[Hpn] Homeless people make one think;Column;by James Boyd;Indiana Daily Student;6/28

Teresa Lynn Heinz tlheinz@indiana.edu
Sat, 30 Jun 2001 14:08:51 -0500 (EST)

Morgan, thanks for forwarding that article. I'm a grad student at Indiana
U. and noticed that editorial yesterday. The man being described spends a
majority of his time at the school's library, reading philosphy. There is
a homeless population in this city that it is mostly "hidden"
(staying with family/friends, etc). As the editorial mentioned, rent here
is overpriced becuase of the large student population able to pay the
rents. The average wage in town would barely allow a family to live in a
one-bedroom apartment.


On Sat, 30 Jun 2001, Morgan W. Brown wrote:

> --------------------------------------------------------
> -------Forwarded column-------
> Thursday, June 28, 2001
> Indiana Daily Student
> Opinion section
> Column
> By James Boyd <joboyd@indiana.edu>
> Homeless people make one think
> <http://www.idsnews.com/story.php?id=5038>
> James Boyd <http://www.idsnews.com/profile.php?byline=James+Boyd>
> is a senior majoring in journalism.
> Published Thursday, June 28, 2001
> Updated 08:09:09 PM
> His shoes have seen better days. If you look close
> enough, you can see
> the heel coming undone, creating some kind of
> "flop" with every step he takes. You can see that he
> hasn't taken a razor to his face in God knows how
> many weeks, and who knows when the last time his
> dirty fist held a bar of soap.
> It seems like every day that I see him. Whether it's
> a passing glance in the library, or strolling through
> the Union, our paths always seem to intersect.
> I'm sure many of you have had the same
> experience.
> He is homeless. Of that much I am sure. You see
> his dirty hair, filthy shoes and wonder what has
> become of this man. Most simply ignore him and the
> silent pleas he casts from behind mirrored
> sunglasses. Maybe they hide the shame in his eyes,
> maybe they block the ridicule that is whispered
> behind his back. But underneath the ratty shirt and
> the dirty cap is a human being, a soul that is part of
> this community that cannot be ignored.
> Maybe it's Steve. Maybe it's John. I don't know his
> name. But for the past year, I've watched him. I
> see him immersed in a paperback, quietly sipping a
> cup of coffee from the downstairs cafeteria. I see
> students scurry away from him, as if he carried
> some form of the plague. And perhaps most
> disturbingly, I see them ignore a problem that grips
> our community like a vice.
> Homelessness is as real as any drug epidemic that
> might be sweeping the county. Our very own
> citizens have no place to stay. Shelter Inc., a local
> organization dedicated to helping those in need,
> reported helping more than 1,300 individuals in 1997.
> Thirteen hundred people looking for a place to stay.
> Something is wrong here.
> We're part of the problem. We students make for a
> competitive environment in local real estate
> ventures, and guess who usually comes out on top?
> Let me put it this way, how many homeless students
> do you hear about?
> All the while he walks around campus, slowly
> treading the grounds, slowly hoping that one day,
> one fateful day, he might find a place to call home.
> It's easy to ignore him when you're talking on your
> cell phone, hiding behind $200 sunglasses.
> But somewhere, deep down inside of you, I hope
> that he's eating at your conscience. I'll never forget
> the voice that emerged from his mouth when I
> casually handed him a $5 bill months ago.
> "Oh," he said; a bit shocked that someone had
> actually taken the time to say something to him.
> "Thanks."
> And that was it. A conversation that lasted
> somewhere in the realm of ten seconds that has had
> a lasting impact on my life up until this day. Maybe
> he remembers me, maybe he doesn't. But
> sometimes, late at night, I wonder what I would do
> if I were in his shoes.
> Would I have the courage to ask for money? Would
> I have the strength to ask for help? Would I have
> the dignity left to raise my eyes, avoiding the
> fixation toward the ground that a person in such a
> position would usually find oneself in?
> I just don't know. The tragedy in life is that we even
> have to consider such a notion. The possibility that
> we might not have a roof above our heads rarely
> enters our train of thought, and yet, for so many
> people in this town, the idea is a reality that is all too
> familiar.
> He sleeps on the street, but he is not alone. And
> before you run away from him like he was some
> sort of monster, picture yourself, if just for a minute,
> in those old ragged shoes.
> --------------------------------------------------------
> **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this
> material is distributed without charge or profit to
> those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
> this type of information for non-profit research and
> educational purposes only.**
> --------------------------------------------------------
> -------End of forward-------
> Morgan <morganbrown@hotmail.com>
> Morgan W. Brown
> Montpelier Vermont USA
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