Why So Many Homeless?

A great line from the cartoon Yogi Bear comes to mind. “DON’T FEED THE BEARS!” You feed them, they won’t forage for themselves.

I don’t like to get political, mostly because I’m a horrible debater.  I can’t come up with quick, witty, “smart” comebacks, so I avoid confrontation like a plague. So what comes next is not intended to spark ire or dissent from any of my followers. I am one of those that is registered non partisan.  I WANT to vote for the person not their party.  That’s not always easy, because parties have “leanings”.

What got me going on the homelessness issue is that we have a lot of them in our area and it has become a major problem.  So much so that a FB Web page was created to vent and possibly find solutions to the problem.  Mostly to point out problem areas and…. vent.  Then, a friend of mine asked me to help her film a video featuring the homeless issues in our area.  Our goal is to find out who these people are and what is being done to alleviate their problem.  I skimmed on some of these points in my blog, Senseless deaths.  And, here’s the teaser… “in interviewing some of these folks, I made an interesting discovery …” but,   I’d be giving away too much if I say more. I won’t spill the beans.

In all this, my curiosity was peaked. I wanted to know more.  So, I began my research.  What follows is based on that and my own conclusions.

My research took me to website after website with statistics.  (I’m only sharing the one) What was interesting to me is that the majority of states with the highest number of homelessness are also states, with the exception of one, who vote primarily Democrat and are majorly “liberal”.  Yup!  It’s true.

Keep in mind, they did not break it down as such. It was just something that caught my attention.  Is it political?

Since liberals tend to dominate these states and are big into their causes, they are also states that offer the most services. In other words “HANDOUTS”.

This is how I feel about handouts.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”

Proverbs 13:4 : “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”

The Bible is not the only place this is found.

Qur’an 13:11 Allah spoke that Allah would not change the destiny of a tribe(anyone) if they do not try hard to change it themselves. (This was the best I could find)

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Do these folks, passionate about their causes, know exactly what they are doing? Possibly.  Maybe not. I’m sure the government does. Notice, I said “government”, not any one political entity.

PONDER THIS:  If they (the powers that be) keep the people poor and dependent then they become more pliable to whatever future purpose and they remain controllable. Nothing new here. It has been that way since time immemorial. Isn’t that how it is in third world countries? Yet… Why is it some of the people from those countries are breaking free of that cycle?  We, in this country used to have a very comfortable middle class, but that is disappearing. Why?

So how does this work?

Liberals are by and large educated people who can eloquently dictate to the poor people how to think. They make a lot of noise to push their way of thinking out in the forefront and they are very good at it.  One message constantly being force fed to the public is that Rich American’s are getting “rich” on the backs of the poor. Rich Americans are why they are where they are.  So they create this divide and festering angst against the rich or really anyone who is the power figure. What few people realize or take into account is that many of these same folks are also very rich.  Those in the entertainment field are the best examples.  They make their money dissing “corporate America” and playing up “the little guy” who has to go head to head with the “big guy”.  They create dramas all around the poor and the oppressed and victories over the “bosses, the power hungry billionaire tycoon of big corporations, who are evil and nasty.”  Some are, but I’ve met many an evil, oppressive “little guy/gal” in the work place as well.

Please know this,  I am not wealthy.  I did not retire on a fat pension.  I am 70 plus and guess what I still work. Heck, I drive for Uber and Lyft, (and I write) but that’s another story.

What people don’t realize is that, all this help and those wonderful programs is the equivalent of nothing more than “horse hobbling“.  The end goal is to keep people subservient. Horse hobbling limits their forward locomotion. Yes, let’s feed the children and do everything else for them,  kill their drive, so they never rise above doing what’s best for themselves. Yes, it is our Christian duty to help those needing help.  I’m sure other faiths have an equal thought on this as well.  This country, no this world was founded on survivors. You do or you die.

I’m not saying we don’t want to help people.  Heavens no.  The Bible has countless verses that tell us to feed our widows and orphans.

James 2:14-17 states:  “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

Psalms 82:3 : Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.

Despite the tendency to believe Islam violent, the Qur’an and especially the hadith highlight how helping another human being is a fundamental aspect of Islam.

So do we help?  YES!  Absolutely. But we must consider to what end or to what extent.

Notice the Bible constantly refers to the “widows and orphans” and in some places the “elderly” .  We have a responsibility to help those who cannot, not will not help themselves.

So, my point is to get people to rise above their situations.  Life can get us all down.  I’ve been down enough to want to find a remote place and disappear to.  When I watch the news sometimes, I get so discouraged at how people treat each other, the crazy things they do to one another, that I’ll shout out “Stop the world, I want to get off!”.

Without disclosing what some of my interviewees have said, but based on that, giving up is not the answer.  

BUT,  for all I said about the liberals, the one thing we can all agree on, is that we have to  find ways of showing them love and getting them the help they need without enlarging the problem and that is the hard part.

Do’s and Don’ts –

Do’s

BE Kind

If you have time, talk to them, if only to say hello.  They are not invisible.  This lady on the right was fascinating.

No two people’s story is the same.V. Maria

If you know where the nearest outreach program is or if your church has one, let them know where that is. Carrying a list or card with that information on it to hand out, gives you something to share. Doing this lets them know you care.

Don’ts

Warning:  Be smart. Don’t go into places to find them, some are hardened criminals, ex-cons or drug dealers and could be dangerous.

Don’t give them unopened bags of food for their dog – it could be a sympathy ploy. They’ll return it to the store for cash for drugs.  Seen it happen.

Don’t give money-  I know it’s hard to resist sometimes, but one guy told my husband how much he made panhandling and it was more than hubby makes in a day doing legitimate work. Don’t think that wasn’t discouraging.

Money goes to booze and drugs.  If they need medication or health care, there are state programs that give that to them for free,  if they will go and get it. I know, I know nothing is truly free, but at the taxpayers expense free.

If they truly want help, they know where all these services are anyway. Food

Many of these folks already collect food stamps and social security or financial assistance of some sort.  Many have phones, courtesy of family and friends that want them to stay connected but have given up on rehabilitating them.  Some even have computers they can use at pretty much any coffee shop, library or restaurant.

There are college students and young people who are homeless.  Yes, that’s true. I don’t have documentation or interviews on them… yet.  When I do, it will be posted.

For some it’s a temporary situation.

All in all, if nothing else, I hope I’ve given you some pondering fodder.

P.S. This is some of the garbage the homeless have left behind my home, which was one of the things, the above lady talks about in our interview.  The main thing, is be kind.

Trash

Matthew chapter 25, 34-46

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply,
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,  I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.

 

 

 

 

 

The Hole – Lost in L.A.

photo (45)

Have you ever wanted to beat yourself up over something you did that is so unlike you but that comes out at an inopportune time?

It’s not that it’s never happened before, but that it happens from time to time in stupid ways really bugs me, especially when it’s in front of someone I want to impress.

I remember the time I met Bill Murray. Bill was filming the movie that would later be called “Larger Than Life” (which he is or was), the working title being “Nickle and Dime(s).

I was working for a talent agency in Colorado at the time and we were in charge of filling the request for extra’s of Native American descent and because of the shortage of NA’s, some Hispanics were used. I was not there for the entire filming. I had studied acting for years so my job had been to coach the young actors that were later selected and not actually be in the film. Besides I was told they didn’t need anyone my age.  However for the last day, my boss asked me to dye my hair black, so I could pass for NA since they needed more for a particular scene, so I did.

Needless to say, I was terribly excited at going on my first movie set. As usual, there’s a lot of waiting and because it was out in the desert, I could wander around.  I met the cinematographer, who was from Italy. Very nice. then I met the guy in charge of all the technical stuff. It was amazing. He took me around the set and showed me how everything worked. (If you know film, you know that things are not as simple as they appear.) He had evidently been in the business a very long time and he described different aspects and jobs of movie making. I was enthralled by it all. I guess I must have appeared to him like a wide eyed child because when we parted, he smiled and said “You’ll be back!” He was right. I was in love. I didn’t know how or what my niche would be, but I had it bad.

In case you’re wondering, at the time this transpired, I was over the hill for the usual acting jobs that came around.  I was considered old when I attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts briefly for their summer program at the age of 50, yet they accepted me for the program.  So even though I was no spring chicken, I’ve never looked my age.  Good genes make me look way younger than my years.  When I was a kid I’d had my chance briefly to be in show business, but life got in the way and I had pretty much laid my dreams to rest, now they were sparking again but I digress. I’ll save that story for another time, since I’ve strayed from my subject. Still, I wanted to be a part of the business, I knew that.

So here I was, way out in the desert of Moab, Utah. All the extra’s had talked madly about what a wonderful and pleasant guy Bill was. They said, he was friendly, would sit and banter amicably with them and all this stuff.  So when I got in line for an autographed picture of him, on a rail car with an elephant behind him, I was expecting “Mr. Congeniality”.

Well, he isn’t a smiling type, at least not with me. He only took my picture and asked my name. I gave it to him and by this time I was terrified. Yes, a grown woman, terrified and I started babbling trying to make conversation. I have no idea what I said, but he winced and that made it worse. I kept wanting to put a zipper on my mouth but it just kept spewing. I don’t know who was more uneasy, me or him. Finally, I walked away, chagrined that it hadn’t gone better.  I wanted to be his friend. Well, at least I wanted to see this convivial person everyone had been talking about.  So, I asked myself, “Did I come off like I was hitting on him?”  Oh my God! That’s it!

Nothing could have been further from the truth of course.  Either way.  At first I felt bad, then I got angry, because if that was it, then that was an arrogant assumption.  But how would he know otherwise? I’m his age and attractive. So I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure family men in his line of work and stature must stay guarded. But, I never forgave myself for the misstep.

Well, I did it again and again.  Not with movie people necessarily but people with titles. Stupidity looms up from time to time. I have a friend, well even my daughter who’s an actress says, “they’re just people mom!”

But I say, it’s not my fault.  Really.  I grew up being told that “Children Should Be Seen and Not Heard!”  Sadly, we were never allowed to interact with adults or engage in any type of adult conversation. In fact, any one of authority was addressed with deference.  Here I am of age and I still regress from time to time. If someone had power to help or slay me, I fall apart.

It happened this past weekend. I got snubbed.  I think it may have been in part because the speaker said from the onset that everything counts for something.  That we all make judgement calls the minute we see someone. So, how we dress and how we look IS important.  First impressions count. He said that even he made a judgement about individuals the minute they walked in the room.  (He was looking straight at me when he said it).  Like Bill, he was not a smiler. So, it was hard to “know” him.

He talked about doing your due diligence before meeting someone you knew you would meet and I thought DAMN!  I forgot to look him up, his background.  Could he see that on my face? At break, I pulled up his stats, but it wasn’t enough for me.

As it was I had not slept much the night before, nervous about meeting people in the business and what do I say? Did I have any screenplays ready should I meet someone who would ask or want to see my work?  So, I didn’t have hard copies, but I had them on a zip drive and since so many carry laptops with them anymore, I could download a PDF copy if they wanted one.  Also, the ones I have on there were already registered, so that was good too! It was a last minute decision to go anyway so it was all good. Nothing to worry about, I told myself.

Still I worried. This is not like me. I had pins and needles all up my legs and I kept jiggling them to still the sensation, so I could get some sleep. I had just started working out with a personal trainer this past week. She asked me how I sleep. I told her I sleep hard generally. Was that it?  All that stimulation has got my circulation going. It was no wonder I couldn’t sleep. I had a two hour drive to get there, but being LA, I would give myself an extra hour to offset accident delays on the road etc. So the alarm is set for 5 am, but I didn’t get to bed until 2:30 or was it 3?  Do I even bother trying to sleep, sometimes that makes me tireder?  No excuses!  In this business, there are no acceptable excuses. The show must go on!

So when I went up for him to sign his book, I jabbered. I sunk into “the hole” I dug once before. It seemed like a hole because I noticed that with everyone else he asked, what do you do? He didn’t ask me. Me, I had to make conversation and it was horrid, he responded tersely, not amicably nor did he ask questions back like he did the others before me.  It was like, “Next!”.  I knew I was dressed well. I bathed before going. What was it?

For two days I stewed about whether this was for me.  Can I survive? I know there will be more people like that, but it obviously would not be them I’d be working with. The self talk was incessant. I didn’t have this problem at the pitch fest and everyone I spoke with loved my pitch. So why this time? Then I remembered that one of my dearest friends in Hollywood was someone I had had a rough start with. We eventually became fast friends and when I moved back to California, she demanded she be the first person I would call and visit and she was.

What I do know is I need to get back in there and not give up. I’ve got a lot going against me and age is the biggie and everyone tells you that. What has stood out and is certainly relevant to me is, if something gives you trouble, keep putting yourself out there until it’s no longer a problem. What I have going for me is the texture and color I can bring into my work that comes from life’s experiences.  So, here I go again.  I’m going to another workshop with people in the business and let’s hope I do better this time.

As they say in Italian, salute! Cheers!