Even the dog is reluctant to go out. As I zipped my jacket and pulled my hat down nearly covering my eyes, a nasty little voice in my head said, “To think I used to ski in this weather. And not hesitate about it.”
Perhaps I’m more sensitive now. Or more sensible. Or just more realistic.
Each time we go out, Angus does what he has to do and runs back toward the door. I’m more than a little grateful to feel the warmth of the heat and I wonder how anyone living on the Streets of Anchorage survives even one winter night.
Alaska uses the phrase “chronic inebriates” to define a large segment of the homeless population. This colloquialism dismisses the human being. Instead of examining the complexity of the individual situation, it is easier to view drunkenness as a character flaw and deem the person unworthy of compassion.
That person struggling to survive as I dash back inside my warm house deserves a better life. I can’t provide for everyone. But every time I hear a homeless person described as a walking inebriate, lazy or worthless, I will speak out.
Homelessness is a symptom of a chronically ill society. We continue to struggle toward a cure and many services are available to help those in need. Perhaps one day there will be enough, highly individualized, services and homelessness will be a thing of the past.
Many compassionate people are working toward that goal. To learn about area services, check out Alaska 211. Sharing information about available resources is often the best way to help someone begin building a better life.