There Really Is a Better Way

Homelessness is an increasing problem in many places, and most people just want it to go away.  Many people consider homelessness the fault of the homeless person; they have little sympathy for them and spend little thought as to how to resolve this difficulty.  Housing itself is not the issue, though.  The homeless are homeless primarily because they are so poor they cannot pay for housing.  Poverty is viewed as a crime, and the poor are shunted away into ghettos and abandoned places and left to fend for themselves.  These people have no income, no way to help themselves, and many are so damaged by their experiences that they can never work again.  The fact that we have such a problem in this country, that so many fall through the cracks and are so utterly destitute, shows that we have failed.  Even though we have achieved many wonderful things in the arts and sciences, we have not been able to manage our society sufficiently to allow all our people to live decent lives, and this is barbaric.  As long as we continue to allow this to happen, we shall not have achieved civilization.

Although the homeless are repugnant to most, there are some who have taken thought for these people and made some effort to combat this problem.  There are homeless shelters and soup kitchens in many places, but the problem remains because these are just band-aid measures.  In Albuquerque, however, things are a little different.

While many cities in the U.S. have moved to criminalize homelessness, imposing fees for lying down, camping and begging, Albuquerque, New Mexico has taken a different approach. It has initiated a program it calls There’s a Better Way, picking up homeless individuals and transporting them to jobs that pay them in cash at the end of a five-hour work period.

This is a controversial program that nevertheless seems to be working, at least for some.  Read more about it here.

I think there are many laudable efforts to help the homeless, but it is wonderful to see that someone has grasped the issue at its root – poverty.  Giving these folks a hand in getting paid work and even a path toward a permanent job is what is needed.  The poor need to be reincluded in our society.  Many can work, but appear to be unemployable; this program helps get them past this hurdle.  This program really is a better way.

 

Copyright © 2016 Teresa Chupp.  All rights reserved.

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