A homeless man has stationed himself right next to the local Whole Foods store, where I do my weekly grocery shopping.
He has an ever-changing display of signs, where he explains how he got to be homeless and asks people for any kind of help – even a can of beans. When it gets sweltering hot, or very cold outside, he disappears, and I always wonder where he is and hope that he was able to find a warm, clean homeless shelter.
Sometimes it is really hard to step out of Whole Foods with my full cart and walk past him. He looks at me, and I feel guilty and ashamed, not because I am personally responsible for his situation, but because I am part of a society that allows homelessness and doesn’t fiercely guard the human dignity and human rights of its members.
Homelessness is a violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms, including the right to liberty and security of the person, the right to freedom from discrimination, the right to privacy, the right to health, and the right to an adequate standard of living.
Up until now, I have dealt with the guilt and shame by including Shelter Network in our family’s giving budget, and by offering “my” homeless man an occasional food item.
Today, I am also blogging about it, as part of the Bloggers Unite effort.
Photo credit: SamPac