By Charlotte Jackson
There is much concern about the increasing number of homeless people who are in the North Channel Area. Almost daily there are posts from concerned community members that are upset over the number of people and the amount of items that are piled under the underpasses along Interstate 10 heading east as well as those under the intersections along the Sam Houston Parkway. There are countless individuals who you can find in the wooded area along the Beltway as well as around vacant buildings and quite often behind restaurants in the alleyways.
On social media, you see some people almost developing a vigilante attitude, calling for the underpasses to be washed daily with a high pressure water pump. These people talk about their property value decreasing and the amount of trash as well as human excrement increasing. Often these homeless individuals scare off potential customers as well as potential new residents to the community.
There are numerous community members who will hand cash to those who approach them while others will look into the distance. Sometimes there are Someone’s Child individuals or groups who prepare a small plastic bag with basic essentials such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, deodorant, shavers, shampoo and other hygiene items. Other groups will sometimes distribute blankets, towels and jackets to the homeless community.
No matter which side of the discussion that you find yourself, take a moment and remember that the people on the streets and in the woods are someone’s child. We do not know what happened in their lifetime to lead them on the path that they are on now. Often the members of the homeless community have a mental disorder and without medication and treatment, their lives are in a constant turmoil. There is a misconception that many of the homeless are military veterans. In reality, thanks to many programs available, veterans are typically moved to the top of lists when trying to get assistance. Many of the homeless are ex-offenders and depending on the crime, there are few options for housing. Even worse is the number of homeless youth. Please remember that not every person on the streets wants to be there or made decisions to be there.
On more than one occasion, I have sat down and talked to those living on the streets. Most often, they just want to know someone cares and they want to find resources for assistance. One of the best things that you can do is visit www.homelesshouston.org and print out the “HELP CARD” and give it with a smile to the next homeless person you see. If you are bold enough, hug them. Research shows three hugs a day improves your life. And if you are brave enough to speak with a homeless person, you might ask them if they would like to use your cell phone and contact a family member just to let them know they are still alive. If you are not quite that brave, you can at least pray for them. Always remember, we do not know the route that led them to the current situation, but they are still someone’s child.