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How to See Homelessness and Homeless Persons with Dignity

Janis is heavily involved in community service which includes running a bi-weekly breakfast program for the homeless and families in need.

A Man of Dignity Without a Home

We should consider it a blessing to have an affordable home where we live comfortably. Most homeless don't have a permanent place to stay.

We should consider it a blessing to have an affordable home where we live comfortably. Most homeless don't have a permanent place to stay.

How Do You See Homeless People?

The way you view a homeless person depends on your assumptions about his or her situation.

Your values, religious beliefs, your political persuasions, socioeconomic status and work ethics are directly related to how your form those assumptions.

Even your stereotypes about culture, gender roles, and perhaps, race influence how you perceive the homeless.

The next time you pass by a homeless man or woman on the street, try to remove all assumptions, values, beliefs, and stereotypes from your mind and see a person who was born a child of God with humanity and dignity.

The following poems attempt to give perspective on how we can view homeless persons with new eyes.

"Hungry Souls"

Flocking in from the early morning cold

for a place to meet and greet.

Bringing stories and histories untold,

they find comfort in a table and a seat.

Their lives have dignity and pride

Stuffed in duffel bags.

The shame and disgrace they hide

behind incomplete degrees and dog tags.

Lost men with hungry hearts,

Looking for meaning in a warm meal.

Food for the soul served from carts,

Comforts, sustains, and heals.

The nurtured souls of men now warm and layered,

Return to their lives strengthened with food, fellowship, and prayer.


JLE 2009

Some Homeless Choose the Streets

A lifestyle on the street is a way of life for many. Whether out of necessity or choice, some see it as an alternative way of freedom.

A lifestyle on the street is a way of life for many. Whether out of necessity or choice, some see it as an alternative way of freedom.

"A Cure For All Seasons"

In the dead of winter we are sheltered;

Protected by the numbing sub-zero temperatures that shield

Us from feeling the bitter cold stares of the heartless.



In the searing summer heat, we are protected;

Screened by the baking degrees of the sun that shade

Us from the hot glares of those cooking under the collar.



The heartless and hot under the collar have no idea

The insensitivity that stings like wasps of summer

Nor the callousness that burns like the frostbite of winter.



Until they open their hearts to the medicinal effects of

Warm smiles on numbness, handshakes on frostbite, and twinkled eyes on bitter souls,

We will remain throughout all seasons with dignity.


JLE 1990

One's Entire Life in a Backpack

For some homeless persons, life is stuffed in a bag and lived out on the streets.

For some homeless persons, life is stuffed in a bag and lived out on the streets.

Treat the Homeless with Dignity

If you notice a positive change in your perception the next time you see a person on the street, think about what difference you could make to help the homeless.

No matter how small, directly or indirectly, every little bit helps. Whether it's donating clothing, blankets, food, money, time, or just saying "hello," see what you can do today to touch someone's life.

You will be surprised by the response you see from needy persons when someone displays care and kindness to them. It makes them feel a little more human to be treated with dignity.

When I feed the homeless, it warms my heart when they say, 'thank you,' or offer a little change to pay for their meal.

Interact with the homeless by giving, and it will change your heart, too, not just during a specific time or season, but on any day of the year.

Support Services for the Homeless

Interaction with Homeless Persons

© 2013 Janis Leslie Evans

Comments

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on May 07, 2020:

Thank you, Leslie! So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading.

Leslie Robertson from Tennessee on May 07, 2020:

I love the 1st poem!

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 21, 2019:

I see your point. Maybe more often we should ask a homeless person, "What do you need," or "What can I get you?" You're right about how we cannot worry about what they will use money for if we give it to them. All we have control over is sincerely giving from the heart to help someone. And letting it go.Thanks for reading.

Mejustme on October 20, 2019:

I dont understand giving homeless people food stamps and. Then say you can not buy any food thats

hot and alresdy prepared . makes no since.

They are homeless , and have no place to cook food. So tbey can have a hot meal. So they usally end up buying junk food . I ask does this make any since ? It. Should be the other way around. Well it should not matter what they choose ti buy . But dont you tbink something hot or warm to eat is more nutrional..What is the logic behind no hot food? So many things need to change in our system. Starting with this.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on February 19, 2018:

It is a blessing, April, to be raised with compassion and unconditional regard for all. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your comment, glad you liked this hub.

April on February 19, 2018:

I love your hub. I see everyone as people first. I was raised in beautiful times in the country areas of the south, I naturally learned to see people as people no matter their level in life.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on April 17, 2015:

So nice of you to stop by, social thoughts. Thank you for the generous comment.

social thoughts from New York on April 17, 2015:

You write beautifully. I could cry. It is clear in your writing that you have dedicated a lot of time to helping these people. Keep up the good work! It is so very important!

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on November 25, 2014:

So well-stated, MarleneB. You've expressed my point exactly through your own experience and compassion. Thank you for visiting and liking this poem hub. These poems came from my observations and regular interactions with needy people, some homeless, at the breakfast ministry I run every other Saturday. When you develop relationships, it changes your perception and grows your compassion. Peace to you as you continue doling out acts of kindness.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on November 24, 2014:

Beautiful! Filled with compassion. There was a time when I thought people chose to be homeless until one day when I, myself was left without a home to live in. Now, I see homelessness and the people who are homeless in a totally different way. Sure, some people choose to be homeless, but some find themselves in that situation due to circumstances beyond their control. When I meet someone who is homeless, I greet them with the dignity you speak of. We never know when that one act of kindness will be the one act to make a positive difference in someone's life.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on November 24, 2014:

Thank you, pstraubie, glad you liked it. It's always a blessing to see you. I'm grateful for your visit, votes, and sharing.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 24, 2014:

Giving a voice to those who often do not get to use this media source is so important. I have walked this walk and know how lonely it can be. Janshares Shared and voted ++++

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on February 04, 2014:

Thank you!

LJ Scott from Phoenix, Az. on February 04, 2014:

Absolutely beautiful!!!!

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on November 22, 2013:

Chef-de-jour, thank you for that lovely combination of commentary and critique. I appreciate your visit and substantive comments. I was so surprised when this one received an EC as it does not fit what I thought was worthy of the accolade in terms of basic criteria. I'm so happy you liked it.

Andrew Spacey from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on November 22, 2013:

Compassion is the bedrock of all good. It helps us build bridges towards those who for many reasons, struggle with their lives, be it through mental illness or lack of opportunity. Practical aid is usually best for the homeless, in the shape of a coin or two or a phone call or a bite to eat.

Poetry can also help express compassion. It emerges as inner language - deep soul material - sparked by being in contact with, or at least being aware of those who find themselves homeless and often destitute.

Free verse is a wonderful way to capture responses on the street and in life generally. Line and length and rhythm combine, free of restrictions!

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 30, 2013:

Thanks, Jodah. I appreciate your taking the time to stop by.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on October 29, 2013:

Very worthy and well written hub Jan. I had to read it after the lovely comment you left on one of mine. your poetry is very descriptive and gets the message across clearly. Well done. Voted up.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on August 23, 2013:

Great comments, Bishop55. Thank you for sharing, glad you liked this hub.

Rebecca from USA on August 22, 2013:

I love the photo you added to this hub. That mans eyes look like they have many stories. Homelessness is a hard topic for me, mainly because I' have worked very hard my entire life for what I have. When I see a person capable of working and not, I get mad about it. However, I know this is narrow minded because a lot of homeless people are mentally ill, so although they appear healthy, their brains often are not. When I worked in downtown Cleveland, I often gave them food and a few bucks when I had cash on me, I also donate household items as often as possible. This is a great hub to remind humans to be compassionate and love thy neighbor.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on August 06, 2013:

Thank you.

W1totalk on August 06, 2013:

Great writing.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on July 05, 2013:

That is a good thing. I think the particular politics, policies, and culture of a country contribute to homelessness. So we won't see it as bad everywhere. Thanks for your comments.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 05, 2013:

I would feel bad if I saw a homeless person and don't see them as different people but so in Croatia we don't have homeless people I haven't seen one around, or any kids begging on the streets.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on June 18, 2013:

You're so right, PHILLYDREAMER. Thank you for reading and sharing your experience and insight.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on June 18, 2013:

You're welcome, Abby. Thank you for reading and liking.

Jose Velasquez from Lodi, New Jersey on June 18, 2013:

When I look at a homeless person, I see myself in them. I see what could happen to me if my life followed a different path. I used to play chess in the park a lot, and I had the experience of meeting a lot of these men. They weren't homeless for lack of intelligence, they each had a different story. The most common thread was a desire for a freedom that a normal life couldn't provide.

Dr Abby Campbell from Charlotte, North Carolina on June 18, 2013:

Thank you for a great share, Jan. Beautiful poems! Sharing awareness is so needed. :-)

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on June 17, 2013:

Aw, thanks, Sheri Faye. I'm happy to be a poetic voice for the homeless. I appreciate your comments and your visit.

Sheri Dusseault from Chemainus. BC, Canada on June 17, 2013:

Beautiful! There by the grace of God and all that. I always wonder "what is your story?" when I see these people. Thank you for your compassion...the world needs people like you.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on June 17, 2013:

Your comments mean a lot, Gypsy Rose Lee. It is a worldwide issue, compassion is the key. Thank you so much for your visit, votes, and for sharing.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on June 17, 2013:

Hi Kasman. The story you share warms my heart as well. Thank you for your kind comments, voting, and especially sharing this important hub. I appreciate it.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on June 17, 2013:

Voted up and awesome. The homeless should be treated with dignity. We never know what life might bring. When I can I am kind and understanding. We seem to have more and more homeless every day here in Riga, Latvia. This was truly compassionate. Passing this on.

Kas from Bartlett, Tennessee on June 17, 2013:

Janshares, this is such a heartfelt reminder of the love we are to share as Christ followers. It also reminds me of when I was in Brazil, when my team and I made over 120 sandwiches to pass out to the homeless late at night in Sao Paulo. It warmed our hearts to see the joy they had of the revelation that someone cared about them. Voting this up. Sharing!

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on May 11, 2013:

Thanks for sharing your experiences with me, Marcy. It can be heartbreaking indeed. You are spot on about how life is lived in "chunks" for them. I'm so glad you shared these comments, grateful that you found this hub touching.

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on May 11, 2013:

This is so touching. You capture the emotions well, and the points about being aware of our own perceptions are so important. A church I used to attend was involved in the local lunch program for 'street people.' We have quite a few in our area, because the climate is moderate, and this is a fairly accepting city. During the times I worked in the lunch program, it was painful to see that those we were serving would not make eye contact. My heart broke for what they must have experienced. We treated everyone with consideration and love, and we had a clothing closet in the church that helped give them warm sweaters or coats, or just a clean outfit.

Our church handled the program on Saturdays, and it was also heartwarming to see that all the other nearby churches participated. Each day, lunch was offered at a different location. At least we knew they had one nutritious meal each day. And then they had to get by to the next day. Life is lived in daily or even hourly chunks for this population.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on February 21, 2013:

So true, great comments. Those circumstances are a lot of the time related to mental illness, substance abuse, unemployment, and losing a home. Getting proper help is so hard when resources are scarce. Thank you for stopping by and may God continue to bless you.

graceinus from those of the Ekklesia on February 21, 2013:

Janshares- This is a wonderful Hub. There are many who say that most homeless are there by choise. But I don't believe that. I think there are many who are homeless by situations or circumstances beyound their cotrol. There are even situations where a whole family are out on the streets. It would take much effort if more people would join together and help these people. God created us to give and share with others. There is no reason for anyone to have lack. And I'm not talking about just in American, I'm talking world wide. God created this world to hold far more than 7 billion people. And I'm sure He did do that just to see some of them starve or sleep under a bridge.

Great Hub and God bless Voted up and awesome

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on February 19, 2013:

True dat, Breatheeasy3. It is about perspective, isn't it? I appreciate your thoughtful comment. Thanks for stopping by.

Breatheeasy3 from USA on February 19, 2013:

Thank you for bringing light to this. My interactions, conversations and observations of the homeless over the years has truly led me to believe that, hey....it is perhaps those free spirits that have the most freedom.

We often take our lives for granted, chase things that keep us enslaved to secular life, but the resolve of those without these worries are truly free to me. In mind and spirit, even though our face-value judgment states otherwise.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on February 04, 2013:

Nice stories, Poetic. Sounds like a great hub :-) Thank you for reading this one. I appreciate it.

Leanna Stead from North Carolina, United States on February 04, 2013:

This is lovely. I lived in Massachusetts for for a while -- I worked in Boston. I had a couple of friends among the homeless, one of whom I gave living space for a time until he could find a job and a place of his own. I asked him later whether it felt odd to him, and he said it did. I hope he's doing well.

Every single person we meet is instrumental -- J. (I'd rather not use the whole name) helped me understand perspectives I'd never considered. Years later I met a music man on the street and wrotea poem for him -- he was homeless by choice, traveling with his closest friends and living under a bridge. He gave me an address to send mail, and I sent it, but I've not heard from him or J. at all. Even so, they are both inspirational to me.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 29, 2013:

I'm grateful you stopped by, C.S.Alexis. So glad you liked it and can relate by way of your own experience. Thank you for your comments.

C.S.Alexis from NW Indiana on January 29, 2013:

I am Thankful that you wrote this Jan. I worked a couple weeks in a soup kitchen, poor side of Chicago...made me open my eyes for sure. I think it would serve up many a good lessons for people to volunteer a couple weeks in the soup kitchens of America.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 14, 2013:

Thank you for sharing your story and reading the article. I wish you the best.

Alice on January 14, 2013:

I was homeless. It can happen to ANYONE. I come from an upper middle class background in Germany. My grandfather was a director for a major German steel concern. He was the only one who loved me. Except my mother who was a physiotherapist all of my family members (including my grandmother) had a university degree. I was the bastard child. Despite having had a decent upbringing my mother was what she was, a woman who never evolved and never learned of her mistakes as well as extremely narcistic. She got pregnant by an African man, at the time medical student, part of the elite in his West African homecountry who first repetetdly tricked and raped her, then also psychologically took posession of her (he is a psychiatrist and neurologist with his own clinic in Germany by the way and none of his patients knows his true nature or personal life)

My grandparents had tried to intervene but had failed.

When my mother was pregnant, this African medical student who had conceived me tried to kill me while I was still in my mothers womb but my mother managed to escape and I survived.

My mother then became severely schizophrenic when I was 6 years old. I was blamed for everything by everybody and although I was an overachiever in school I ended up homeless. Things are getting better but I just wanted to say that homeless people most of the time simply have a bad story they couldn't cope with.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 12, 2013:

Thanks, I appreciate it. It's everywhere I guess, some places more than others.

freecampingaussie from Southern Spain on January 12, 2013:

We have this problem in Australia as well . Voting you up.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 09, 2013:

Thank you, AnnaCia. Your comments are very much appreciated.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 09, 2013:

Thank you, ikepius. You are correct, especially with common folk losing their homes in record numbers over the last decade or so. Thank you for stopping by and reading this hub.

AnnaCia on January 09, 2013:

janshares, What a wonderful hub!!!! How important is to have a home, and many take that for granted. I could be homeless so soon like a blink of my eyes, and don't even know it. Thank you for reminding your readers to give a hand. Voted up.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 09, 2013:

Yes, I agree, Jackwms. I'm happy that this hub triggered much heartfelt comments.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 09, 2013:

Thank you

@ikepius from Twittosphere: @ikepius on January 09, 2013:

I found this very timely. I feel like homelessness is on the rise. This is a good way of reminding us all. The homeless deserve some dignity!

Jackwms on January 09, 2013:

Again, this is a great hub, heartfelt and penetrating into one of the sad elements of our society. I also liked, very much, the comments from others (above), especially Curiad (who I follow). What a great idea about using foreclosed homes to provide housing, training, and work for the homeless.

Brian on January 09, 2013:

I voted this up and interesting. Excellent Hub!

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 09, 2013:

Thanks for sharing that, faythef, very disturbing. I hope they don't succeed. I'm glad you stopped by to read this hub.

Faythe Payne from USA on January 09, 2013:

Thank You for this hub....My heart is heavy for the homeless..The city I live in and other cities are trying to close our local food kitchen..in the hope that the homeless will go away....nobody wants them in their own backyard.....Why don't they spend more time trying to help rather than pretend they don't exist...

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 09, 2013:

Oh my, what a beautiful comment. I appreciate that so much and thanks for sharing :-)

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 09, 2013:

Thank you much, JThomp :-)

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on January 09, 2013:

You are a beautiful soul and I am sharing this hub. I was raised to never judge anyone, especially do to circumstances.

My parents always reminded us kids "There but for the Grace of God, go I."

Help when you can, provide a smile, treat all with respect until they give you goodreason not to.

JThomp42 on January 09, 2013:

Awesome hub my friend! Voted up and awesome and shared.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 08, 2013:

That's great to know that you have a youth group involved. Thank you, Matt. And thanks for the Twitter follow :-)

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on January 08, 2013:

Bless you for this. The San Francisco Food Bank has an excellent program that give one a very real glimpse of being homeless which my masonic youth participated in every year.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 08, 2013:

Thank you kindly, Jackwms. Your visit and comments are very much appreciated.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 08, 2013:

You're welcome. billybuc. I see that you understand from your own unique experience. I'm pleased that you approve. Thank you for reading this special hub.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 08, 2013:

Thank you, SoundNFury. Thank you for your votes, glad you came by.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 08, 2013:

Thank you Curiad. It's wonderful to hear what you are doing to make a difference. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comments.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 08, 2013:

Thank you for writing this Jan! I was homeless once; people just don't understand that hard times can happen to anyone at any time. I appreciate the way you handled this subject.

Michael Valencia from Los Angeles, CA on January 08, 2013:

Great hub. Far too often, we let our fears and prejudices color the way we see the homeless and how we treat them. Voted up and beautiful!

Curiad on January 08, 2013:

This is wonderful Jan. I am working on a concept to create a program to utilize foreclosed homes to provide the homeless with shelter, training and work. It is a huge undertaking, but worth the effort I hope, Mark

Jackwms on January 08, 2013:

This is a wonderful hub. How can we not feel compassion for these fellow human beings, who but for a few blinks of time, could have been any one of us? Who wants to to be homeless, penniless, without hope, or family, friends, or a future of any kind? Alcohol and drugs are nothing more than a means of deadening the pain from within. Can't we please help in some way?