You can never tell when one of them might approach you. Sometimes you see them coming from afar off. Or they can suddenly materialize at your side. "Got a match?" "Sir, I'm stranded here and just need a few more dollars to get a bus to...." "Could you help a...."And so begins a column by Mr Paul Greenburg.
The homeless, they're called now. Which only distances us from them further, putting them in a neat socio-economic category, reducing them to paperwork, field studies, articles in journals of sociology. ... When they actually approach, we may hurry on. Who's got the time? We have so much to do, especially four days before Christmas. When there is still so much to do, lists to check off, cards to address, packages to send....
This column, from today, the 21st of December, reminds us that, as Christmas approaches, some of our fellow human beings are struggling, and may not be able to find a warm place to stay. The Columnist uses some fine Christian imagery to describe the situation of one homeless man, a Mr Joe Telles, who died 44 years ago today. The Columnist also uses Jewish imagery to tell us about how we should react,
Maybe I was just meant to say kaddish for Joe Telles every December 21st.We are told "the poor will always be with you", and so it is. It is a mark of civilization that the less fortunate are cared for. It doesn't have to be government action. Here in our little area, via the WCAP Salvation Army Radiothon, we gave the Salvation Army $105,000. This last Sunday the second collection at the Immaculate Conception Parish was for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. Every Monday evening members of the Society are open for business, helping the needy who live within the parish boundaries. And others help out, in their own way.
But, there is a roll for Government. In Lowell there is a program to end homelessness in ten years. Because there are many aspects to homelessness, our City's program has many aspects. A new aspect is the formation of a committee to specifically address issues of homeless veterans. The committee will eventually create it's own place in the collection of groups and services, but if my experience with past committees is any indication, its most important service will be in helping those involved in serving homeless populations better understand the problem and available help and solutions. As part of that processes, there is a planned one day conference on the topic at the end of March, at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center here in downtown. If you are interested in attending, and learning more, it will cost $25, but that includes lunch. Compared to most conferences, it is a deal.
And, for the link to the original article, a thanks to Neal.
Regards — Vliff