Tuesday, September 13, 2016

無家可歸, homeless

無家可歸, homeless

The Metro Station where I get off in the morning heading to office near downtown Los Angeles is called Persing Square. For reasons i do not understand, there is always a big group of homeless people congregated on the street level. I am guessing Persing Square itself could be one of the reasons it attracts homeless. Persing Square has acres of public space and tree-lined shade, offering free and protecting (from rain and sun) environment. 

Originally, the designated acre-wide public square would have been an ambiance for Angelenos who could breath fresh air and walk leisurely in a metropolitan area where space and greenery is a luxurious item. Unfortunately, one rarely sees local residents or nearby business occupants take the advantage of this public urban park with regularly mini cured landscaped garden trees, and playground equipments for kids. Instead, it lures drug dealers, transients, and permanent homeless. As a major transportation stop where banks, jewelry marts, and legal, financial firms establishing offices here, the square is alway crowded with commuters. I am only one of the thousands of passengers who takes Metro rail line, getting In and out of station daily. But instead of enjoying park setting of Persing Square, I smell urine, smell pots, walk around trash in the morning, at afternoon hours. 幾年前回臺北時,搭乘捷運到萬華龍山寺尋訪幼年故居。龍山寺捷運站也有不少街友遊民。稱為街友,帶著溫暖情懷。但是心知肚明,遊民大都無家可歸,三餐無靠, 豈有遊興?

The homeless has moved in and taken over Persing Square space. Yet, most people, including me, are not angry about the situation. I believe we all more or less feel sad and powerless. Things should have been done years ago to help those homeless; and the truth is that there had been endless efforts by governmental & other charitable agencies before, trying to either improve or solve such unfortunate social fact. All had failed. Waves of new homeless occupy Persing Square, one of thousands of metropolitan points, become eyesore, burden, and permanent establishment of our society.

Homeless is not a choice. Who would volunteeringly steps into such miserably social & financial condition as homeless? No one would choose being a homeless if there was a choice. Sometime, somewhere, these homeless people  at once had a home, had a family, had a job, and might have their own kids and family too. What had happened?

According to researchers, there could be several causes for people turning into displayed homeless; industrialization, wars and subsequent problems, natural disasters, racial inequities, medical problems, widowhood, and the values of a nation as represented by their policies relating to the disenfranchised 

The Industrial Revolution starting in the 1820s-‘30s people began migrating from the farm to the city in search of jobs. Philadelphia and New York had many people walking the streets causing the country’s first pan-handling ordinances. City jails became de facto shelter systems.

While circumstances can vary, the main reason people experience homelessness is because they cannot find housing they can afford. It is the scarcity of affordable housing in the United States, particularly in more urban areas where homelessness is more prevalent, that is behind their inability to acquire or maintain housing.

By the numbers:
• In January 2015, 564,708 people were homeless on a given night in the United States.
• Of that number, 206,286 were people in families, and
• 358,422 were individuals.
• About 15 percent of the homeless population - 83,170 - are considered "chronically homeless” individuals.
• About 2 percent - 13,105 - are considered "chronically homeless” people in families.
• About 8 percent of homeless people- 47,725 - are veterans.

These numbers come from Point-in-Time Counts, which are conducted, community by community, on a single night in January every other year. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities to submit this data every other year in order to qualify for federal homeless assistance funds. Many communities conduct counts more regularly.

The most recent data from HUD can be found in the agency's 2015 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congresss.

The last time a global survey was attempted – by the United Nations in 2005 – an estimated 100 million people were homeless worldwide. As many as 1.6 billion people lacked adequate housing (Habitat, 2015).

每 天從捷運站出口,都會五味雜陳的接觸這些街友。早晨時,有些街友還沒醒來。合衣睡在水泥地面,沒有毯子,也沒墊子。有的出醒,拿出瓶裝水,從頭頂倒下,抹 一把臉,算是梳洗。更有人欄干旁一站,方便!市政府特別在捷運出口處裝設了一套新型公共衛生設備。幾年下來,雖然定期清潔保養,但是累積的氣味醺鼻刺目。 連街友都不願使用,乾脆隨地便溺,行入無不掩目而過。三頭二回,救護車還抬走人,也無從詢問生死?

朱門酒肉臭,路有凍死骨。杜甫親睹感念,衷心而發。當年貴妃賜浴華清,春遊專夜. 惜乎大唐盛世己逝,杜甫幼兒在家餓死。二十一世紀,歷史重演不斷。而今洛杉磯熱門餐廳一位難求,街友翻垃圾桶,溲食也囫圇呑下。據聞人類生而平等,大約是生也空空,去也空空,空來空去一致。人間是暗淡,人間是燦爛?幸與不幸耳!