[Hpn] Homeless And Hungry In The City

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Wed, 21 Sep 2005 16:29:11 -0400


Homeless and hungry in city

September 21, 2005

A cynical person might have viewed Monday's protest of homeless people in 
Brockton and wondered: Why can't these people work and provide food and 
shelter for themselves?

Most of them were young and seemingly able-bodied. Do they have a right to 
complain because they receive "only" one hot meal a day from a homeless 

It is a complicated situation - the dichotomy between society's obligation 
to help those who can't help themselves and the feeling that too many people 
look to the government to support them because they can't or won't do it for 

The protesters lined up some fruit and cookies on Main Street and said that 
this, along with a hot meal from MainSpring House, may be all they get to 
eat that day. Other than that, said 19-year-old Angela DeLuca, "We don't 

But why not? How is someone homeless and hungry at 19? What about 
42-year-old Eric Perela, who said he has been homeless for four months? And 
42-year-old Robin Burns, who has been homeless almost the same time? Do we 
really have an obligation to house them and give them two meals per day? 
That is a question that our society is increasingly confronted with.

There are several forces at work here in Brockton. The Strictly Sober 
shelter has been closed at night ever since the director was attacked, 
leaving many sleeping on the streets. The shelter still serves three meals 
per day, however. The well-used soup kitchen at St. Paul Episcopal Church, 
known as Gracie's, is closed for renovations until next month, leaving 
another population without options.

In the interim, those desperate, in need or unable to care for themselves 
feel they have no alternatives. Yes, we can be a generous community. The 
outpouring of donations for the homeless and hungry of the Gulf Coast has 
been extraordinary. So has the government's commitment to provide billions 
of dollars in aid for Hurricane Katrina victims.

However, we as a nation have been unable or unwilling to deal as decisively 
with the issues of poverty, hunger and homelessness that confront us in our 
own communities. Until we make a more concerted effort to understand the 
underlying causes of homelessness, the Brockton protesters and their less 
vocal compatriots may remain ignored, forgotten or underserved.

William Charles Tinker

New Hampshire Homeless  / Founded 11-28-99
25 Granite Street
Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640  USA
Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights.