I remember sometime ago, I was standing on the corner of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue waiting for the Express Bus to Queens when I partially witnessed an exchange between two men. One of the men was clearly homeless. I don’t know what caused the exchange or what it was exactly about, but a woman standing next to me said, in a snarky tone, “You know, I get that he is homeless, but you he doesn’t have to be cranky.” I then said to her, “Do you really get it?” She asked, “What do you mean?” I then replied, “Let me ask you this, whenever you sleep somewhere new or not familiar, isn’t it a bit uncomfortable?” She nodded in agreement. “Now try to imagine trying to sleep and not feeling safe? Whether he is on the street or in a shelter he does not feel safe, which means that he is likely not getting sufficient sleep. Then there is trying to eat. Trying to stay clean. Homelessness is all consuming. I could go on.” The woman said nothing further, but appeared to be in deep thought.
Awareness and visibility are the first steps to achieve change.