Invisible People

This picture is entitled "Bum". This is how we tend to look at those with no place to live.
This picture is entitled "Bum". This is how we tend to look at those with no place to live. | Source

The poor are not going away.

“There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” Deuteronomy 15:11

NIV Commentary: "Many people conclude that people are poor through some fault of their own. This kind of reasoning makes it easy to close their hearts and hands to the needy. But we are not to invent reasons for ignoring the poor. We are to respond to their needs no matter whom or what was responsible for their condition."

The homeless have become invisible to us. We walk right by them without even seeing them, just like the people in the picture. That says an awful lot about us as human beings. We can only blame the government for so much, for a great deal of the responsibility rests with us. While there are many reasons given why people in America are going to bed hungry and sleeping on the streets, there is really no legitimate reason for people to be homeless and hungry in this country. Period. Why then are people so callous toward those in need? For many different reasons. There are those that have money and expect everyone else to get theirs, and they are completely devoid of compassion. There are those who believe the propaganda that all homeless people are worthless and lazy, therefore not deserving of our help. And, there are those who are so close to being homeless that they can't even bring themselves to look at a homeless person; afraid it might soon be them.


Source

Up close and personal.

This is going to be a series of articles about the homeless population in the California high desert communities of Victorville, Hesperia, Apple Valley and Adelanto. They will not be stories that I have heard, or have read about in the local newspapers. I will be telling you straight from the trenches. I live in Hesperia, and have been helping to feed the homeless for the past eight months. I am not connected with a church, or any other organization. I do it on my own with the help of my daughter. We do not have a lot by any means; we are just willing to share what we do have. Losing my job over two years ago, not having found any success finding another, and with three children to feed and care for opened my eyes, and my heart, to a whole group of people that everyone was trying their best to ignore or hide.

When I lived 'down-the-hill' I had on different occasions given food and clothing to the homeless, but not on an on-going basis. I did not know that very soon I would come very close to being one of the homeless.

Source

Everyone has a story.

While it is true that some of the homeless are there solely because of drugs and alcohol, there are many that found themselves on the streets because of job loss, company downsizing, illness, or some other trauma. The saying is that we all are just one paycheck away from being homeless, and in this economy and high unemployment, it's probably nearer the truth than ever before.

Kevin, the man in the picture was a welder, whose company put him on a 30-day lay-off. On the twenty-eighth day he was informed that he would not be returning to work at all. During the same time he lost his father. Between not being able to find another job right away and dealing with his father's death, Kevin's life took a downward turn. He was getting the run-around from his company and benefits were hard to come by. Alcohol finally took over, and the streets became his home. His is just one story we're going to hear in this series.

Source

They are people just like you and me.

One thing I found interesting after I started being around the homeless in Hesperia and Victorville, was how kind and respectful these people were. They can be a bit cautious until they get to know you, but they were not hostile nor violent like you see on T.V. or in the movies. Maybe it's geographical. They also tend to be quite intelligent, and have a very good grip on the reality of how society, government, etc. really is. There is a kind of acceptance of their plight because they know, with few exceptions, no one is going to do much to help them.

What little they have can be carried in a back pack, plastic bag, or shopping cart. With few exceptions, they walk everywhere. The young man in the picture is one of the lucky ones. He has transportation; an old, no-frills bicycle. No hand brakes or 20-speeds here. If he wants to change his speed, he has to peddle faster. Yet he considers himself blessed to have it.

Do these people have problems? Absolutely. But don't we all? Maybe life hasn't dealt you a blow devastating enough to leave you without a roof over your head just yet. But the rules keep changing, and, in the blink of an eye, you could be the one needing someone's compassion.

Over the next few weeks we will look at what is being done and what is needed. The causes and the demographics, as well as the political, health and social implications of being one of the invisible people. And, how this is an issue of the heart, not one of government, benefits, or money.

Please take a moment and participate in our poll.


The Homeless and You

What is your reaction when you see a homeless person?

See results without voting

More by this Author


Comments 16 comments

MsDonna48 profile image

MsDonna48 5 years ago

Sylvia's thoughts,

This is an excellent hub. For the past 20 years I have tried to do what I can for the homeless. I have been homeless several times and when I took the poll I was surprised that now I look the other way so I can't see them. I had to be honest with myself. The reason is that I have been working two jobs (one a 40hr and the other 32hr week). I am so afraid of becoming homeless again that I have no social life. I rarely see my family due to work. This hub has made me think about what my life has come to. My goal is to some way incorporate my education in helping the homeless but I now remember that I cannot forget the journey on the way to that goal. Thank you for reminding me what I hold dear to my heart. I tried to start a business before my divorce in 1995. I purchased business cards before I had a business plan and money (thankfully I know better now). But that is how close this issue is to me. I would like to share the name of the business with you. Love/Help; Thy/The; Neighbor/Homeless. Great hub!


Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Wow! Thank you so much for what you have said. I also have a non-profit in the makings. I just need the money to file it. It's never too late to get involved. It's going to take all of us. One person at a time. As I continue with this series, you will see why I say this is a heart issue. I understand how you are feeling and how fear sometimes grips you, but try and find a balance in your life. You can't think and you can't function when you are fearful; it paralyzes you. I love name for your company! Keep in touch and God bless you!


writer20 profile image

writer20 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

Like you I was layed off over two years ago then zero job offers afterwards. I entered depression, not feeling that anyone wanted me because I was too old, (except my husband). Then seeing so many people still dressed in clean clothes holding signs up on the freeway off ramp asking for a job not a hand out. Now I was out of my own money or any conacts to offer them, I stayed drepressed until about six months ago.


Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 5 years ago from Southern California Author

I'm glad you're ok. The answer lies with us. We have to start taking care of each other.


LadyFae profile image

LadyFae 5 years ago from Under the Stars

Wow, that is quite a hub you wrote there. And what a wonderful human being you are!!!!


Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you so much! I'm putting together Part 2 which I hope will include a video.


BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 5 years ago from New York

Invisible people are the homeless, women not considered beautiful with big chests, people considered'over weight' those who don't fit media hype and molds. Great hub!


Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 5 years ago from Southern California Author

So true Bobbi. Gee...I fit one of those categories. LOL Right now though, I'm focused on the homeless because that's the group I'm working with. Thanks!


GrowingDown profile image

GrowingDown 5 years ago from South of the Mason Dixon Line

Sylvia, do you have everything together for the non-profit? I know you said you need the money to file, but have you built a website, twitter page or anything else? I'd love to help out. I was homeless myself for 2 years and all I could ever think about was getting back on my feet so I could see my kids again! I'm about to start posting videos online about the homeless....So perhaps we could be co-workers!


Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Wow, that would be awesome! It's kind of a Catch 22. I need the non-profit to get other things. I know grant writing, website building, etc. But I can't go for grants without non-profit status, and I didn't know how long it was going to take me so I didn't do the website yet. Twitter is easy, and I also want to do a Facebook page. I'm about to do my part 2 of Invisible people with videos. Email me. Thanks a million!


MsDonna48 profile image

MsDonna48 5 years ago

Sylvia's Thoughts and GrowingDown,

I would like to help and get involved to. I live in Ohio but maybe there is some way I could help. Please let me know. I saw a older man today on my way home from work and it broke my heart that he was living out of bags with no where to go and no one to spend the holiday with most likely. Please let me know how I can get involved.


Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 5 years ago from Southern California Author

MsDonna48, you absolutely can be a part of this. God gave me the vision, but I can't do it alone. I need people to to help make it happen. I will email you and GrowingDown next week after the holiday and we can start putting our heads together. Thank you so much!


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I have tried to help the homeless in my own way. I worked downtown on Locust St. in STL for 13-years prior to my layoff 1-year ago. I feel great empathy for the down-on-their-luck. However, I have had to temper my empathy with a certain amount of reserve. I worked at the front desk and was lucky to have a window on my world at the time. A man started coming into the office several times a week looking for work. We were a union contractor and I explained how all personnel except office were hired through Local 1. Nevertheless, he continued to come in and took a couple of pieces of candy from the dish supplied by the boss on the front desk. All fine and good. One day during a 10-min break away from my desk, he wandered in and went under my desk and stole my purse. Since I commuted 2-1/2 hours daily, I carried everything but the kitchen sink in my bag. It was a huge loss to me, esp pictures of my daughter as a baby that I could not replace, a unique bracelet from my husband, all I.D.'s, my debit card, cellphone, etc. Then, I started noticing a man standing near my car every afternoon at 4:30 when I left. He never said a word...just stared as if he was angry with me. Soon, thereafter, I saw his face on the news as having been the homeless man that slit the throat of a woman who volunteered to help the homeless at a nearby church. She died because this man got enraged that she gave another homeless man the coat he wanted.

And, I've met some that became friends, who would stop, knock on the window, wave and say Hi or share a smoke on my break. I met a kind, Vietnam vet who often talked to me about his now deceased mom. Basically, as is true in any segment of the population, there are good and bad, trustworthy and not. I read a story in the RFT, a local free paper in St. Louis, that told the story about a homeless man who was gifted by a humanitarian group with a camera. He became a well-known artist, whose photographs were honored with an exhibition in a gallery not long ago. He was photographing a local tent city in St. Louis called Hopeville. This gifted photographer murdered a man living in Hopeville, which has now been torn down. Many of the homeless I spoke with travelled with everything on their backs, because they were deathly afraid of the homeless shelters. Here that fear is well founded.

My unemployment status makes it difficult for me to give other than clothing or items I no longer need or want. I still give a dollar here and there when I see someone with a sign. I took a lot of criticism from workmates who believed I was wrong in doing so. Of course, they had beautiful homes and 3 squares a day, so they did not deter me. I realize, as I realized before being laid off, that "There but for the grace of God, go I" applies to everyone.


Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 5 years ago from Southern California Author

You're absolutely right Amy! The average citizen is so close and doesn't even know it. Yes, like everything else, there are homeless horror stories. But I can't let them deter me. In the summer I worry about them because is gets extremely hot. And in the winter it is very cold and even snows. We have a lot of high school kids with no place to live. It will soon be time to help with school supplies. School starts in August here. I too am unemployed. When I get my food each month, I get extra and take meals out. I don't have a car, so I can't get out as much as I would like. I'm hoping with enough help, we can put something together before it gets cold again. I always love to have your input!


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I wrote a lot of letters to the editor on this topic, Sylvia. In one I mentioned that very thing, "that in the summer they stifled under the weight of the belongings and in the winter it wasn't enough to protect them from the cold." I was enraged when the local police decided to oust them from the park last summer, where many congregrated, as I suppose it wasn't good for tourism. They not only ousted them, they took all their meds (legal Rx) for diabetes, heart conditions etc. and threw them in a dumpster!!! I'm sure you are aware of how difficult it is for them to get medical care. I wonder where they are supposed to disappear to? They exist yet they are supposed to remain invisible. Thank you for all the help you give as you remain a beacon of hope in a sea of those without any.


Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 5 years ago from Southern California Author

When I lived in the Temecula Valley, they rounded up all the homeless and took them away to God knows where. They didn't want people to know that there were homeless people there! They can't speak for themselves, so we have to be their voice.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working