Homelessness – A Test of True Compassion

by on April 20, 2012 · 54 comments

in Civil Rights, Homelessness, Popular

Many of us believe that we are compassionate people. But are we really? Webster?s New Collegiate Dictionary formally defines “compassion,” as the “sympathetic consciousness of others? distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” In our daily lives, some people think of compassion as “love in action.” Many religions encourage us to strive to be compassionate people and admonish us to “love our neighbor.”

Personally, I believe that we are all, with the possible exception of a very few, born with compassion. Thus, for most of us, the quality of compassion is already within ourselves from birth – we need only to find and awaken our compassion. Further, as we live our lives, we can choose to nurture and expand this quality, as we are encouraged by many religions, if not all, to do.

Summarizing these definitions, it would appear that compassion could be defined as “love in action for our neighbor in distress with a desire to alleviate it.” So, whether we are compassionate people depends upon our own attitudes and desires to help. But, what about the “neighbor” for whom we have compassion? Does our neighbor have any role in our developing or exercising our compassion? It would appear, at least from the above discussion, that our neighbor does not. However, what our neighbors do, how they appear and what we expect from them, may influence how easy it is for us to exercise and develop our compassion.

The easiest example of this is the whole topic of babies. It has been said that babies are born adorable and loveable, at least to their parents, so that their parents will take care of them regardless of how much work is involved. And most of us know and expect that there is a tremendous amount of work involved in caring for a baby.

Then we have the examples of children and adults with special needs who cannot take care of themselves and must rely on the compassionate treatment from others. Their caretakers know and expect that their jobs will be challenging and yet, ultimately rewarding.

There are also those people among us who have suffered a personal or family loss. These losses can be traumatic events affecting people?s physical, mental and emotional well-being. Included within the losses that people can suffer is the loss of everything people once possessed. For most people becoming homeless can be a traumatic event.

For whatever the cause, homeless people have suffered the loss of what most of us consider our human basic needs – they have lost their personal shelter, their expectation of having food on a regular basis and most of their clothing.

Whether homeless people are sheltered or unsheltered, they have, for whatever length of time, lost their personal experiences of having their own homes. When people lose their experiences of having their own homes, they may also lose their hope for having their own homes again.

Even their feelings of self-worth may be negatively affected by the trauma they experience as a result of their homelessness. For example, a homeless friend of mine recently said, “No matter what you say or how you treat me, I know that I?m at the bottom of the food chain.”

As with any of our responses to traumatic events, the hopefulness experienced by homeless people by virtue of becoming homeless may be expressed physically, mentally and/or emotionally. The results of the traumatic event of becoming homeless may also be expressed by some homeless people through the misuse of substances, including cigarettes.

In addition, because we as a society have provided few public bathrooms, showers and even fewer public laundries, many homeless people may not have access to facilities where they can perform acts of basic hygiene. The results are obvious – homeless people often appear disheveled.

Finally, we housed people often expect homeless people to “pick themselves up by their own bootstraps” and become housed again. Please see my article, Homelessness Myth #15: “Just Pull Yourself Up By Your Own Bootstraps,” in this regard. Because many homeless people are and remain unhoused, our expectations of them to become housed, among other things, are not met.

It is basic human nature, that when people do not meet our expectations of them, we may become disappointed and/or resentful. Without greater understanding of ourselves and others, we are unlikely to extend compassion to those whom we feel have failed to live up to our own expectations, who have disappointed us or to whom we feel resentful. Hence, we housed people with unreasonable expectations for homeless people may feel disappointed or resentful of them because they have failed to live up to our unreasonable expectations.

It is because of what homeless people do, how they appear and what we expect from them, that we may find it challenging to have compassion for them. However, “our neighbors” includes everyone. Therefore, I believe that the test of true compassion is whether we can care for all of our neighbors, including our homeless neighbors whom we may find the most challenging to help.

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Prattle On, Boyo April 20, 2012 at 9:57 am

Why is it that most people have more “compassion” for illegal immigrants than they do for their fellow, homeless Americans? I’ve seen nothing but contempt for the homeless who almost always happen to be mentally ill. Those that aren’t eventually get themselves off the street because they can problem solve, but who speaks for the mentally ill?

The State Assembly finds plenty of money to force taxpayers into paying for a free college ride for illegal immigrants, but there is no money to help out mentally ill Americans living on the street. There is something very, very wrong with a nation that ignores its own in favor of illegal ppl who can’t even be bothered to obey our most basic laws before claiming a piece of the American pie for themselves.

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avatar Lois April 20, 2012 at 10:52 am

Speaking of the American pie, I couldn’t agree with you more. My thoughts exactly. I feel the same way about illegal immigrants bankrupting our medi-cal system. The benefits that the American poor and disabled used to have, have been ruined by these illegal immigrants. They come here with their criminal activity, their diseases, and their anchor babies. It is one thing if they make the effort to become a citizen of this country and make their contributions. It is not fair that they have taken from our American citizens. They bring their flags from Mexico and proclaim this is their country? They want to do away with the English language. I could go on and on. Why has the word “illegal” been trashed to accommodate the illegals? Free health care, free food stamps? And I haven’t even read the above article yet.

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avatar Jack April 20, 2012 at 11:48 am

I guess you are ready to start paying $10 a head for lettuce and $12 for a burger at Burger King.

We have built a service economy on the back of “illegal” immigration. Ask what happened to the farmers in Georgia when they passed their immigration laws. The immigrants up and left leaving the Georgia peaches rotting on the trees.

So put away your hate for the day, Lois, and start looking at the immigration “problem” from a practical perspective instead of such a xenophobic one. After all, the folk of who you speak of with such disgust are human beings just like you…

In Peace, Jack

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avatar Christine Schanes April 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Thanks for your comment, Jack.

Interesting that this article is about compassion.

And, as you point out, it’s interesting that often, if not always, compassion pays off for all of us, including, sometimes, financially.

Please stay in touch,
Christine

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avatar Lois April 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Jack: Are you saying take advantage of illegals to enrich our economy? Denying the negative that illegal immigration has caused? Alright, you are an activist? I speak of no one with disgust. I do feel anger that this wrong doing is going on. I speak of facts which you seem to disregard. It is your rhetoric that talks of hate and disgust. By the way, what would your learned solution of the immigration “problem” be? Have you thought why they keep coming? Do you think it is because they are knowledgable of all the freebies they get here? Are you one of the Americans that think it is right to bring as many illegals as possible to fight and die for the illegal wars, that is, if they live to enjoy becoming a citizen?

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avatar Jack April 20, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Lois, I do not know how to begin to respond to you, if I want to at all. It appears you have a rather scattered anger on the subject and you really are not considering the picture as a whole.

There is nothing in my response which indicates I am in favor of illegal immigration, in fact, I am very much opposed to it. Anyone who knows me would tell you I have been suggesting a guest worker visa as a remedy for years. This would allow all immigrants and equal chances to work here for a time and then return to their native country. While they are here and working, they would be required to pay into the “system,” and they would be afforded the same access to health care and other services for which they are paying into. Of course administratively, it will cost more to hire them and treat them human, and the cost would be passed on to us in higher service fees…but at least a head of lettuce might cost $2 instead of $10.

As for your comment, “[t]hey come here with their criminal activity, their diseases, and their anchor babies.” First off, the people who immigrate here are not all criminals, but as with any social group, there will be a criminal element. We have laws to deal with those criminal violations, and it is up to the government to enforce them. As for “their diseases” this is where I find you believe immigrant are less than human. Trust me when I tell you, food processors in the States probably expose more Americans to disease than any other group who have access to us. And finally, immigrants do not bring anchor babies here. Anchor babies by definition are born in the U.S. and regardless of what you or anyone else thinks, those babies are American citizens based upon our Constitution. I suppose we could fashion a law which will require all immigrant woman to abort their pregnancy…but I think you might run into a little trouble there too.

When I speak of practicality, I do not speak against compassion or riding on the backs of immigrants. I am merely pointing out to you if all “illegal” immigrants were removed from within the U.S. Borders tomorrow, our economy would go into the proverbial crapper…sua sponte. There must be a common ground on which a consensus can be made. It must be reached, however, by taking into consideration the humanistic and practical application of our current immigration system and situation. Nothing is to be gained by accussing “them” of being the problem, when we in fact contribute to it on a daily basis.

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avatar Andy Cohen April 20, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I think maybe it’s time to bust out my piece “The Case for Comprehensive Immigration Reform” again…..

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avatar Lois April 21, 2012 at 2:04 am

Sorry you read into my comment about diseases that I think they are less human. Not at all. Have you ever seen an illegal person prostitute with Herpes and whatever other diseases she brought when a nurse gave her a hug and she stated to the nurse, that other nurse is nice, but she doesn’t speak English. I get really pissed about this entitlement of people like this. And if you think this is fine and are compassionate about it. Do you think that nurse didn’t show “compassion?” Another thing, you compassionates, get off your high horses. What about the health care workers that take care of them, or the police (not yet militarized) defend them at sometimes great risk to them. Get a clue, and know that I have a son that is Mexican and a Mexican grandson. I love what I call “old Mexico.” A very warm kind of people that take care of their own. And get over being ms. or mr. goody two shoes trying to show how “compassionate” you are. There are both good and bad, and there will always be. That is human nature. Separate the good and bad. Stand for the good! Take out the bad. I once went into a 99c store and while I was paying for my purchase, the counter person said “I wish I had one of those.” She was talking about my RN nursing license in my wallet.” Hard not to cry. So get your priorities straight. None of this “no human is illegal” because the do gooders don’t know how to handle it.

Yeah, Frank. I’m ready for you to take this post off.

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avatar Christine Schanes April 21, 2012 at 9:37 am

Hi, Lois,

I just wanted to add that I am very grateful to the nurses, police officers and everyone, including you, for all of your acts of kindness.

No high horse here. Science really. It has been proven that compassion improves our immune system.

Actually, the Dalai Lama mentioned this during his talk at USD on Wednesday.

It was just a coincidence that my article about compassion came out at about the same time as his talk so that I had two articles in a quick order.

But, I do appreciate the opportunity you raise to discuss compassion in greater detail.

Please stay in touch,
Christine

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avatar Lois April 21, 2012 at 11:31 am

Thank you, Christine. I will. I hope to make it to hear about this same subject at a law school. I will have to go back and get the details. Thank you for the invitation to further discuss this.

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avatar Lois April 21, 2012 at 2:17 am

How dramatic: Force them to abort! Kill the myth that any illegal immigrant can come here, do anything they want. As I said before, they should never come here pregnant. They should not use an innocent child to help them do what is wrong. Don’t you think these children have problems because of the illegal actions of the mother?

Yes, our food supply is pretty bad, thanks to the corporations.

Yes, we have laws to deal with the criminal element. Then why encourage them to come here and do what is illegal? Sure would save a lot of money spent in courts in the first place.

EDUCATE all immigrants and would be immigrants. Legal is a lawful term.

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avatar Christine Schanes April 21, 2012 at 9:40 am

Hi, Lois,

Just a thought… unless we are people of American Indian descent, we are all immigrants to this county. And many of our ancestors came without documentation.

Perhaps, the problem is having borders. Without borders, there would be no illegal immigration.

Christine

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avatar Frank Gormlie April 21, 2012 at 9:00 am

Prattle and Lois – one question for both of you: where is your compassion for your fellow human beings? Have you watched Fox News so much you believe their every word?

It’s true – here is an article about compassion and both of you storm on here and clearly display your LACK of … Why are you filled with so much hate?

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avatar Christine Schanes April 21, 2012 at 9:33 am

Hi, Frank,

Thanks for your comment.

Compassion is a funny thing, isn’t it. Most of us think we’re already compassionate and don’t seem to look any further inside to see if our thoughts match reality.

However, this is why I value the OB Rag so much – it’s a publication which deals with core issues, which may help the reader reflect upon our own emotions and which may educate us.

I firmly believe that one way to personal growth is through a trilogy of experiences: Education, Understanding, Compassion.

Although most of us are born with compassion, it may be rare that we are truly compassionate. It takes practice to be compassionate. Little acts of kindness can lead to bigger acts of compassion, including thinking compassionately.

I thank you, Patty and everyone at the OB Rag for creating a forum within which to discuss compassion.

Christine

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avatar Lois April 21, 2012 at 11:48 am

Again, Christine, you are absolutely right. I think of our indigenous Native Americans many times as I see what is happening to our country. Yes, we are all immigrants. The thing I think about is how this country took away the indiginous peoples country, and now it appears it is being taken away from us by a ruthless 1%. I still can visualize a great movie about Geronimo being taken away on a train to some little parcel of land or a piece of land or a squared and fenced area to live out their life.

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avatar Lois April 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Frank: I used to think of you as an intelligent person whose goal was to promote good. However, I find your attack on Prattle and me offensive. I find that a person such as you with your high intelligence does not know the meaning between anger and hate. Anger is a natural human emotion. However, with that anger it must be managed and dealt with. Hate is a sickness. And don’t tell me you are so compassionate that you never feel anger. You have the perfect medium for dealing with it. You simply censor people you don’t agree with. I find it curious that you are able to make such a statement about us filled with hate. Prattle was only making a statement of his frustration of the unfairness with the legal and illegal. Don’t you find Jack’s statements a little ugly, and your statement (since you think you are qualified to rule on matters of the mind) that we are filled with hate? I never figured you as a person who needed continuous affirmation of your “compassion.” Did either of us use the ugly rhetoric that Jack used? Or in your mind, we are filled with hate? I really feel disappointed in you. For a long time, I really admired the things you wrote about. So if you want to censor me and Prattle voicing our anger and frustration over things that should not exist, I at least can still read postings from your readers and a lot of the good stuff that you glean from the internet and post on the Rag.

Sorry, just had to laugh when you made the comment about my reading Fox News. I have never been one of their groupies or ever read about or listened to them. Although I am not educated in politics, I am smart enough to know when something is not right. This is funny, though. I never mentioned that I did get some good news from MSNBC for fear people would think I was a fan of Fox News.

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avatar Christine Schanes April 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Hi, Lois,

Thanks for your comment.

Not that Frank needs defending, but I think that one of the best things about the OB Rag is our editor, Frank, who allows, actually encourages, us to start up conversations like the one we are having now about compassion.

I think that’s pretty wonderful and important.

I also appreciate the fact that you are sharing your views and the fact that we can exchange our opinions here in the OB Rag.

Christine

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avatar Jack April 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Okay Lois, it is time for you to just settle down. Take your meds, meditate, or beat the help…whatever it is you do to settle down. I was going to let you just go on with your rant against everything “them,” but then you called me “ugly.” And I do not appreciate it. And before you try the technical, “I did not call you ugly.” you called what I wrote ugly and as it is an extension of me, I too must be ugly.

The only thing I wrote is that you are a hater. And you are. Take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror (actual and symbolic) and ask, “Why am I so angry at everything not me?” I believe if you look hard enough, you will find you have placed yourself at the center of Universe Lois…and apparently it is not a very nice place.

Try thinking about others who are less fortunate than you, regardless of their place of origin. Just for fifteen minutes soften your heart, it might do you some good. And if it does not, you have only lost fifteen minutes of angry hatred against all things not Lois.

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avatar Lois April 22, 2012 at 5:45 am

FRANK: Ever find out who has been trying to take the OB Rag down?

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avatar Patty Jones April 22, 2012 at 7:15 am

Lois, did you stay up all night composing all these comments? Take a break…

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avatar Christine Schanes April 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm

H, Prattle On Boyo,

Thanks for your comment.

I, for one, believe that we have enough of everything for everyone, we just have to figure it out. And figuring it out, I believe, while challenging, is certainly easier than putting a person on the moon or brain surgery.

It’s so often a matter of personal perspective and political will.

Do you agree?

Christine

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avatar Lois April 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Christine: Appreciate your trying to smooth over a very serious subject. I don’t believe it is only a matter of personal perspective and political. Please do not feel that I am trying to oppose you. This is a very serious situation that has impacted many people. For instance, I feel that it is a very serious outcome that American citizens are now witnessing the real bankruptcy of the Medi-cal system. Now we can’t support our country because we have to support the people who come here illegally.

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avatar JMW April 20, 2012 at 11:04 am

There but for fortune …

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avatar Christine Schanes April 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Thanks for your comment, JMW.

Yes, “there but for fortune…” go any or all of us.

Please stay in touch,
Christine

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avatar Christine Schanes April 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Hi, Lois,

Thank you for your comment.

It is always good to hear everyone’s thoughts so that we have a free exchange of ideas.

Often, we find when we help one another, we are actually helping ourselves.

Please stay in touch,
Christine

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avatar Christine Schanes April 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Hi, Lois,

I do appreciate your thoughts.

I guess I see problems from several perspectives: very wide perspective of the global assistance of all people on the plant and also from a personal perspective of knowing that when we help another person, we truly help ourselves.

Christine

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avatar Christine Schanes April 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Andy,

Thanks for your comment.

I read your article, “The Case for Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” with great interest.

I particularly found your references to ineffective immigration policy creating indentured servitude because I know from years of investigation that this is true.

Thanks for getting involved in the conversation.

Christine

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avatar Anna Daniels April 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Christine- I consider you, Jack Hamlin and Ernie McCray as our steadfast and purposeful “moral voices.” It frankly puzzles me when your posts engender responses which are lacking in kindness and truth.

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avatar Christine Schanes April 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Hi, Anna,

Thanks for your comment.

I don’t know about being a “moral voice,” but I am aware that homelessness is a “hot button issue” for some people.

A negative attitude toward people challenged economically can result in the passing of laws that actually criminalize homelessness.

The criminalization of homelessness is now well-documented by the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH), the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) and the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH).

I believe that until at least a good number of us becomes educated on the true issues of homelessness and develop compassion, we will continue to have laws criminalizing people for the mere fact of their economic status as homeless.

It’s kind of sad to think we don’t care about one another because we don’t realize that we human beings are all members of one global family.

I’m hopeful that we can change our attitudes through education, including here in the OB Rag, which will lead to understanding and then develop into compassion.

Christine

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avatar Lois April 21, 2012 at 6:38 am

Christine: I have seen those that are puposely homeless. A lot of veterans that get their monthly check do not want to be but homeless. But for the vast majority of them, they are mentally ill. Thanks to our wonderful President Reagan. The guy was all heart. Simply, setting the mentally out and kicking them to the curb, I believe in what he saw as a money saving gesture, it has back fired. Where do these homeless go when sick or injured, the ER of course. I don’t know, but I believe the cost of caring for them is much more than leaving them where they were. Not only the presence of them in the ER, this is a chronic issue. It is just a revolving door which makes no sense. I have seen some positive news of groups trying to resolve this situation and get them into some kind of housing. This would also be a very humane thing. But of course, the goverment of this great country knows better. I cannot believe how awful it is living on the street. How can they tolerate living on the street. I just can’t imagine. I hope what I have read in some of the news that someone has realized that making a move toward some kind of housing will catch on. Can you imagine yourself living on the street? I certainly can’t. And with the revolving door in the emergency rooms, these people living on the street incur more health problems. Not only do many of them have existing health problems, there is no health care prevention that keep existing health issues stable. I had to go to the ER one Sunday because I sustained a fracture in one of my fingers. Every hospital was filled to capacity and were on bypass. I went home for awhile and came back and still had the same place in line. So that’s my two cents for now.

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avatar Christine Schanes April 21, 2012 at 9:48 am

Hi, Lois,

Thanks for your comment.

I am well-aware of the truth of the past closing of mental health programs here in California – as you write, “setting the mentally out and kicking them to the curb.” I worked for California Attorney General’s Office at the time.

The theory was that the mental hospitals were warehousing patients and that we (California) would build/have mental health homes in local communities for these patients which would actually help their recovery. Unfortunately, no such homes were ever provided.

And I agree that people living on the street are not getting better by living unsheltered.

Finally, I’m sorry that you experienced a negative ER experience. We don’t have enough ER facilities for all of us in need of care.

I believe that, as you point out, that housing is the answer to homelessness.

Thanks for raising these issues.

Christine

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avatar judi Curry April 20, 2012 at 5:47 pm

As a student at UC during the 60’s, coming to San Diego was quite a culture shock for me. What was accepted and worked well in Berkeley just didn’t exist here. Everything I believed in, everything I marched for there, was a sign of weakness here.
But….I think it depends on the “homeless” we are talking about. For example: I worked for San Diego Job Corps, an Educational/Vocational school that was one of the few remaining Johnson era miracles. (Head Start is the other.) We were – and continue to be – designed to aid the “at risk” youth, 16-24 in training in both academia and vocations. We were a residential school, housing a great number of students, (over 500), thus taking them off the streets, giving them 3 meals per day, and, at the same time, training them to be viable members of our society.

At a staff meeting one day, it was suggested that we offer a position to one of the young men standing on the street corner with a sign that read ” . . . . hungry, will work for food.” Our Business Manager went to this young man and offered him a job working in the dorms with our students. To aid him to get back on his feet, he was offered a place to live, all his meals free, showers and clothing, plus a salary. His answer to the Business Manager: “Are you kidding me. Do you know how much I can make standing on this corner with my sign?”

The Business Manager – a conservative SOB, used this example of a homeless person to never offer another job to someone on the street. He said he was “compassionate the first time”, but if ” . . . .they don’t want to help themselves, why should I try to help them.” And I think this is part of the problem in working with the homeless today. People do not recognize that there may be mental problems in this huge population. They see what they want to see, and act accordingly. There are some homeless that genuinely want and will accept help. (I don’t mean donations of money.)
There are many that are suspicious of the “helper” and turn them down. It is difficult for those living in a warm, heated home to understand why someone is living in the alley under a bunch of cardboard boxes, obtaining their food from a nearby trash can.
The attitude of some of the homeless is a “turn-off” to the person that wants to help. And, in some instances, they shake their heads and say, “they can do better if they only put their mind to it.”

You are right, Christine. Only if attitudes are changed through education will there continue to be solutions, understanding and empathy.

BTW – I have an adverse feeling about giving money to a homeless person. I have frequently taken someone into a nearby restaurant and paid for a meal for them. More importantly, I always have dog biscuits in my pocket for it seems that many of the homeless are warm and caring to the animals that trek behind them on the road. I want to make sure that those animals are fed because taking care of, and feeding an animal is an expensive proposition.

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avatar Lois April 21, 2012 at 6:55 am

Judi: I really like what you have written. It is a very thoughtful and credible attitude. I also have stopped giving money at street corners. It does nothing for the well being of that person. Giving them or buying them a meal makes more sense. Bless you for taking these people into a restaurant and feeding them. I was with some friends in a fast food restaurant. One of the people I was with was looking away at something. It was a young man digging through the trash can right in the restaurant in public. A friend got up and took him to the counter and paid for the food he ordered. Old good cop/bad cop Lois really has a hard time seeing things like this. Thank you for your very kind post. Though it was only a one time thing for this young man, I am hoping the powers that be will help to get these people off the street.

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avatar Lois April 21, 2012 at 7:22 am

Judi: Just wanted to say how much I was impressed with buying the dog biscuits. Since I was so lacking in this, I would never thought of doing this. This is really a kind and very thoughtful thing to do.

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avatar Christine Schanes April 21, 2012 at 9:51 am

Hi, Lois,

I have to agree with you. Judi’s got a great idea about buying dog biscuits for the pets of homeless people. A loving and compassionate act.

Christine

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avatar Christine Schanes April 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Lois,

I’m already looking forward to your comment(s) about an upcoming article I’ve been thing about for years about giving homeless people money.

Stay tuned.

Christine

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avatar Christine Schanes April 20, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Hi, Judi,

Thanks for your comment.

And thank you for sharing so much about your life! I’m grateful that you brought up the issue of mental illness.

As far as giving money to homeless people… I’ve got an article that I’ve been planning to write for a long time now on that very subject. When it’s done, I hope that you will read it and give me your thoughts.

Thanks for all you have done and do for others!

Christine

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avatar Citizen Cane April 20, 2012 at 10:26 pm

A hiker has been missing in the local desert for nearly two weeks now. I’ve also heard him described as “another barefoot Latino lost in the desert.” Only a truly lost person would say such a thing, but even they deserve our compassion.

Is Lois really a bad cop in what appears to be a good cop, bad cop situation? She did mention that she hadn’t read the article yet, and she posted on 420 Day. Perhaps Lois is really the Dalai Lama trolling for sick fish. In any case…I wouldn’t worry about illegal immigrants capsizing our MediCal system. I think we have a bigger problem with how we define compassion in the final year of life. Yes, homelessness is a tough test of our compassion, but perhaps the toughest test of our compassion is how we deal with the elderly people that are warehoused.

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avatar Lois April 21, 2012 at 1:44 am

Dear Citizen Cane. I am wondering why immigrants would want to come to this country. I am looking directly at your comment and elderly people that are warehoused. What do you know about this? Have you worked around this situation, have you seen not only warehousing of the elderly, have you seen how some of them meet their death? Only the institutions that warehouse them, get a slap on the wrist, from the State and DHS and the money continues to flow into whereever they are housed. Especially nursing homes. I have not had time to read everything here yet, and I will. If there is something that I need to clarify, I will do that. I want to say that I agree with Andy’s posting. I agree that securing the borders will only cause more tragedy. Immigrants have been taught that this is the land of milk and honey, and illegal means nothing. So if illegal immigrants are so persecuted in their own company, why do they come here and protests their wrongs in this country? Do they think the citizens in this country do not suffer wrongdoings? Please tell me why they are protesting the country they so dangerously fled from?

ANDY: Please note, I am directing some of my comments to you. I am tired and trying to get back to bed, and am trying to make this short. As I have said before, securing our borders is not the answer. They will come anyway in their desperation because it has been a fact for many, many years, come to America and you will get the freebies. Illegal means nothing here, but they need to learn that illegal is law. There must be a turnaround of this idea. I still wonder if the laxness of immigration conform is for the convenience of our putrid Congress to give them citizen ship to help fight their illegal wars. However, if they live to enjoy that citizenship. The immigrants must learn that there are responsibilities to gain what they seek. I fully support Governor Richardson interview regarding illegal immigrants. They must be educated to the fact that the right to be here and take advantages of the good they seek, must be earned. I tend to believe if this happened, the immigrants would be better off than they are now. Makes a lot of sense for them to come here and protest their abuse by this country. And speaking of lost in he desert. Has anyone thought of how horrorfying dying in the desert is. Thought about how slowly and gruesome this kind of death reeks on all the body systems? Securing the borders is not the answer.

Good cop, bad cop. This is amusing. At least you have a sense of humor. And no, I don’t practice much political correctness. But you listened, didn’t you?

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avatar Lois April 21, 2012 at 2:08 am

THIS POST IS DIRECTED TO CITIZEN CANE.

Thank you.

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avatar Lois April 21, 2012 at 2:26 am

How do you deal with the elderly people that are warehoused? Please let us know what we can do better, sir.

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avatar Christine Schanes April 21, 2012 at 9:01 am

Hi, Citizen Cane,

Thanks for your comment. It’s good to hear from you again.

I do agree with you that there is really no need to label anyone and “being lost” does take on a different meaning when we refer to the “labeler.”

It seems to me that we all have plenty of opportunities to exercise our compassion. I also think that more practice we have being compassionate, the easier being compassionate becomes.

Helping elderly people is a challenge; helping elderly homeless people may be even a greater challenge.

Compassion, compassion, compassion.

Sometimes when we start will small acts of kindness, we develop habits that result in even greater acts of compassion.

Can you talk further about elders being warehoused? Thanks.

Christine

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avatar Citizen Cane April 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I think an individual should allowed to legally end their life. It’s their life. If they are mentally competent, then they should be allowed early retirement from this planet. There are many sticky details that I don’t want to hash out in discussion here.

In a different scenario, like when a 90 year old stroke victim is being kept alive on a ventilator and feeding tube simple because the family members think it’s the right thing to do. …I don’t think that should be at the expense of taxpayers. If the family wants to pay the bill or take out a government loan, then fine. I think it would be better if we could remove some of the stigma from mercy killing. Give people the same compassion we give to our dogs and cats.

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avatar Christine Schanes April 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Citizen Cane,

Very interesting response. Q: Have you had an elderly loved one go through this experience? I ask not to be nosey, but I wondering how a person gets interested in thinking about this topic. Sometimes we think about things that “touch home,” in other words, mean a lot personally to us.

Christine

Christine

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avatar Citizen Cane April 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I’ve known a few people that wanted to die, but couldn’t commit suicide, because of their religious beliefs. One guy regularly prayed to die. We don’t have death panels, but we do have anti-death panels. Although we usually call them congregations.

Most of what I know about people being kept alive by extreme measures comes from people that work in hospitals. If it were a reality TV show, then I think more people would see mercy killing as the compassionate path.

I don’t want to get too far off topic, but this also involves a church-state issue. Should Atheist taxpayers be forced to pay for extraordinary medical
measures for religious persons that are irreparably damaged? Some people think we should bill Mexico for the cost of taking care of illegal immigrants. Maybe yes, but we should also send a bill to the Vatican.

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avatar Christine Schanes April 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Citizen Cane,

Thanks for your comment.

Are you familiar with The Hemlock Society here in San Diego?

I appreciate your thoughts and I’m intrigued about your statements about the relationship of life/death choices with religion.

Our religious beliefs do really influence our choices, don’t they. Sometimes, I don’t think we even notice this in our own lives.

On a humorous note… I don’t think the Vatican will pay that bill.

Christine

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avatar Lois April 21, 2012 at 11:26 am

Christine: Your comments on this subject are very insightful and really get down to the business of having people to really look at it instead of glossing over it. People that say, pull yourselves up by your bootstraps, get a job, etc. are clueless and apparently have never had to deal with adversity. The subject of homelessness goes much deeper. You have done well to bring out a lot of what people need to know.
How about walking in the shoes of the people you condemn?

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avatar Christine Schanes April 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Thank you, Lois, for your kind words. I hope that you will read and continue to comment on my upcoming articles on homelessness. I believe that you raise issues that many people feel but may not be able to articulate.

Christine

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avatar tricia April 25, 2012 at 11:39 am

Geez, I was going to comment on having compassion for others, and all I keep reading is the drain on society by illegals!Thanks for the article Christine.You know my feelings on this.

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avatar Christine Schanes April 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Hi, Tricia,

Thanks for your comment. And please go on… I’d appreciate learning more about your feelings on compassion.

Regarding the comments about people without documentation… In my experience I have found that sometimes, when I least expect it, compassion is helpful – for people without documentation, for people who may write things we don’t agree with and for people generally.

One of the things I enjoy about experiencing compassion is that compassion works all the time, everywhere and under all circumstances. It’s amazing! And it makes me feel good, too.

I look forward to hearing more from you.

Christine

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avatar Rick Chalmers April 26, 2012 at 7:47 am

This question is off the article topic of compassion, but related to the following discussion regarding illegals.

Has anyone ever proven/disproven the assertion that illegals are bankrupting our benefits systems? And more, has an analysis of the cost/benefits of illegal workers to our society ever been made? I believe it is easy to measure the costs to our health care, and difficult to measure the societal benefits. and as for bankrupting our system, we don’t need illegals to blame for that.

Rick

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avatar Christine Schanes April 26, 2012 at 8:38 am

Hi, Rick,

Thanks for your comment.

Yes, I believe that there are studies proving – not that illegals are bankrupting our system – but that their participation in our economy is a very important contribution to our economic health.

Great point, you’ve made.

Keep in touch,
Christine

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avatar christopher dotson August 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm

check out and contribute of gifts, talents and service to. standupforkids.org, a national org. with 25yr roots in SD and wholly dedicated to preventing homelessness by focusing on homeless and at risk youth in SD – A very active group of volunteers for decades in OB and SD.

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avatar Christine Schanes August 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Hi, Christopher,

I have gone to StandUpForKids in downtown San Diego and am very impressed with the people involved and their program.

They do a fine job of distributing items to homeless people in OB and SD.

Thanks for mentioning them. It’s always good to share great programs with all of us.

Christine

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