I’m looking at finding other work. (I work at a large Canadian homeless shelter.) Aside from all the stress of the violence and other life and death stuff that happens there, I'm just sick of looking after people who have no interest in making changes in their own lives, or toward respecting what our social service system is meant for. Tonight, for example, was mostly spent dealing with belligerent drunk people who did nothing but heap verbal abuse on me and my co-workers while we were trying to help them. This goes on and on every night with the same individuals. What’s more shocking is that they get government money every week simply for staying in a shelter, supposedly for personal needs like soap, toothpaste, shampoo, etc except that they get it for free from us so the money allocated inevitably goes on alcohol and drugs, which of course causes further problems in the way of behavioural issues, police, ambulances and court costs. Talk about society paying to cause problems for itself I suppose, self-defeating as it is.
Another guy tonight took up nearly half an hour of my time demanding to stay at our shelter (simply because his friend was staying there) when he already had a bed at another shelter just around the block. Meanwhile there were 7 people behind him who had no bed anywhere that I needed to find a way to accommodate when I was already close to full and, as it was, couldn’t take all of them, on a night when it is cold and pouring rain to boot. Is it just me or there something wrong with this picture? Where do people such as this guy get the idea that you can pick and choose between shelters when we are supposed to be an emergency service? I wouldn't make such a big thing out of this person if it didn't happen all the time with others as well. To me it proves that there is a perverse sense of entitlement in this country from the top down to the very bottom. I hate to sound conservative since I am not but there is something deeply wrong with this picture when even the poorest among us can't tell the difference between what is a need and a want. My repeating line is that some of these guys could benefit from a trip to somewhere less privileged in the world in order to appreciate how valuable a safe place to sleep is in and of itself. As someone who’s been to such places I can attest that they wouldn’t last a minute. Anyways sorry for my rant. It’s just how I’m feeling right now.
Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.