Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Homeless On New Year's Day

The holidays are officially over.  Newly burdened with assorted items of necessity, received as 'gifts' from various donation sources, homeless people now focus on riding out the rest of winter, and look forward to spring.   People who have homes can suffer from post holiday depression, just imagine how much more depressing it can be, once all the celebrations are over, to also have to deal with being homeless.

By this time, the homeless may have also gathered more things than they know what to do with, certainly more things than they can carry around with them.    I developed a personal policy, long ago, to never take more than I could carry with me in one back pack.    It just seemed ridiculous to have several trash bags full of "stuff" that I'd have to haul around with me, everywhere I went.   I knew that carrying such stuff around would target me as homeless, and that's the last thing I wanted.     I have never declined to admit my homelessness to anyone, and being known as homeless has never been a problem for me.  Instead, it was all the crap I had to deal with from people, once they knew I was homeless.  I never wanted to be refused service at some restaurant or cafe.  I wanted to be welcomed wherever I went.   Yes, there have been times when I ended up with three back packs full of stuff, but I got rid of things quickly, or I had a safe place to keep my things.   I tried to never take more than one of each thing I needed, although that didn't always work out.   It is easy to end up with a dozen tooth brushes and tubes of tooth paste, 6 pairs of pants, 4 pairs of shoes, etc., etc.    In a couple weeks time, most of these bags brimming full of donations will be regarded as too much of a burden and the stuff will be given away or thrown away.  Then a month or two down the road, homeless people will be in need of these things again.    I always recommend, to no avail, that people be more judicious with their donations.   Sure, the holidays are the big 'gift giving' days.  But by the end of February there will be just as much need as ever for these same donations.