Walking the streets of downtown Denver, the unmistakeable sights remind me why I love this city. Coors Field, Elitch’s (from a distance), the cash register building and Union Station. Some may also be aware of a little nook around Lawrence and Park Avenue West where the neon lights shine bright. Here, at a place called Jesus Saves, the local street folk live from day-to-day.
Homelessness, like the appendix, has become an accepted part of the human condition. Sometimes it can be cut out should conditions become too inflamed but, for the most part, people either do as they see fit to ease the condition or ignore the situation entirely.
However, dealing with these conditions on a public scale is a different matter. When our leaders call for states to begin accepting homeless refugees from halfway around the world, I must take pause to wonder why no call has been made for the states to refugee-ize the current homeless population? A few other questions persist as well…
Where are the refugees actually going? Where are these vacant dwellings that suddenly become available in the state of Colorado when out-of-country-ers need a place to stay? The resources that the refugees will consume, and the tenements that they will occupy must be supplied by those in the state of Colorado and the greater United States. So why are officials dictating how we ought to deal with the foreign homeless problem when there’s one right down the street, with no end in sight?
There’s no bombs going off but gunshots do ring out and some will die because of those bullets. People freeze, they drink, they shoot up and sleep, and it would be hard for me to honestly say that I don’t believe that the lives of those living around the Jesus Saves are not regularly at risk.
So, make with the housing, the food and the medical supplies that are currently on reserve!
It isn’t that there should be no refuge for the weak and weary or those attempting to flee the hell-on-Earth that exists in parts of the Middle East. But when there are Denver-ites, and by extension Americans, who are apparently without, why is there no active movement to assist on par with what’s been done in response to Syria? The likes of the governors and our presidential brother’s keeper should be all over this. Right now, calls should be ringing out for all states to allow those living on the streets to come in from the cold to the apparently safeguarded refugee hideaways. The food, clothing, tools, EBT cards, medical care etc. that is being evaluated for any foreign refugee could be immediately directed to any street person currently living in the United States and preferential treatment will be given to those who can show a history of any military service.
Here is a story from CNN with the best layout of the refugee process that I could find. It’s not a very clear road ahead and I find it quite intriguing that the UN is the directorial body on such events, presumably subordinating the United States to any decree regarding the where-to’s and how-to-fore’s of the refugee process. Such bureaucratic olive-branching maintains the status quo of obscure policy-making and enforcement on such economic and social issues.
Meanwhile, the promise of the Lord keeps the streets alight at night in Denver, Colorado.