clearly “not all there.” Because there is a PADS program in Chicago, almost all of them have access to centers that will provide temporary housing. There are also soup kitchens that provide life-sustaining meals. Most of the people on the street choose to live there, rather than be thrown into a group environment.  I have few problems with this.

HOWEVER, I have a real problem with someone who is clearly healthy and in the prime of his or her life sitting on a sidewalk with a corrugated sign that reads something like, “I lost my job and need money.” Here’s why this ticks me off:

  • There are 5.4 million job openings in America, mostly lower level and requiring very few skill sets to quality. Source:  October 14, 2015, Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Unemployment assistance lasts for six-months before it runs out. Source: IDES
  • There are dozens of retraining programs freely provided. IllinoisWorknet.com
  • People who claim to be veterans don’t mention that any veteran no longer able to work qualifies for a Veterans Disability Pension.

homeless family sleeping on floor

I am not insensitive, but I compare the above scenario to the unbelievable conditions that people live in elsewhere in poverty-stricken areas of the world:

  • There are 70 million homeless in India with no possibilities for employment, even though many are highly educated.
  • The top five rates of unemployment range from Senegal at 48% to 70% Zimbabwe (see Wikipedia for all rates)
  • The United States has a murder rate of 4.7% (per 100K inhabitants) versus Honduras—90.4%, Venezuela-53.7%, El Salvador-41.2%, and Brazil-25.2%. Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

There are probably one billion people in this world that would risk their lives to move to America or other affluent countries. It goes on daily at our borders. You would have to have been asleep not to see what has been going on with refugees from war-torn Syria.

I am writing a book about a homeless kid in Rio de Janeiro named Lucas Rocha and what he does to save his sisters from the slums. Sometimes good people do bad things for the greater good.

 

 

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