Just because you spend one night on the street, doesn’t mean you know what its like to live like a homeless person.
This is just one of those things that really grinds my gears. I read on a friend’s Facebook recently that that would be leaving the warmth of their bed to sleep at a shelter to make a real impact towards ending youth homelessness. My initial reaction was ‘you are taking up a bed space that could be better used by someone who genuinely needs it?’. Is that too cynical? I’m sure that she will be there to work and be an ear to the needs of others…
This person lives in another country so maybe their context is a little different to my own. I live in a small city, and we have homeless people here, nowhere near the kind of scale that other cities in New Zealand has, nor that of other countries. I also know that I am not in any position to change the issue of homelessness here, but what I can do is try make their lives a little brighter. A few people at my workplace (including myself) signed up to help with a soup kitchen. Our small team are rostered on fortnightly and we make a basic dinner for around 30 people. I’ve also signed myself up for Good Bitches Bake, where I can bake for places like the local Women’s refuge. It’s certainly not a grand gesture like staying at a homeless shelter, but how does that help the homeless?
Imagine the sort of difference you could make if, for example, you took your laptop or sat down with a homeless person to help them with creating a CV; helped them write about their best self so they can gain employment?
I don’t think sleeping in a homeless shelter for one night gives you any real experience in what a homeless person deals with regularly. I will give my friend props though. They want to make a difference and this event she is joining is being offered by the city mission, so it must offer some good, so Kia Kaha.
I’m not in a financial position to do anything much. But I can see little things. Imagine how much money could be donated to charities if we all went without that store bought coffee for one day a week and donated it? or if instead we purchased a couple of extra tins of food to donate? The food banks could be a lot fuller than they are.
These are just some of my thoughts for today. If you are in a position to help, please give kindly to a local charity. Every little bit helps, and soon those little bits will add up to a lot.