The sweeping of homeless citizens
The sweeping of homeless citizens from downtown
The issue should not be keeping people out of our range of vision, but when will own this reality and voice our outrage, so that we make the needs of homeless and poor citizens the priority focus of public policy ? Then— all of us will be better off.
When the human needs of homeless citizens are addressed in a humane way, then, not only will these citizens stop being homeless, and rejoin the community. They also will no longer need to live under the falls way or in an alley. They will stop being visible to those who want to simply sweep away this visible evidence of persons living in this level of need. To “sweep persons” away, only puts them out of eye sight, but it does not make them “go away”. Poverty, homelessness and need are still part of
“Sweeping persons and their belongings away” is not only inhumane, it is totally ineffective. It “sweeps” persons as far as the next neighborhood. The need would continue.
Let us learn from the past:
In 1976, the city of
The powers-to-be wanted to “sweep away the homeless citizens” from in front of Betsy Ross’s house, in order to prepare for the 200 hundred anniversary of the country, and make the city pretty.
The advocates mobilized local, private and governmental resources to develop a comprehensive approach to serve the homeless citizen which should be all our priority- and in doing so persons are no longer on the streets.
Their approach included: sufficient emergency, transitional and affordable permanent housing resources, and a multi-level addiction treatment facilities, making such treatment accessible, on demand. It also included drop-in centers where persons could get support and stay all night, if need be. Such a humane approach helped persons move out of homelessness – the only approach that will Clean up the streets.
Let us mobilize
Also PLASE includes below the statement released by The Health Care for the Homeless, which we endorse.
Mary C. Slicher
Health Care for the Homeless, Inc
August 15, 2007
While we do not discount the reports of people experiencing homelessness who indicate that they were “moved along” or asked to leave certain areas, Health Care for the Homeless has been assured that it is not the policy of the current City Administration to forcibly sweep homeless individuals away from certain public spaces. We are pleased the City agrees with us that this would be counterproductive toward the goal of ameliorating homelessness. A broad cross-section of interest groups is working with the City to create real solutions to homelessness. Rather than trying in vain to “sweep away” our problems, this collaboration is the proper direction for our resources and attention.
This summer we have been receiving incredibly fresh, delicious, healthy vegetables from First Fruits Farm, a ministry in Freeland, MD. The food goes directly to our clients. A staff member shared a recent story about collard greens, and an example of the human goodness. PLASE works in many ways to restore hope, healing and goodness in body, soul and spirit. Who knew a batch of collard greens could give and show so much? This story feeds the body and spirit. Thank you Josh. Thank you Leah. And thank you First Fruits!!!
Leah and the Greens
Leah is in a wheelchair. Her hips have a degenerative disease and she has not been able to walk well on her own for quite a long time.
Leah comes from
Because of her hips, Leah has not been able to cook much lately. However, she still loves to do so very much if she can get the opportunity.
On the day the greens came, I asked Leah if she knew how to cook them. She said that she did, but we did not have all the ingredients she usually used. I told Leah I would take her to the local Indian grocery store if she would agree to teach me how to cook them authentically. Leah smiled.
I wheeled Leah the 5 blocks over to the store. There were some large cracks in the pavement and the sidewalk was uneven. Leah taught me to maneuver the chair backwards over some of the bigger bumps so that she would be able to stay balanced.
When we got to the store, there was a step leading in to it, and no wheelchair ramp. Fortunately, though, some of the customers and employees at the store helped out. Together, we all managed to lift Leah and the chair into the market.
The chair fit through most of the aisles. We picked out a few spices, some onions, some garlic. We bought some split peas too. The store owner was very nice to us. He helped wheel the chair down the step and back out when we were finished.
On the way back from the store, Leah told me about
We came back to Project Plase and Leah got to cooking. She taught me how it’s done! We put a pot on a chair so that Leah could pick the greens with me. There were many greens, but we picked through all of them and washed them off. I sliced up some onions, and Leah pulled herself up and supported herself on the counter so she could get everything in the pot.
We cooked the meal together. Curried split peas, greens, and rice. Leah smashed a garlic clove with her bare hand! She said it’s an old trick that can serve as a neat self-defense technique as well.
The meal came out very well. We had some local homeless people in the building as well who were hungry for lunch, and they joined us for the meal too. For most of the people who ate, it was the first time they ever had east Indian cooking. There were smiles and compliments all around.
What a fabulous day, and a fabulous memory! Thanks to all the farmers, pickers, deliverers and volunteers who helped to make it possible.
I just read this article from The Body website, thought I’d share it with you.
We talk about it. We care about. PLASE clients are getting treatment and preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. Tell everyone you know to get tested. Look to see what the candidates are saying and doing about the HIV/AIDS.
HIV is hard enough, but imagine living with the disease - and no healthcare and no place to call home. Thank you for your continued support to PLASE. Your support provides housing and hope for Baltimore’s homeless. With your help, we are bridging the gap in services for those living with HIV!
Tell me what you think about this article in the comment section. Talk to you soon.
Mary C. Slicher
Published at www.thebody.com/updates
Democratic presidential candidates on Thursday at Howard University discussed domestic and international HIV/AIDS issues in their third televised debate, the New York Times reports. During the 90-minute debate, which was moderated by PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) criticized the White House for its response to the increasing rate of HIV cases among black Americans. Clinton said that if HIV/AIDS were the “leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country.” Clinton added that if the issue is not addressed, the U.S. will “never get the services and the public education that [it] need[s]” (Nagourney/Zeleny, New York Times, 6/28).
According to the Washington Post, former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) proposed a three-part plan to curb HIV/AIDS in the U.S. The plan includes searching for a cure, funding treatment for all HIV-positive people and guaranteeing that HIV/AIDS treatments are covered by Medicaid. Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) said that a universal health care system is needed to ensure that all people receive access to treatment regardless of economic circumstances (Balz/Kornblut, Washington Post, 6/29). Obama attributed the high rate of HIV cases among blacks to stigma surrounding the virus in black communities, the Baltimore Sun reports. “We don’t talk about this,” Obama said, adding, “We don’t talk about it in the schools. Sometimes we don’t talk about it in the churches. It has been an aspect of sometimes our homophobia that we don’t address these issues as clearly as it needs to be” (West, Baltimore Sun, 6/29).
Sen. Joseph Biden (Del.) encouraged people to be tested for HIV. He added that he has worked with the black community to try to “get black men to understand it is not unmanly to wear a condom” and to get black women to “understand they can say no” (Finnegan/Nicholas, Los Angeles Times, 6/29). Obama also said that he and his wife have received HIV tests together (Washington Post, 6/29). According to the Los Angeles Times, most of the candidates agreed that the U.S. should increase funding for HIV/AIDS research and treatment. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said that White House spending on global HIV/AIDS programs is “relatively impressive” (Los Angeles Times, 6/29).
The Democratic debate will be followed by a companion debate for Republican presidential candidates, scheduled for Sept. 27 at Morgan State University in Baltimore, the Sun reports (Baltimore Sun, 6/29).