A man of many many opinions, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has one about homeless shelters. He, as NEW YORK Magazine reports, isn't for public money going for them. After his soda ban which the judge banned, one finds it increasingly difficult to take Bloomberg's opinions seriously.
The rest of us have probably experienced a range of feelings about homeless people. That fluctuation, I have found, depends on where I am in my own life.
When the universe was testing me with financial problems, seeing a homeless person filled me with fear. I looked away, quickly. I gave no money. In addition, since I am a member of a 12-step program, every day in the rooms I am aware how close all we members are to being without a roof over our heads. At meetings in downtown New Haven, Connecticut, there were the homeless who washed up in the rest rooms and stuffed their pockets with the group's cookies. Scared the jesus out of the rest of us, of course.
These days my communications boutique is thriving. On my way to the railroad station to take the train and then the subway into lower Manhattan to see a client I walked by a line of men with plastic bags and backpacks. They were waiting to be admitted to a shelter. Tears came to my eyes. All they had they had with them. I am more than happy to pay taxes to ensure that they have shelter from the cold.
No, despite growing up in a self-righteous family, I never viewed the homeless as less-than. Even as a child I was too aware that I myself was different. Fortunately, some of those ways in which I devitate from the norm have helped me earn a good living.