Your first words are always, "Is there someone in that sleeping bag?" As you near the park bench you can smell the stench of day old urine stained on the interior of the sleeping bag, probably because the person inside drank himself to sleep, as stereotypical as that may seem to those who read my words. You then move in for a closer look to make sure the person inside is breathing. You see the upper section of the bag slowly rise, then lower from a breath within. You feel better until you begin to wonder, how did this person end up like this? Do they have anyone to love on them, talk to them, ask them how their day was?
As you look around the bench that the homeless person before you calls home, you see bags filled with his or her life. You don't see anyone else around and you quickly confirm your thoughts... this man or this woman who is sleeping on the city street corner before you is all alone in this world.
Under the park bench you notice a plastic container of water. Even though the person is homeless and sleeping on a bench, he or she is much like you at night. You both have water by your bedside in case your mouth becomes dry and you need a sip. The simple things like a glass of water remind you how human this person is, despite where they sleep. Many similarities start to run through your head. This could be your mom, your dad, your cousin, your child. The difference between you and them has nothing to do with employment. The difference is that you do not have mental illness - - - and if you do, you are receiving the help you need to make it from day to day in this fast paced society.
So, what can be done to help our homeless that suffer from a combination of alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illness? The question remains unanswered, just as it has for years and years.