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The Destiny of Lesser Animals

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With winter soon approaching, I would like to take this moment to remind people of our most important social responsibility… Thank you for remembering the less fortunate.

By Veronica Emilia Nuzzolo, M.Ed., Ph.D.

Homeless in the winter

Homeless in America

“Get a job, is the comment most often hurled at homeless individuals as they panhandle their way through the streets of our cities. Some are addicts, some are mentally impaired, some are just temporarily down on their luck, some are veterans, and many are targeted. By far the most painful to see are the veterans some with missing limbs. So, the next time you see a homeless person and you start thinking, get a job, just stop and count your blessings that you have a roof over your head because it is only by the grace of god that you are not homeless.” National Homeless Organization (2009).

January in New England, bitter cold weather and snow is upon us, how many homeless people did you see, let me rephrase, did you notice outside today? Did you look the other way, did you pretend not to notice, or have you been so conditioned to ignore this population of people who you legitimately just do not even see them anymore.

What is your perception of a homeless person, how do you justify your opinion of this population of people, do they deserve this life, did they ask for it? I personally cannot imagine that anyone would make a conscious decision to wake up one day and want to struggle just to attempt to meet his or her basic needs.

So, if you did encounter a homeless person in front of the corner store, or at the T station, did you say hello, did you even acknowledge there was a person standing or sitting in front of you, did you offer him or her a hot cup of coffee, did you offer the second pair of gloves we usually have in the back seat of the car, or at the bottom of our backpack this time of year, did you do anything, when you stepped over the man sleeping on the heating grate, did you stop to see if he was alive, should you do anything, do we have a social responsibility to better help the homeless or shall we say the invisible people barely existing within our community?

When did it become socially acceptable to treat human beings like animals?

Oh yes, the irony, what I noticed when I was out today – I noticed several groups of people out and about very concerned with finding, feeding, keeping warm, and protecting feral cats and dogs from this fierce New England weather, (thank you and please keep up the good work).

Thank goodness humanity still exists for some, but what is the destiny for the lesser animals also known as America’s homeless.

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146 Comments

  1. Hamza Rizvancevic says:

    Being born in Bosnia I was accustomed seeing gypsies and beggars in the street. Growing up in the United States I had a different perspective of the homeless.
    Most people in Bosnia have a general disrespect for gypsies and homeless people. I know it isn’t the same being discussed in the blog, but I do believe that the different cultures towards homeless people is worth discussing.
    In the United States, the topic of homelessness has different opinions from people. Walking in any city you will see the homeless; many people walk straight past them without looking or even considering them. Some stop and help with money or food. Through my experience, there is a mixed view of homelessness in America.
    Sometimes the homeless are seen as addicts or beggars, other times as cons. So often are the stories of “fake” homeless people making a lot of money recited, and so little are the stories of real, struggling people discussed.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2285423/Meet-man-makes-100K-year-begging-pretending-mentally-handicapped.html

    I’m not an expert on the homeless, economics or psychology. I do know that life is very often unfair, and the act of human support (either through money, emotional help, etc.) can go a long way for anyone, especially if they are in a tough situation that is out of their control.

    I recently learned about a great charity that connects with this topic, “The Empowerment Plan”, that helps to distribute and create jackets that can also be converted to heated sleeping bags to homeless people. The company that makes these jackets also only employs homeless people to make them, and gives them away completely for free. Currently they have factories in Detroit and Chicago, and I think the city of Boston and it’s surrounding area would benefit from a program like this. Boston has very cold and snowy winters, and everyone deserves at least the comfort of a warm sleeping space no matter their situation.

    Like

  2. SteveMc says:

    Veronica

    I just saw this and thought of your class. I hope it is a worthy contribution to everyone’s perspective.
    This big-hearted man is building miniature homes for West Oakland’s homeless.

    http://nationswell.com/gregory-kloehn-homes-on-wheels-for-homeless/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Veronica says:

      Hi Steve,,..

      Thank you,, I just watched this,, it is awesome,, ,,Thanks again!!

      Like

    • Belice Puentes says:

      Hi Steve,
      Amazing video. There are souls full of compassion and love for others in need. Thanks for sharing it!

      Like

      • Shaldup Paljor says:

        Hi Steve,
        I just watched this video and it truly opened my eyes to the true people these homeless people. It’s surprising how much can be concealed of a person and accentuates the saying, don’t judge by appearance.

        Like

  3. Nick says:

    I have always focused on positivity and doing what is best for yourself and you should never give up on yourself all you need is confidence in yourself to make a change

    Like

  4. Samuel Martinez says:

    The homeless of America are a truly unfortunate kind of people. With the population of homeless individuals in Massachusetts rising faster than in any other state, it isn’t uncommon to see a few people begging for money on the streets of Boston. Most people are used to ignoring them, others pitch in money or clothes. I learned to ignore them, not only because I never have any money, but also because I do not know their back story. I may pass by someone that had used all their money on drugs, someone that had gambled off all of their money, or someone that did not make enough to pay for their rent. It is truly a game of chance when giving your money to a stranger on the street, they can use it for food and other necessities, or they can spend it on cigarettes or other drugs. However, one of my friend’s family spends hundreds of dollars on gift cards to Stop & Shop, Old Navy, etc. so that instead of being unsure of whether or not the homeless person will use the money on good or bad, they’ll be sure to use it on a necessity. One day, after I had been grocery shopping with my family, we stopped at a light and someone in raggedy clothing and begging for money came to our window and instead of handing over a couple of ones, my mother offered some food from our car. The man outside blatantly declined our offer, further influencing the stereotype that most homeless people use their money to buy more drugs. The gift cards are a great idea that more people need to start using to help out others on the street. Another method I have seen and many others have as well is the winter clothing hung around trees in Boston. A Malden resident had hung winter clothing around trees in Boston Common with a sign that read, “If you are stuck out in the cold please take what you need to keep warm.” These ideas are truly helpful to those in need because instead of using money to buy harmful substances, they are forced to buy or wear what they are given, whether it be a gift card to Market Basket or a winter scarf. The homeless population need to noticed by everyone instead of being an invisible people, because if people continue to ignore these helpless men, women, and children, the problem will only get far worse. However, it is impossible to rid the world completely of homelessness but the problem can be lessened in populous cities like Boston or San Francisco.

    Article on the Malden resident involved in the winter clothing idea:
    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/12/09/just-wanted-give-back-says-malden-woman-who-offered-free-winter-clothes-boston-common/TPq1FZw0d4QwuS5os0QFyK/story.html

    Like

    • meralizcolon says:

      Wow this is amazing! I’m from Malden and to hear that someone from here did such a great deed is great but yes i agree with you. I believe that instead of giving money to someone who’s homeless or in need we give them clothing or food. Gift cards are also a good idea but I do know that at Stop & Shops they have a gift card machine where you can trade the gift card for card. The machine does charge you a fee depending on the amount of the gift card.

      Like

      • Peter Yin says:

        Wow this is really cool! I really appreciate how you think of the homeless, and how you actually want to support them unlike others. I also agree with meralizcolon that you should gave homeless people clothes, and food instead of money because they won’t find that little money very useless rather than the material goods. Additionally I think we should fund a shelter for the homeless so that they will no longer remain homeless

        Like

    • Belice Puentes says:

      That is an amazing gesture of love and compassion!! Thanks for sharing with us.

      Like

  5. Shaldup Paljor says:

    Growing up in America, I rarely noticed the homeless. I always seemed to be focused on other things and never shed light on such a large problem, that was seemingly growing. It wasn’t until my trip to Tibet where I really opened my eyes. On every street corner, I saw someone homeless, poor, and begging. During this trip, I truly realized what it meant to be underprivileged. These people were poor and homeless, and truly exemplified how unfair life really was, especially since in a country such as Tibet, the opportunities aren’t offered even if one is willing. Coming back to America, though I still feel pity, I can’t help but feel that the homeless here are taking the country’s offerings as granted. Unlike in Tibet where those who are willing can’t find work, homeless here are able to find jobs, though they may not be the best. Unless I truly know one’s story, sadly I don’t feel as pitiful for those here that’re homeless as they’re able to find jobs if they truly wish to.

    Like

  6. Robert Tynes says:

    This is true. It is almost accepted as a societal norm to look the other way or pass on by without acknowledging the less fortunate. I have been guilty of saying I had nothing to offer or looking the other way while driving up Melnea Cass Blvd. I believe that some of us may learn to be wary around some homeless people, especially those with a visible drug habit, for fear of the desperation and frustration they could be carrying in the event that you say no. While I’ve also had many situations and conversations with the homeless who did not appear to be harmful or visibly on drugs. I guess it can go back to what you mentioned in class about people appearing more approachable when well dressed or not appearing to be upset or disgruntled.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The problem of homeless is a serious problem. My first time to see an homeless in USA let me really down. I couldn’t believed that. But, by the time I started to understand the situation and its mains reasons. I am lucky to have a roof. During the cold weather and the snow, I wear three pants with three covers and all those things to be warm but I can sleep. When I think about some people outside It hurts me. It can happen to everyone and we are lucky not to be like them.

    Like

  8. victorialuchi says:

    Growing up in a society who learn that homeless people should get a job and will only use our money in drugs or alcohol we learn that we should be avoiding the homeless. Many times we forget that they are human beings that deserve at least a little respect. Many restaurants refuse to give their left overs to homeless or people who have so much refuse to give a coat or a blanket. It really makes us think about the kind of society we live in.

    Like

  9. Rodney Figueroa says:

    Is it our responsibility to help out the homeless and less fortunate? No I don’t believe so. But that doesn’t mean there’s a right or wrong answer when deciding if you wanna help out. It’s tough to want to help out someone who claims they’re homeless when you’ve encountered those who have lied to you because you actually caught them using the money for something else or using the same excuse on you again because they didn’t remember you from the time before. Coming from two immigrant parents who worked hard to make money and put food on the table, it’s tough to not say “get a job” or “stop being lazy”. But when I do say that to myself I catch myself and remember that i don’t know what they’re going through or have gone through

    Like

  10. Hannah Ramos says:

    I think that observational learning can be applicable here. We grew up seeing people passing by homeless like there was no one there, and we hear all the time that we must be careful, that we should ignore them as if they were a threat. Also, now we can apply operant conditioning, we start to associate homeless people with drugged people, lazy, and who don’t want to work and who don’t deserve anything. This have to change! We have to put ourselves in their place, think if you could live like them? With no one to help, with everyone treating you as invisible, with no money to buy food, in the streets with no appropriate clothes, having to sleep in a cold floor…
    Yes, sometimes we do help some of them and then see they using the money for other things, but we can’t think that all of them would do that. We can’t make conclusions based on one single story. And, we can help them in different ways, we can give them food, we can give them a sweater, we can give them a blanket, etc. We can also give them love!!!

    Like

  11. Omolara Tijani says:

    Being homeless is really sad, but the fact that the homeless people have shortage of food, cloth and non shelter doesn’t make them less human, they should be treated with pity. Some of them are unemployed, some lack physical or mental ability to work and provide three square meal for themselves and their families. Even though, most people see them as lazy people alcohol or drug addict. Some of them uses the money given to them for drugs, cigarette or other inessential stuff. Still, we can’t judge everybody the same way. Nevertheless, the fact still remains that they lack what we might have in excess. Although, it’s hard to give out of our hustle income. yet, we should render some assistance in terms of foods cloths or links to a shelter home or any other governmental or Non Governmental Organization (NGO) around to help their situation. They need better living.

    Like

  12. (Sleeping) Mr.Seigler says:

    Being Homeless is a sad status to say the least, when it comes to the mundane atmosphere that has been unconsciously place around homeless is dehumanizing as more people would pass the homeless than help out. An interesting thought that I also feel is connected to this topic is how people might give more if they feel more connected to the cause like how a man pretend to be homeless for weed and booze and got more people to donate to him but when he said it was for his family almost nobody gave anything to him. When it come to the social responsibility of helping the homeless I believe almost everyone can, therefore they should but not to say just because its doable it should be done , just saying ethically the action of helping someone is the right thing to do. American as a society to me is a movement that is struggling to paint the picture of helping everyone out that can be helped. The homeless should be able to at least know that they have other people that care whether they are complete stranger of not, a helping hand should always be welcomed but it has to be offered first. So it very discomforting knowing the need help but are ignore and as a society it’s saddening if this became if not already apart of the culture.

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=homeless+man+gets+more+money+for+weed+and+booze+than+for+family&&view=detail&mid=F15E4879833252FDA817F15E4879833252FDA817&&FORM=VRDGAR
    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=homeless+man+jsut+want+to+talk+not+money&&view=detail&mid=08DFF3E6E9EC339F94DF08DFF3E6E9EC339F94DF&&FORM=VRDGAR

    Like

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