You might have slummed it- I did- a period where you just had no cash. I was in Paris (hence the photo) and felt keenly the lack of money and opportunity in a large city. Being an urban dweller we can’t stop ourselves from developing “blinders.” I’m the first to admit it. Friend from Kentucky was walking around the Tenderloin with me, and kept stopping to talk to folks sitting on the pavement, giving them lists of shelters and just listening to their stories. I wasn’t upset at him, just made me realize how we do it, we turn a blind eye. Visitors from Minnesota were really shocked, and I was helping to explain the situation to their daughters- 15 and 11- who hadn’t seen a homeless person in real life, ever. My explanation? A kind of rehearsed, jaded, insidery opinionated rant on Reaganomics in California (they were very conservative Bush supporters) and how in SF it’s “easy to be homeless.” I’m not proud of my rant, but it’s what I felt at the time and is justified historically, and factually, at least. I did keep repeating, “It’s self-medication,” as most of the folks Reagan kicked out of halfway houses were addicts or managing pain and mental issues in their own way. Still, just because it can be explained doesn’t mean it isn’t an issue. Hopefully, with a solution.
My favorite local charity: North Beach Citizens. What’s yours?
This post was inspired by Blog Action Day, if you’re a blogger please contribute by writing about poverty.