What a shameful situation to jump out at me from the New York Times upon my waking. But I forced myself to read, to study every photo, the faces of the homeless old, a rapidly growing problem.
Look at the gizzled and graying men waiting in line. Health issues, including and especially mental health, the jobs lost post-2008 at an age that cruelly leaves a worker unemployable, turning him or her into a pariah.
But we can’t approach meeting the needs of the very people my inspiration spoke of: the least of these, not less in value, but it resources, in circumstances, in luck, in health, in family emotional support not to mention financial…We can’t love and feed and clothe and shelter and give meaningful work because WE HAVE TO CUT TAXES ON THE WEALTHY, THE FATTEST PIGS, DECADE AFTER DECADE FOR ALMOST 40 YEARS.
We have a populace, being brought to bloom by Trump, that is good at one thing only, well two, things: hate and greed. I don't want to see what it reaches full bloom.
The Hall of Shame in America is full to overflowing. And they cannot see that to treat our own and the very air we breathe with such contempt is truly national suicide.
It it really our time to fall on our swords? Or can we redeem ourselves? Of course, redemption survives Hellish conditions, still standing, still offering itself to those who will wake up and see the need.
But I don't think we will.
|New York Times, May 31, 2016 (click here)|
LOS ANGELES — They lean unsteadily on canes and walkers, or roll along the sidewalks of Skid Row here in beat-up wheelchairs, past soiled sleeping bags, swaying tents and piles of garbage. They wander the streets in tattered winter coats, even in the warmth of spring. They worry about the illnesses of age and how they will approach death without the help of children who long ago drifted from their lives.
“It’s hard when you get older,” said Ken Sylvas, 65, who has struggled with alcoholism and has not worked since he was fired in 2001 from a meatpacking job. “I’m in this wheelchair. I had a seizure and was in a convalescent home for two months. I just ride the bus back and forth all night.”
The homeless in America are getting old.
There were 306,000 people over 50 living on the streets in 2014, the most recent data available, a 20 percent jump since 2007, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. They now make up 31 percent of the nation’s homeless population.
The demographic shift is mirrored by a noticeable but not as sharp increase among homeless people ages 18 to 30, many who entered the job market during the Great Recession. They make up 24 percent of the homeless population. Like the baby boomers, these young people came of age during an economic downturn, confronting a tight housing and job market. Many of them are former foster children or runaways, or were victims of abuse at home. (Read more...)
|A 74-year-old man who lives in a tent|
|Food line, L.A.|