Letter to the editor
Published: Fri., Nov. 3, 2006; Globe and Mail.
Plight of the homeless
Toronto — The Facts & Arguments essay (Designer Java For A Regular Joe — Nov. 2) straightforwardly asserts that people are homeless because of “their own choices.”
This is not the reasonable proposition that it purports to be. People who make decisions that lead to and perpetuate their own homelessness are already wracked by suffering. The brutal facts of homelessness include frequent violence, perpetual humiliation, and stench. This is their lot, even if some of them treat themselves to grande vanilla lattes.
Aside from those designated as mentally ill, homeless people can suffer from psychological blindness to cause-and-effect relationships that are obvious to most of us, or believe that they must help strangers before helping themselves. Others have had their morale broken by terrible loss. There are those who, when adolescents, were preyed upon by corrupt adults. The list is long and ghastly.
Finally, we need not make either/or choices when helping the various categories of the poor. They are all destitute, whatever the reason.
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