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(7,968 posts)
Sun Dec 25, 2011, 01:59 AM Dec 2011

Christmas Eve in Detroit

So I went with my family to see the Detroit Lions play on Christmas Eve and we walked several blocks through the city. I was very upset by a sight I saw not once but twice.

Twice we passed a homeless person either passed out or drunk or asleep (but it doesn't really matter) lying face down on the sidewalk trying to get warm by the heat vents which run all around downtown. The temperature out was in the 30's with no sun. Night was falling. These people looked beyond desperate. I knew that the cops would be around soon enough as thousands of fans were walking past. But still I was somewhat shocked. What a horrible sight for nations cities! God what have we come to!

Homeless stray animals are treated far better than people in our poor inner cities. I felt awful and while my life went on - I continued my "middle class" lifestyle (which is hard enough that I don't have "spare change" to help the desperate) - I left feeling our societies basic inhumanity. And the right wing claims we are a "Christian Society". Not in any understanding of "Christian" that I've ever understood.

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(14,177 posts)
1. sorry to hear that...
Sun Dec 25, 2011, 02:05 AM
Dec 2011

I understand your situation. If I gave a dollar to every homeless person I encountered I would be in the same situation pretty soon myself. I give what I can, but it just isn't enough. We don't have homeless due to a lack of money in the system it is due to a lack of will to correct the situation. There are 29 houses in foreclosure/and or abandoned for every homeless person. Not to mention several thousand public buildings such as schools and nursing homes that have been abandoned. It wouldn't take much in terms of money to convert those buildings into livable space that could be used to house the homeless for free or a portion of their income if they have it.


(21,946 posts)
2. I know where you're coming from. It's horrid in a country as wealthy as this one is.
Sun Dec 25, 2011, 02:07 AM
Dec 2011

That person is someone's brother, sister, mother, father, son, daughter. There is no excuse for this state of affairs.
These people living like that while others can afford to go to ball games with overpriced players, overpriced stadiums and overpriced hot dogs.

Something is seriously stinking in the USA and it seems to be coming from the various seat holders in the chambers of government. From congress in DC to legislatures in each and every state, even down to the city governments.

They have a duty to tend to the needs of the citizens from the poorest of the poor to the 1%..and they aren't doing it. When there are two people hurt, you tend first to the one who is hurt the most.



(154,021 posts)
3. Yup, people avoid them
Sun Dec 25, 2011, 02:15 AM
Dec 2011

and they are the invisible among us.

This is one reason for occupy actually. And the Occupy has brought them out of the shadows.


(18,402 posts)
4. I live in a large city as well
Sun Dec 25, 2011, 02:23 AM
Dec 2011

(Chicago), and let me first say that I've encountered similar passed-out, blanket-wrapped homeless folk sleeping on the streets for many years--long before the recession. I saw it back when I lived in New York in the 1960s and 70s.

Here's the issue: don't feel that these people are always being totally ignored or that there is no help for them. Many times they are picked up and taken to the many shelters and programs in the city, and they end up right back on the streets. For some, it is a question of mental illness, and though it's hard for us to imagine, they seem to prefer the street.

For two or three years in a row there used to be a guy who slept on the sidewalk under the train viaduct a block or so from our house, and no matter how many times somebody in the neighborhood had him taken to a shelter, he always ended up back there.

Our alderman told us that when we see a homeless person we should not give them money but place a 311 service call to have them taken to a shelter, because what they need is a warm bed, food, and counseling. There are a lot of programs here. It's getting people to use them.

I just say this to make you not feel so badly: there's a lot of tragedy out there. But there are many agencies, both nonprofit, religious, and governmental that do try to provide assistance. Unfortunately, there are always going to be people who are very difficult to help. And sometimes, agencies, though their intentions are good, are not able to follow through with people over the long term.

Shelters are not the full answer, because people tend to cycle in and out of them: permanent housing situations are necessary for gaining the stability to start to turn things around. Try to find a good agency for the homeless in Detroit and read about what they are doing in your area.


(26,955 posts)
5. I'm in an inner ring suburb of Detroit.
Sun Dec 25, 2011, 02:45 AM
Dec 2011

Every word of what you said is true, I'm sad to admit.

The system is broken, broken beyond the repair concepts given serious concern by the assclowns inside the Beltway.

One half of the population now lives at near-poverty levels or below.

Figure it out.


(3,670 posts)
6. I am going to upset you, and I feel bad about it, but this is what you said...
Sun Dec 25, 2011, 02:59 AM
Dec 2011

So I went with my family to see the Detroit Lions play on Christmas Eve ....Twice we passed a homeless person .....trying to get warm by the heat vents ..... I felt awful and while my life went on ...which is hard enough that I don't have "spare change" to help the desperate....

...maybe we should feel bad... because even if we could afford to help, how does one... I don't know...


(7,968 posts)
10. I'm not upset with what you are saying... I understand exactly
Sun Dec 25, 2011, 12:22 PM
Dec 2011

I certainly do have "spare change" from time to time but if I gave my spare change to everyone who asked I'd very soon have none. I do selectively give money to homeless people and also contribute to charities which I deem to be appropriate.

So no I don't feel bad about what you said. My point here isn't about me. It was about the poor people lying on the sidewalk seeking warmth from city steam vents. Like everyone I have my own life issues but I do absolutely give to charity and fairly liberally. I just can't solve the problems of our world even if I decided to give all of my funds to it - and honestly yes - sometimes I do think that would be the moral choice.

What about you - what do you think? And since you pointed out that I don't give all of my funds to charity - how about you. Since you want to make this about me and not the desperate people lying on the sidewalk.


(3,670 posts)
12. Smiling, I never stated that you should give "all" or "any" of your funds,
Sun Dec 25, 2011, 12:59 PM
Dec 2011

but rather I noticed within your post - what I considered a very normal "contradiction"... while "some of us" have a quality of life, there are so many that do not. While "we" enjoy our quality of life, we are faced on a daily basis with the inequality of life.

No, I was neither condemning you, judging you, (where is that spell checker?), or even making a statement directly about you... I was making a "comment,... where I don't have an answer" about all of the "we' that still have some quality of life. We go about our lives and have become used to the idea of seeing the homeless, some through personal choices, some because of mental illness (thank you Ronald R.), other through just bad luck. But we are used to it and have come to accept it as 'normal'.

I don't want you to do any more than you normally would, that would not be fair to you or yours; but rather, I am glad that you commented on it, because it forces us to think... what answers we will discover will be the direct result of our personal life journey - what we have put in, and what we get out.

It is confusing to me now...

Happy Holidays.



Fire Walk With Me

(38,893 posts)
7. Thank you for caring. Enough people saying NO! to this will force it to change.
Sun Dec 25, 2011, 04:28 AM
Dec 2011

Best wishes to you and yours this holiday season!


(23,968 posts)
11. I have felt the same way.
Sun Dec 25, 2011, 12:27 PM
Dec 2011

If you remember the old Tiger stadium was a worse scene, very sad when you know that our government could solve the problem but doesn't even try.

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