Combatting poverty takes more than determination (Column)



January 26, 2018 - 12:00 AM

If there were an easy cure for poverty and homelessness, we would be thrilled. If telling someone the error of their ways, explaining the difference between good and bad choices, handing them a list of instructions, and sending them out with an “attaboy” worked, that would be terrific.

It would be so much less stressful than figuring out how to help everyone who comes in keep their utilities on, put food on the table, have the medicine they need, and find employment. We could just kick back in the office, hand out lots of free advice, tell them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and give them a kick in the pants at the first questioning of our “Cure Yourself from Poverty” program.

We would tell little children to suck it up, hunger makes you stronger. Have your mom give your face a good spit shine and get on to school, you have learning to do. Holes in your shoes? Nothing that tying bread sacks around your ankles won’t fix. When Grandma is eating cat food, tell her that her hair has never looked shinier. Must be the protein. There were plenty of bums during the Great Depression who got by just fine. Did they get beaten? Did they starve? Were they ravaged by illness and disease? Well sure. But longevity comes with its own set of problems, so quit your bellyaching.

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