The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

My Photo
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Is Your Answer Really the Right One?

Often people say that if they were to help a homeless person they would help them find a place where they could stay for the night and that provided them a meal. They also say that it is better to teach someone to fish than it is to just give them the fish. Though these are novel ideas I think that people too often give these cookie cutter answers to issues that cannot be addressed as such. Not all of these people are the same rather they are individuals just like you and me. There are many different circumstances that play into homelessness and these types of responses simply will not work to resolve the problem. People also need to understand that homeless shelters are often not the ideal places to stay at night because it is not always as safe as people believe they are.
Working at the Downtown Women's Center I have learned many interesting things about homelessness and I have learned that often the outlets that are most prized do not always solve the issues at hand and they also can add fuel to the fire. Homeless shelters downtown are truly great in that they are not obligated to open their doors to people who are in need, however, I do believe that once they do decide to open their doors they have a duty to ensure that their participants are safe and are not in harms way. I have spoken with many different individuals the past few months that have had horrific experiences at the shelters. It is a common topic that the women are forced in a way to go to the shelters because the have really no other option than to sleep out on the street. Unfortunately, the shelters are really just as dangerous as sleeping on Skid Row. Women that I have spoken to have been beaten, stolen from, and or they are afraid to sleep while they are in the shelter for fear of what may happen to them. Upon speaking to my supervisor this past Monday and speaking about how there really is not an ideal place for these women to stay when they cannot or have not yet been placed in permanent residency.
My roommate and I spoke with a woman on Monday and she described to us how she was brutally beaten by woman because a group of gangsters had intimidated her to do so. Another woman that I spoke to was on dialysis three days a week and when she woke up at one of the shelters the next morning her prescriptions and all of her things were gone. I cannot imagine what it would be like waking up to having literally nothing. There is nothing that you can do or say to a woman that placed her trust in an organization and they did nothing to protect her.
It is interesting to think that these women have to brave Skid Row because it is in fact more safe than the shelters. Many can argue that it is their choice and if they don’t like it then they do not have to go there and I respect that, however, I am not sure how an organization can remain running when issues like this are happening so often. I know it is difficult to deal with but we must remember that each person must be treated with the same respect and dignity as you and I. It is also important to keep in mind that just because one may have little to nothing that they deserve to have someone to stand next to them in this battle against violence, especially on Skid Row.
By:Alyssa Silva


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home