Do Homeless Lives Matter?

As I write this, people are reacting to Trump pulling us out of the Paris climate change accord. People are talking about what Kathy Griffin did. Earlier in the week, people were all aglow over the new Boston Bridge program, which will send Boston students to college without them having to pay tuition. As usual, homelessness took a backseat.

Earlier this week, another program—this one for youth homelessness—will close. It’s called Youth on Fire, and it’s a drop-in center that’s been a blessing for many youth who are on the streets. It will be closing in November because of state budget cuts.

We can lay this egg at the feet of Charlie Baker and the so-called liberal state legislature. You remember the legislature don’t you? The people who gave themselves a fat pay raise earlier this year. Youth on Fire has served many young people over the years who needed a safe place to go when navigating the streets. Some of those youths went on to become homeless activists themselves. AIDS ACTION, which runs the program, is hoping for a miracle to keep it open.

It shouldn’t have to be this way.

Do homeless lives matter? Think about it. There’s been no more coverage of the closing of the SOAR and Safe Harbor programs since it happened. There was no coverage of the Boston Rescue Mission’s program that was abruptly shut down on Easter Sunday—and that, my friends, was a program for homeless women.

Hopefully, Youth on Fire will at least get some coverage—because it’s a program for homeless youth. But even some activists seem to have thrown in the towel and have switched gears to battle Trump instead of dealing with the issues in front of us.

Do homeless lives matter? Where are their marches? Their loud protests? Their benefit concert? There will, no doubt, be climate change marches in droves over the next few weeks. But for the folks on methadone mile, the people who stay in shelters, those who sleep on the street every single night, the mother who sleeps in a car with her kids, there’s nothing, just soup, sandwiches and a whole lot of pity. I’m not going to tell you how to change all that—I already have.

But no one is listening. They’re too busy paying attention to Kathy Griffin and the severed head. People need to wake the hell up and pay attention. People are dying in the street.

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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