One comment on “A Prescription for Homelessness

  1. Thanks for this reminder UB. Reading this had me on an emotional roller coaster, literally. Thank God I had Kleenex handy.
    When I lived in LA almost ten years ago post hurricane Katrina displacing me an my family, I experience homelessness for the first time in the most personal way. One, because I nor my nuclear and immediate family had no home to return to and secondly, through my gentrification of downtown LA. The first made me more sensitive to the plight of homelessness, but not as you described Marvin’s situation and the latter, because I became a resident in a luxury loft apartment months later near “skid row” in downtown Los Angeles or more affectionately called “hope central.”
    Unlike your upbringing, I was not exposed to circular driveways and basketball rims where I lived, but saw plenty when my siblings and I would go with my father to the “white people” neighborhoods where he provided custodial services such as carpet cleaning and floor waxing and my brother sister and I served as the child laborers in assisting him. However, i am acutely aware to the fact that at any moment; we could have very well had the existence that you shared in your reflection above had it not been Gods grace and family that shielded us from that existence.
    Need I digress, when living in downtown Los Angeles, where all of the hospitals did their dumping of the mentally ill when Reagan cut funding years back, I ofter would walk out to human feces and urine near the exits and entrances that was done overnight. Some how, I associated it with payback for living in splendor while they wallowed in squalor. Little did I know tht my acute sensitivity to their plight having had a level of homelessness my self as a result of displacement by Katrina would lead me to the “mission.” That’s where I was able to learn and witness for myself first hand all of the symptoms of homelessness that you so eloquently described in your musings. I too began to get to know many of the ones in my neighborhood on a more personal level. And when I tell you, some were scholars, former white collar professional and finally, you guessed it, veterans. I remember calling in sick from work on days when I really wanted to minister to them thru volunteering at the mission when other volunteers called in. I remember spending time with the most vine table of the population, the homeless children, one of which was a mute. I finally remember when I was able to curb the level of feces and urination outside of my building because of of my homeless buddies that I became acquainted with stopped another on from performing the act late one night when I was coming in from the club. Yes I clubbed hard back then, lol. Nonetheless, I am emotional because I have a keen sense of awareness to poverty and homelessness because I am a child of the struggle and defender of the less fortunate. God has blessed me with so much and I have come a mighty long way, yet I have become so comfortable with the roof over my head that I have subscribe to jus giving “loose change” pun intended 🙂 to those who ask rather asking what they really need. I cried reading this because it is a reminded that I must restore justice to the poor beyond what I do in my “9 to 5” with the workers interfaith network. I cry because I know how as a person of faith that I should have more mercy, compassion and solidarity with the poor, especially the homeless. I cry because I know better and because I have not lived out Matthew 25: 34-40 to my full potential. By I shall cry no more. I will take this as a reminder of where I was and where I know I am needed. So that the Marvin’s of the world can experience compassion. I can’t give a roof and four walls to people. But I can give my time, mercy, compassion and and ear to my homeless brothers and sisters. That will go way further than loose change.
    UB, I thank God for your beautiful mind and beautiful heart that inspired such a reflection to remind us all on just how fortunate we are. Thank you again for this. No more tears.

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