Got a warm place tonight?
The temperature right now in Bath, Maine is -4 degrees. Chance and I are fortunate tonight to have a warm bed and heat. There are about 650,000 people in the US who are homeless. I don’t know how many are here in the northeast or other places where the weather is so cold, but for those who are I hope they have something to keep them warm and alive.
Almost 40% of homeless people do not have a shelter or transitional housing. They are literally on the street or sleeping under railroad bridges or off somewhere in the woods. Many of these people have drug or alcohol abuse problems, mental illnesses, or the lack of will to live and care for themselves. Some are children. In most cases their families have disowned them or are punishing them for failing in some way and will not help.
Oddly enough I don’t remember a single moment during the presidential primaries or the national campaign when homelessness was even mentioned. In retrospect, it is shameful that we have forgotten these people. I will tell you that there is absolutely nothing more terrifying and emotionally crushing than not knowing where you are going to live or if you will ever find a place to call home again.
I implore you to look through your local newspaper to get the names of your local shelters and food pantries. If you can afford it, make a donation or offer to volunteer to help, even if it’s just to stop in and talk to these folks. They feel alone, ashamed, and worthless. Just by saying hello you might leave behind the spark that helps them make the next step to help themselves.
During this cold spell many of us make an extra effort to rescue animals that are at risk and I support that, but we also need to remember our fellow humans who could use some TLC right now.