October 4, 2014
(TheAntiMedia) Homelessness and poverty are huge problems in the city of Vancouver, Canada. There are massive amounts of people living on the streets in the downtown area of this city and elsewhere, and to solve that problem, the city recently formed plans to open two buildings to house the homeless.
Instead of being happy that hundreds of struggling human beings could find shelter, apathetic residents of downtown Vancouver were outraged.
In a meeting to discuss the city’s plans to house the homeless, residents showed up in such numbers that many weren’t even allowed in the door, most of them coming to oppose the plan to house the homeless.
One woman said something along the lines of ‘these people are going to walk the streets at the end of the day’. In other words she will have to encounter homeless people around the vicinity of the transformed housing buildings, therefore she does not want the housing to be opened.
Apparently this resident would rather hundreds of people sleep outside in places not in her vicinity during the harsh winter, rather than have people receive assistance and possibly come into indirect contact with her on occasion.
Well here’s something I have to say to this small group of apathetic Vancouver residents; why do you think all of those people are homeless in the first place?
Apathy is one of the primary reasons these people ended up where they are now. The very same struggle the people with money went through to earn their living, those homeless people go through in worse circumstances. We all are here scrambling for currency, and there is but a fine line between living in a home with enough to pay rent, and being out on the streets with your morale slipping down the drain.
The homeless population, many times, seems to represent the mentally ill who are cast away onto the streets when no one is there to care for them, several of them left to become drug addicts as a result of being forgotten. The low morale of the homeless and depression they suffer through with no chance for employment in sight leads many people who could have done great things to drug addiction, and many people to complete insanity by getting hooked on drugs like meth and crack.
Personal responsibility is absolutely a vital factor in an individual working to get off the streets, but some other circumstances are necessary to making a person feel like they have the power to do that. Housing the homeless and doing things to help them help themselves are tasks that a society would be well off putting effort into, as we must look out for our fellow man.
A lot of people have misconceptions and negative perceptions of the homeless, especially in places like Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, and San Diego where there are enormous homeless populations.
It seems these residents who showed up to the recent meeting to discuss the plan to house the homeless don’t care at all about the people left on the streets, and they are not concerned with a temporary or permanent fix to society’s deep problem with homelessness and poverty. They believe it’s not their problem, but I am here to say, it is absolutely their problem. The root of the problem is in the economy and in the mental state of all of the people in the society, and obviously people who are apathetic are still affected by the state of the economy. Considering the collective mental circumstances of the society that contribute to the poverty, apathetic people are one of the very factors that help homeless people lose hope and get lost in hard drugs in the first place, showing no love or support.
However a lot of us genuinely do care, and we need to focus on those forgotten, abandoned victims of apathy who can still make it out of living on the streets. It is a step in the right direction to create housing to get those people off the streets who are truly trying to make it. Giving homeless people the opportunity to better themselves and get out of the loop of negativity is the one and only key to helping out our fellow people on the streets.
Some would say it is productive and good to house the mentally unstable homeless too considering in our day and age the mentally ill are not in mental hospitals like before, but they are left to rot on the streets while sects of the middle class grow more apathetic.
In all of this there are many implications about the mental state of people in society; from the apathy of the middle class, to the hopelessness of the forgotten people on the street.
Knowing that these residents were outraged at a benevolent attempt to help people struggling on the street, just because they might have to encounter the people within the vicinity of the new housing, is a dark and sad indication of the apathy of these residents and society as a whole.
It’s up to us to keep pursuing efforts to make our society better, to care for even the most rejected individuals in our society.
So to you people who are still apathetic towards your fellow people because of the circumstances that shaped them, because of whatever made them homeless; there is no escaping the consequences of the cultures that exist in your society. You are them, and you could end up struggling just as much as them in an instant.
You may feel safe and isolated in your apartment building or house, ignoring all those people you see struggling on the streets, but you must realize there is a very fine line between the fate of those people, and your fate. What if you lost your job tomorrow? You would be sitting alongside the people you ignored when you walked past them on the street, asking people for change for some food, and maybe then you would develop a sense of empathy and erode the apathy that has been hammered into you.
The circumstances that led every homeless individual to their current state of unemployment, mental illness, drug addiction, hopelessness, whatever it is; could have happened to you too. They are still your people, and the things that happened to them must be acknowledged and analyzed.
Please share this with as many people as possible, so that they can reflect on the state of poverty in our society, and the state of apathy. The implications of this story are many.
This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TheAntiMedia.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive our latest articles. Image credit: Gary Dee