The homeless have a soft spot in my heart. That said, I wouldn't go so far as the Austinite (Austonian?) who I overheard at an art show by homeless artists who said, "I love the homeless! They're so authentic!" (I drain of life just thinking about that.) But that's why I get pissed when more anti-homeless architecture like this pops up. Look at this article about anti-homeless bench design. My "favorite" is the Montreal one: Too low for anyone to sleep under, too weird and far apart for anyone to sleep on. [Tears hair out.] It's hard not to want to engage in a little civil disobedience and take the largest hammer I can find to these stupid things.
"But, Chandler," the gentle reader protests, "shouldn't we be working on finding homes for the homeless?" Yes, of course. It needs to be a two-pronged approach at this point though: 1) affordable housing and 2) helping those who don't have access to said affordable housing yet. Time to get practical (yay!). I spend my year knitting hats and scarves for the homeless. Since my locale is not unbearably cold in the winter, I send them elsewhere: This year, they go to Idaho. It's about all I can do with the various illnesses plaguing me that I mentioned in the last post. Well, those and the anxiety disorder. Thanks to Pinterest, I come prepared with all kinds of ideas and information about homelessness. And if you want actual housing, cozy up with the 100,000 Homes campaign.
Why do I care about the homeless? His name was Father Jim Fallis, the priest where I grew up as an Episcopalian. Downtown Columbia, MO, has a large homeless population (and, of course, the requisite number of business owners who want them moved elsewhere because they're bad for business), and Jim knew every one of them. Once upon a time, though he was retired, he and another priest were filling in while there was some upheaval in our clergy (nothing bad--just the usual mess that comes with new clergy moving in). My dad and I had breakfast with him and then walked to church. There was a homeless man on the sidewalk. While I averted my eyes, Jim went out of his way to say hello to him. The resulting awful feeling in my gut was the beginning of change for me. Now there are hats and scarves and winter blankets and conversations (although, to be honest, anxiety means Chris does most of the talking). There should be at least smiles and waves. Jim died four days before I got married--may his memory be eternal. And may he be an example for us all.