Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Welfare Check

"As the saying goes, many of us are one illness, one major expense, one life event from ending up on the street."

Whenever I think of the welfare check, I think of my youngest daughter. Don't get me wrong - she is not receiving a welfare check. She is doing welfare checks on folks who are currently down on their luck. Folks who are homeless, folks who are living on the street. Some in makeshift shelters. Others in the back seat of a car. Anywhere. And wherever it is, it is very, very dangerous to do so. 

My wife and I have done some work with the homeless in the county in which we live. Like many when we first started, I had no clue on how or why people became homeless. So my wife and I got "schooled" by some folks who knew quite about about this subject. People who have worked extensively with the homeless. Also people who have been homeless themselves. It was quite a life lesson, to say the least.

We stopped in to see my daughter at work last week. She is now working at a different location than we had seen before. She works at an organization who does outreach in Minneapolis. The people we met there were just like my daughter - dedicated to helping those who need to be housed. Those who were in need. The folks at that organization are trying to ensure those who are outside on dangerously cold nights are found and bought to some kind of shelter. 

Talking to some of the folks at my daughter's organization, we heard what we have heard before. We heard that many who are homeless had no intention of becoming so. Many of those have had good jobs. Some have had good educations. One client they worked with even had a Ivy League education. He was from out east. And life was going very good for him before the bottom fell out. So here is the real deal - life circumstances which cause homeless are as varied as one can imagine.

If you happen to see someone out on cold, or even not so cold night looking for the homeless, know this. And I am saying this without my daughter knowing it. These people are heroes. They are people who care more for the hurting than they care for their own comfort on these cold nights. 

Welfare checks. Once was a term for money given to someone who was downtrodden, is also a term for people who just need to be cared for. People who need to be checked up on.

Many I have talked to have asked what they can do is help. The answer is plenty. Funds, as well as hands on assistance. And if they cannot help, they can seek to understand. Understanding the people on the street are no different than the rest of us. They are not different at all - they are us. 

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