“Are Homeless People Worthless?”

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Back to School volunteers Amber Genevieve Pat Kristi BarbaraA question I was asked to respond to.  Here’s my answer:

I suppose it depends on who you ask.

Some people consider all horseless people worthless because they are either mentally ill or addicted, because otherwise they wouldn’t be on the street. Many homeless consider themselves worthless because they have failed at the basics of living in society. They see themselves and anyone else in their community on the street failures, worthless, pointless. Others look at a person on the street as disgusting, to be treated as trash, out of their neighborhoods and only deserving to appear at soup kitchens and repenting at church.

However, there are many of us who disagree. How some look at the outcast has nothing to do with their worth. Their dirty clothes hide noble souls, jewels buffed by difficulty. They are people who are missing stability and a loving community for them to be whole people. But they still give so much.

Homeless people give to society, recycling and reusing what many throw away. They help and encourage their fellow poor, providing hope and opportunities for survival.

On a freezing night, a young woman was kicked out of her home with only shorts on and no shoes or a coat. She huddled in the snow next to a transformer, proviing the only heat she can find. My homeless friend rode by on his bike and said, “You look cold! Wait here for a few minutes.” In ten minutes, visiting three dumpsters he frequented regularly, he came back with a coat, shoes and a pair of socks. It didn’t get her out of the cold, but it helped her survive.

Homeless people are among the most generous people I know, all while struggling against the economic force of the world. No one is worthless. Homeless folks least of all.

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