Plan needs input from homeless

Editor:

Regarding the story “City signs onto planned homeless aid,” (Sept. 3) all the well-laid plans and attempts in the past ended up complete failures except in the cases of a few homeless who were lucky enough to escape from such an awful way of life. Countless others remain slaves, not by choice but by circumstances, which they cannot control.

The hope for the helpless, the homeless, is in the hands of committee members who don’t know, don’t understand, the homeless situation, although their hearts are in the right place. That understanding is required to combat homelessness.

The homeless are not a single group. They’re individuals and small bands, separate and very different.

Each band determines the kind of lifestyles they live. The lifestyle is chosen freely, and they become fully accustomed to it in their daily ventures, accepting life as is.

Some programs use gender preferences, but this gets in the way of progress in combating homelessness. Many programs exist to help women, who may be temporarily homeless, but are not subject to the causes of real, long-term homelessness. Divorced and living with parents or friends is a different story than living under a bridge or in the bushes.

Progress is attainable where preferences are not based on gender but on the abilities of families and individuals to accept and fulfill all of the duties and requirements set before them. Ten or 15 percent will accept help, but they are often the first ignored.

Those people should be taken first because they are most promising of restoration to a stable and normal lifestyle thanks to the aid.

In due time, all homeless should receive an equal measure of help, for they themselves are entitled to the same rights and protections as all other Americans are blessed.

Homelessness continues to march onward having constructed for itself a highway leading to nowhere. Signs are posted along its weary way, “There’s hope around the next bend.” But it’s hope that very few homeless ever find.

Homelessness has no interest and does not respect a person, birthright or country. The door to homelessness is always open to anyone who is forced to enter.

One last thing, let all those who are able say, “But for the grace of God, there go I.” No person should be held to answer for having (at no fault of their own), become a victim of the circumstances that forced them into the Dark Jungle of Homelessness.

Hugh N. Hensley

Sweet Home

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