Friday, May 6, 2011
Exit O - helping or hurting?
I never really noticed the homeless under the Exit 0 overpass until recently when driving by to get up on the highway. Today, we were going by when they were being handed food containers out of someone's vehicle.
My little boy wanted to know why they lived under there. I honestly didn't know what to tell him. I don't really know myself. I know we have shelters but I am not familiar with any rules they may have in taking people in. But it did get me thinking. How many of these homeless have been this way for years?
I do realize that there are many different circumstances in why some people or families may become homeless and I find it very tragic, because it could happen to any of us. I know that I would appreciate the helping hand if it was me or my family in need of food or shelter. I guess my concern is, are we enabling some of these homeless to never get on their own two feet. If we keep taking food and clothes and other necessities to them, won't there be some that find no need to better themselves.
Do we have homeless here in Jeffersonville that have been in that condition for years? I saw one man getting food that I have seen in that same condition for many years. Why is he still homeless? Why hasn't some of these Exit O volunteers worked with these people to help them find jobs, homes, some kind of trade so that they can become self reliant and not rely on the goodwill of others until the day they die.
With some of these homeless, it just seems to me if people keep taking them food, clothing, blankets, etc. they will never be motivated to do anything on their own. I would imagine that since Exit 0 has become more known that many of the homeless from other counties or perhaps cities have come here because they know they will be taken care of on a daily basis and all they have to do is sit under the overpass and wait for everything to be brought to them.
What can we do as longtime citizens of this town to not just provide handouts to the homeless, but teach them to become self sufficient, make sure they acquire the skills they need to take care of themselves and/or their families. Like my husband said, the ducks at Perrin Park know just where to hang out because there is one spot where all the people stop to feed them. In essence, Exit O has become that duck spot.
Let us stop this vicious cycle of providing these career homeless people just the material things and start providing them hope for a productive future.