COVID'S Broken Souls
A VIEW OF THE IMPACT OF COVID ON THE HOMELESS.
Broken Souls linger on the cold streets, looking for a place to sleep. Pain is their reality, life is but a dream. Hopelessness and despair are ever present demons.
Slumber is not an escape from the demons that haunt such broken souls. Hunger makes slumber next to impossible. The pain comes back even after exhaustion takes over. Food for the body is just as hard to obtain as food for the soul for the broken souls that have no place to call home.
Broken souls walk the empty streets, that used to see the hussle and bustle of thousands of people a day. A little change for just a cup of coffee is harder to come by these days. The train is an escape if just for a moment from the blistering cold winds. It has been almost a year since these broken souls could seek shelter in the warmth of a fast food place, or rest inside the warmth of the public places in the cold until they closed. Life is harder now. Relief is so far away. Diginity has been stripped away in so many ways for those that have no place to stay.
Shelter in Place they said, easier done with you have a home in which to stay. Social distancing is a pipe dream when you sleep in a shelter, so on the streets is safer to avoid the COVID beast. The Governor did not consider, how to shelter in place those without a shelter. Close the businesses, close the schools, close the library, close everything non-essential, yet what is not essential to those with a shelter is the shelter for those with one. The libary allowed for warmth, bathroom access and access to drinking water from the fountain. An escape from the cold or heat was granted even if it was just from 9am - 5pm but it was something.
A fast food chain gave shelter, a bathroom and a place to eat what food that could be afforded. Now to eat, you got to take it, and go home, but those with out a home huddle on the street trying to eat before it gets cold.
Their souls were not broken before COVID, it was a bit more bearable but COVID has taken its toll on the homeless. Unsheltered, and without consideration from those who told everyone to just go home. We sit in our homes, with plenty to eat, some of us working from home. We do not consider those that have no place to call home. Our commute was their chance to get money to eat. Any kindness we showed was their chance to have a bit more bearable life until the time came to look for a place to fall asleep. They now wander the streets struggling more than every before as we shelter in place without a consideration to their suffering and pain.
COVID is a beast, but so are the ones that can not consider that the homeless need consideration in all of this as they suffer beyond our wildest dreams. Their escapes are closed. Their ability cope is growing harder with each passing day. No address makes it hard to get help, no place to get warm or escape the heat makes dying more likely. No place to use the bathroom strips away diginty. No access to water to drink is deadly, and yet no a soul makes a peep. Grocery stores are open but the water fountains have been shut off. COVID precautions say they are not safe, but neither is dehydration for those with a tap to get water to drink. COVID precautions say no gathering in building as it is not safe, but the homeless need a place to stay the Chicago cold is unforgiving and hypothermia is not safe either.
The homeless are faced with a damned if you do and a damned if they help us fate. How hard can it be to shelter everyone in places to call home? Why is so hard to see human value for everyone and ensure the most basic of needs are being met? We did not have to allow the homeless to look like broken souls lingering on the streets with no place to call home. We can provide homes, needs can be met. We refuse however from a part of our souls that are more broken than the looks upon the faces of those struggling to make it in the COVID world and no place to call home.