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Homeless In The Winter

Updated on December 11, 2013

On the Way to the Train

We had just experienced the second snow storm in two days when I was on my way to work today. As I was approaching the glass doors to go downstairs to the track to board my train, out of the corner of my eye I saw an image of what looked to be a person sitting on the cold metal train seat.

Homeless in the Train Station

Homeless person trying to find shelter in the cold hours of the day.
Homeless person trying to find shelter in the cold hours of the day.

Stopped in My Tracks

I actually stopped in my tracks as I had to clarify in my mind of what my eye had simply caught a glimpse of!

On closer inspection, yes, I actually walked over to see what was going on, it was a woman who had covered her head and shoulders -- to shield her from the blaring lights above -- with a grey and white , nylon waist-length jacket.

She was nodding forward and had an additional solid grey nylon jacket covering her lower body that was already covered with layers of long, woolen skirts. There laid her possessions on both sides of her. A pull-on suitcase at her feet that seem to contain items that were important to her.

Couple in Station

A couple warming up in the train station.
A couple warming up in the train station.

What Do You Say?

Are People Homeless by Choice?

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The somewhat strange thing about this scene that played out in only a few minutes, had me quickly reflecting on how easily it could have been me, my family, or a loved one at this joyous season of Christmas.

Thoughts flooded my mind of what could be done, what should be done, and why, why, why? I wanted to reach out to her but it seemed that she would appreciate the simple moments of rest that she seemed like she was able to get.

I decided to take the elevator down stairs as I realized that the train that I had come to the station on was "cold," the walk across the street was a freezing moment, and here, in the station, the rushing commuters were complaining that it was cold.

New York Officer Aids Homeless

Officer sees homeless man without any shoes.  He then goes to an open sneaker store and purchases sneakers for the man.
Officer sees homeless man without any shoes. He then goes to an open sneaker store and purchases sneakers for the man.


Homeless outside of another station.
Homeless outside of another station.

Society's Response

I knew I had not been the only commuter to see her plight and I wonder what they thought about her situation. I noticed some of the faces, some had disdain, some pity, and some quickly looked away as to not have the image of the homeless woman sear their conscious.

Even after the hour commute to my employment, I could not forget the woman at the station. I had not written an article, in this forum, for months but I knew I needed to put these thoughts to pen.


Homeless in the winter.
Homeless in the winter.

Do What You Can Do

I resigned myself to do what I can do within the means that I have available. To be more mindful of those that don't have a roof over their head, a place to sleep, a place to call home.

Reaching Out

I became more thankful for all the wonderful and diligent shelters, churches, and ministries that take out the take to feed the homeless at the stations and other places that they congregate to get warm.

Almost any day you can find them sitting in the bathroom stalls trying to get rest, sleep, or cleaning up. You can hear the attendants knocking on the doors of the stalls and warning them that they must vacate or they will bring in the police that are patrolling the station.

Homeless Woman

Woman resting outside a station.
Woman resting outside a station.


Finally, I thought about my family. I thought about all of our financial struggles to keep food on the table and a roof over our head. A struggle that, at times, we seem to be losing. Knowing that giving in is not an option, we pursue avenues of better decisions and cutting out things like the movies, dinners out, trendy clothes, and new televisions to stay afloat.

I learned today to be even thankful for the struggle.

As Christmas fastly approaches, the thought of Christ's passion for people has sparked a fire in my soul. So, I ask Him for wisdom and courage to do the right thing...whatever that is Beloved!


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    • mothersofnations profile image

      Mothers of Nations 3 years ago

      I'm glad you took the time to write about this... What do we do when we see something like this? We sacrifice and give something. There's no way I could ever just walk by someone who is obviously homeless and do nothing.

      There's always something we can do. A few dollars, a meal & drink, and a Word from the Lord - anything we can do in that moment except ignore them. Especially in the extreme cold or hot months. Even come back later with something to help them somehow - clothes & blankets no longer used or that you can do without, something... This breaks my heart...

      God bless you for bringing this to attention and I pray the Lord does something within you, within all of us, to do something for someone other than ourselves...

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This is so sad and you just have to wonder about homeless women; how can that be? If we can give people like that Boston bomber money for a place to live why can't we take care of our own? The old ones should be in a nursing home but then my mom was until she died and it may not be the best thing to wish on anyone but surely something can be done. My son saw a homeless woman who slept under a bridge get hit by a car and killed and her body flew right by his window and the telling of it I think haunted me for so many months! I know it had to have bothered him since he actually saw it. I don't think anything will be done though and it is so sad. God bless the churches that do what they can. Great hub.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      This is one problem that never seems to go away. Years ago, I worked in Central London, on my way to work I saw a man who appeared to be unconscious, propped up against a building. I tried, but couldn't wake him, long story short. I got help from the workers at the train station and called for an ambulance.

      The man was a homeless alcoholic, but he was also a diabetic going into a coma. I was told this when I called the hospital on the following day, he was actually well known to the A/E staff. It's very hard to see people in such dire situation, I don't judge, because I haven't walked in their shoe. Great write.

    • Lady Summerset profile image

      Lady Summerset 4 years ago from Willingboro, New Jersey

      Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I know that there isn't an easy answer for this but I wish more could be done.

    • mylindaelliott profile image

      mylindaelliott 4 years ago from Louisiana

      Yes, I think of these things as well. I'm surprised at the people who have no patience with people who are homeless.

    • Christine Ballano profile image

      Christine 4 years ago from New Port Richey, Florida

      Being a former New Yorker I share your thoughts. Some people have no choice, some people prefer that (they don't want any responsibilities and some are caught in a circumstance