Have you ever thought that you may one day know the homeless man you’re about to pass on the side of the road? Why should you care? You kept your life together. He’s not your problem, right?

Every day, we pass a homeless person begging for our support, yet we never stop and help. Looking those moneyless people in the eyes and watching them walk away with nothing, we continue on our day-to-day journey, thankful for what we have, thinking, “They screwed up” or “That’s their problem they couldn’t keep a job and save money. Why should I give them my money? They probably don’t even really need it.”

Jessie Arbuthnot, one of the thousands of homeless citizens, stated, “It was like a nightmare.” This response is what the majority of homeless people are thinking while standing out on corners each night, fending for themselves. However, “support from the public and private sectors, as well as the general public, should ensure the number of homeless people in the city continues to fall,” Martha Kegel, executive director of UNITY of Greater New Orleans, claims.

Critics may argue that homeless people do nothing but spend checks on alcohol and drugs. Though this may be true for some, it is not true for all. If we do not help those who aren’t throwing away their money, we will do nothing but make the problem worse. The smallest contributions — food banks, support systems or even food drives — would lead the underprivileged in a brighter direction.

I agree that at times it is hard to tell whether this beggar at your window actually needs the money or not, yet that shouldn’t be your problem. The main focus of this issue is merely that homeless people are being ignored and passed up based on judgmental accusations.

Although an increase in government affiliation would notably bring about a slow but steady decrease in homelessness, government support is not our only priority.

If American citizens aren’t willing to help each other in a time of need, we might as well all be homeless together.

Savannah Sims


New Orleans