Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Brings Reflection

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah

Another rough year for homeless people. We read the names of 52 people at the homeless memorial day on December 21 at St. Patrick Meal Site. This is a record for homeless people dying in the 19 years of reading names at the annual candlelight vigil. We will post the names on our website next week. This was also the first year in many that we had a homeless person die of exposure on the streets. We have an amazing network of shelters and some wonderful outreach workers, but we do need to re-examine our efforts in light of people dying on the streets. Rest in peace our beloved friend, Butch Allen Dorsey, who died behind an abandoned house on Superior Ave. May your eternal rest be warm and surrounded by a community that embraces you more than your 32 years here.

I often wonder about the whole story of the birth of Jesus and our network of "mangers" in Cleveland. There are babies born every week while their Moms are in shelter or born in vehicles or in abandoned housing. Our network of churches are no longer the backbone of the shelters, and we no longer make a big deal about a family with a newborn in the shelters. No one brings any gold or frankincense to these young "evacuees." The wise men of our community are absolutely ignorant of the problem of homeless children and babies. I am not even sure that any of our major religions would recognize an apostolic figure or prophet waiting in a soup line or in our network of shelters. It seems that homeless people have become an invisible part of our landscape to religious leaders, elected officials, and the media. We can only hope the aftermath of Katrina will wash over the country and bring a new attitude in 2006.

Thanks to Bill Callahan for the link and the kind words in his blog

Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

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