Why Can’t We Take Care of Our Own Needy?

My friend Dennis is a good Christian man who goes out of his way to help people in need. He has had an ongoing relationship with a homeless guy, Roy, for a long time. From time to time Dennis finds Roy on the street, gets him a meal or a place to sleep, paying out of his pocket. Some of us men in Dennis’ bible study group try to help a little with expenses.

Roy is in his early 60s, has a bum knee that prevents him from working, can barely read let alone advocate for himself, and is unemployable. He gets $700 a month in disability payments.

For a while, Roy stayed with a bunch of other indigents in a private (for profit) home that took half of his disability check (sometimes they would demand more) in exchange for a worn-out recliner to sleep in. They never shared food or anything else with him and the situation was abusive at best. I was surprised to learn that flop-houses like this are home to many people who don’t have any other alternative. While it did provide a roof over his head, it was a terrible way to live.

I called the county welfare office to find out what services might be available to Roy and was told there were many programs in place and it should not be any problem getting him some permanent subsidized housing. I gathered this information and shared it with Dennis, who took Roy to the county office only to find out that their information was outdated and in fact there were no available services. My gut instinct is that there probably are plenty of amply-funded assistance programs. The money just never seems to get out of the government offices. The local Salvation Army also sent Dennis and Roy away, saying they were already over capacity.

So Roy is back sleeping on the street, and even in the South, it gets pretty cold at night this time of year.

Meanwhile, our southern border crisis continues. Government officials and media talking heads chatter about whether there should be 42,000 or 49,000 beds for illegal migrants at the care stations our government provides on the border. There seem to be all kinds of support services available to people who illegally invade our country, and anyone who suggests we should build a barrier to close the border is branded a heartless racist.

But apparently nobody in this richest nation on earth cares about Roy, and the other millions of American citizens who don’t have anyplace to sleep tonight. What the hell is wrong with us?

If you don’t want me
Why don’t you tell me
Instead of tellin’ lies
And makin’ me cry
Don’t you care? Don’t you care?

Don’t You Care – the Buckinghams

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