Having to rely on people can be quite hard, especially when the people that could be willing to help you also have to possess the combination of a caring heart and cash money. The latter being something that most people don’t have anymore, since they use their cards for payments instead. This is rather convenient and practical but there is also a layer in this same society that funds their place to sleep with it, the homeless. Not long ago, I met a man in Rotterdam. He asked me for a little something I could miss and gave me his story in return and it has kept me thinking ever since.
There is definitely a stigma surrounding the homeless. The idea generally is that these people do drugs and somehow don’t
want to get out of their current situation. But why do we think that? Why do we even consider the idea that someone wants to sleep outside when it’s practically freezing? Why do we assume without asking a person who’s actually living it? The man I recently spoke with told me what he went through the past days, how he was struggling with being homeless and not having a place to sleep nor finding the money he needed for that night. I’m quite sure that this man didn’t sleep in a warm bed that night. He was short on quite a few euros and all the money he did earn went straight into paying of his debt, the reason why he is now homeless. He hopes that he can quickly get his life back on track but considering the circumstances, I doubt that it’ll happen any time soon.
Other information he shared was that there is a shortage of beds for the about 31 thousand homeless in the Netherlands (CBS, 2016). Besides that, they are also tied to the city where they are registered which means that there is no point in going to another city to try and find a bed, they’ll easily send you back. Stuck in a system, city and circle. Imagine what it’s like to live like that. To never know when this part of life will end and having to ask other people for money, a barely respected act. Considering that we seem to be willing to go well out of our way to help refugees and others in need, why don’t we help the ones in need around us? The ones we can come across on a daily base when living in a city?
”the people that could be willing to help you also have to possess the combination of a caring heart and cash money.”
I’d like to challenge you to let go of the labels you may stick on the homeless. Treat them with respect and perhaps take the time to listen to their story, they’re just as human as you are after all. Don’t let their attire scare you away. And if you feel like it, give the man or woman a euro and talk for a bit. It could be quite a fair deal. In my experience you can gain interesting knowledge in exchange for a few coins or a candy bar, the kind of wisdom you can’t get from books. Let your kindness be evident to all, also to the ones who don’t experience such a thing every day.
CBS. (2016). Aantal daklozen in zes jaar met driekwart toegenomen. Retrieved on April 19, 2017, from https://www.cbs.nl/nl-nl/nieuws/2016/09/aantal-daklozen-in-zes-jaar-met-driekwart-toegenomen