How much is a homeless person worth?
I don’t mean in dollars and cents, I mean in comparison to a non-homeless person. We have all seen the headlines, such as those from Grants Pass, Oregon where a family was missing and then the husband was missing alone and later found dead. The searchers rightfully pulled out all stops and ignored all the costs. I do not want to say anything to downplay the importance or cost or justifications for such an effort – every life is precious.
However, would anyone do that for a homeless family? For a homeless man? For a homeless 15 year old girl that has run away? How about for a homeless hero – a veteran?
Are their lives not just as precious should they come up missing? I did a search on “missing man OR woman AND search” and found hundreds of news articles on different widespread searches for missing men and women off of boats in the ocean, missing women and men from various communities all over this country, including people that rode off on ATVs and didn’t come back. Millions of dollars spent in some cases.
These people had advocates that raised an alarm and the government agencies and communities immediately and correctly responded. But, how often do you see any response to reports of missing homeless? Individuals tend to run away, women, men and children of all ages.
People come up missing. In most cases, unless the person is perceived to have been lost in a wilderness, have some mental disability, or possibly kidnapped, the authorities, by policy, wait for some period of time ranging from 24 hours to 3 days to see if they come back home, then put out an APB but are unlikely to conduct a widespread all-out search – unless it is a small child, a weatthy individual, a noted personality or someone with a good advocate.
We will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to search for the “accidental” or for the “kidnapped” missing, but virtually nothing for the missing or helpless homeless. So, does that make the life and well being of the homeless worth that much less? Apparently our society thinks so.
The difference seems to be that some are missing “against their will” and thus worthy of a costly search, but homeless “are homeless because they want to be”. The latter is not true. Most homeless are victims, so why are they treated so different – are they worth less? Easier to sweep under the rug? Don’t have individual advocates?
Let even a horse become trapped in a muddy gulley and cranes and helicopters and newspapers and TV personalitites show up in droves. Let a homeless person languish is an alley for a week without nourishment and nobody lifts a finger. What is a homeless person worth? Is every life precious or not, or some more so than others?
We need more effective crisis intervention tools to sharply cut down the number of homeless entering the streets and soon the number of homeless on the streets will become less and less. The first few hours are absolutely critical for recovery of a runaway child, for example, or for a family put out of their home. What is the life of a homeless person worth? Or is every life not precious after all?
Let a “normal” person fall out on the sidewalk and everybody comes running. Emergency aid is sought… Amublances soon scream up, police arrive. Help and concern everywhere you look.
But let a homeless person fall out on the sidewalk and people just step over or walk around or even cross the street. Is the life and well being of one person so much less than another? Think about it. Please.
Let it be known that a few cats or dogs are being abused and people cry out in anger, and criminal investigations and arrests are soon made. Newspapers carry the story with pictures. Let a few homeless be beaten and set afire on the streets and little is done. Maybe a mention in a newspaper after the 4th or 5th die.
Let a few homeless come to emergency or die due to “bum fighting” where bullies goad homeless into fighting each other for their amusement. But the homeless arranged fight does not bring the same uproar as when a few dogs are set to fighting. I’m not downplaying that horrible act either. I’m just asking….
What is a homeless person worth?
They are still out there!
Grace and Peace,