A Brooklyn Moment-2
Walking the Coney Island Brighton Beach Boardwalk has reopened my eyes to the plight of the homeless. Everyday between 6:30 and 8:00 I witness the joggers jog , the walkers walk, the cyclists cycle and the homeless sleep. Most just keep moving, paying little or no attention to the souls bundled up with their shopping carts nearby just trying to get a little more shut eye before the blazing Brooklyn sun comes out. The boardwalk spans about three miles and about every ten feet one can see another lonely soul waking up to face another day. How did this happen? How is it possible that in this great country we have birthed a generation of people with no home and no hope?
The top four causes of homelessness are lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty and mental illness. The first three groups will take advantage of shelters. However the street people are generally the mentally ill. They are fearful of the system and prefer to be on their own in the streets. These are the souls who flock to the beaches across the country. They either sleep on the benches or on the sand and travel with all their possessions in shopping carts or suitcases. I think back to a movie I saw in the 60’s, The Conversation, where a homeless soul was sleeping on a bench and the protagonist said, “Imagine he was once somebody’s baby boy.”
Today I witnessed a remarkable scene. Two men awakening getting dressed and one began helping his buddy make a tie and dress up for what I hoped would be a job interview or perhaps just to remind himself he was somebody. Look for my next article a Brooklyn Moment 3,