Author: Daniel, Bert


I was going through the newspaper the other day and I came across an article about how the east bay city of Albany recently relocated homeless people from a waterfront peninsula called the bulb in order to make way for a new park extension. A couple dozen or so of the last holdout campers received a $3000 payment just to get up and leave. Albanyís neighbors in Berkeley were not too happy about the added stress on their own already stretched resources to take care of homeless people. A couple of relocated people interviewed were actually happy about the change because now they got to live beneath a busy interstate highway overpass.

Nationwide, there an estimated 633,782 homeless people with about 130,898 or 20.7 percent in California ó the state with the highest homeless population. Over 20% of the homeless people in America live in just two big cities: New York and Los Angeles. A large majority of the homeless are men, many of them military veterans.

Out in the cold world, far away from home
Somebodyís boy is wandering all alone
No one to guide him and set his footsteps right
Somebodyís boy is homeless tonight

Itís an age old problem and one many people donít want to even think about. Many homeless people have alcohol or drug abuse problems. Many have other psychiatric issues as well and have fallen through the social safety net and into the mean streets for one reason or another. Sadly, a sizable portion of the homeless are families down on their luck. There are as many stories as there are homeless people. Some may even be happy living a care free rambling hobo life. Thereís a certain romance to that counterculture letís-see-what-the-next-day brings sort of attitude.

But can you imagine living under an interstate overpass day after day? When I read that article I was touched by the fact that some people who have almost nothing can still be grateful for what they do have. Itís easy to ignore the homeless but we shouldnít. We all see those folks standing patiently in the hot sun with their signs asking for help. Most of us just drive by without even thinking about what their story is. Maybe once in a while after visiting the grocery store we should hand them a sandwich or better still listen to their story.

Oh bring back to me my wandering boy
There is no other one to give me joy
Tell him his mother with faded cheeks and hair
Is at the old home place awaiting him there.
Posted:  7/21/2014

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