Thursday, December 17, 2009
Homeless in Paradise
This season on Lotus island there are about forty homeless, almost all men. They flee the cold part of the country to survive outside here. We have had inclement weather lately and particularly cold and wet weather. Here we are in one of the worlds most wealthy countries and the best part of that country and we have this disconnect! The Community Services provides shelter for six of seven men if the temperature is below 0 degrees Centigrade. Otherwise they are on their own. Funding is always the problem. We have a food bank and soup kitchen and a Copper Kettle, but the nights are cold and wet and there is no room at the Inn. In our Anglican church we have a deck, lighted at night, over a Creche of the Holy Family at the Stable. The figures are mounted on a straw bale. It is a windbreak. Underneath the Creche or around it, sleep five or so homeless at night. We worry about cigarette butts and the "piddling pail" and the bedclothes they leave for the next night. Our janitor has a problem with maintenance of the area but, it is no accident that there is some shelter under the Bethlehem scene. We just have to live with the ambivalence, and hope the bale doesn't catch on fire and our insurance go up in smoke. It's little enough that we can do. It is another form of figurative comfort to the dispossessed !