On March 1, 1999, I moved into the District after spending 11 years in New York. While sitting with your “Deconstructing Stephanie” (4/30) issue in my lap, I told a friend that one of the best things about moving to the District is that I felt I could afford to “care” again—meaning there are so many homeless people in New York that you can easily pass 50 to 100 per day, all asking for anything from spare change to food. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the resources to give to all, nor the time to figure out if they were truly in need.

Reality check, people. You live in a city where homelessness is an issue. Do something about it. If there were enough assistance in place for all the Stephanies, Teresas, Johns, Marys, etc., you wouldn’t have to worry about anyone knocking on your door.

I’ve yet to hear one person speculate about what brings Stephanie to people’s doors. Is it food, clothing, her children, drugs….Any or all or none may be true, but the fact that she’s reaching out says she is in need of assistance.

Is pulling money out of your pocket an indication of care? Did anyone say, “Let me drive you to the hospital” or “Let me call an ambulance; you don’t need to be alone,” or was the indication “Here’s a few dollars—now leave my home”?

If you’re going to tell everyone in the District how much of a caring and generous person you are, then take control over your life and your home and make a decision on whether you’re going to give from your heart and not worry about whether or not you’re being taking advantage of. Or be the self-centered, uncaring individual that most of you “victims” appear to be and just say no and take comfort in the fact that not only were you not swindled out of anything, but you turned your back on the possibility that someone actually needed help.

Last, but certainly not least, I hope the District of Columbia never experiences what having a true homeless problem is. I’m sure you folks on Capital Hill know what I’m speaking of…stepping over people sleeping in the subway, not being able to go sit in the park because people are sleeping on the benches, seeing children with bare feet in the middle of winter when you’re wrapped from head to toe and still cold! A great idea is: Instead of having Stephanie on the front page, talk about what you’re going to do to address financial, medical, educational, and housing needs in the District. Give from your heart or don’t give!


via the Internet