Every month, thousands of homeless women are placed in a crisis situation when they get their periods. From dealing with infections to being unable to purchase sanitary supplies, keeping safe and clean isn’t easy on the streets.
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One day while walking around Shinjuku, a major hub for government and business in Tokyo, Japan, I noticed a shelter built by a homeless man. It looked semi-permanent, but more importantly, had solar panels on it. I thought this was very different than the homeless I encountered in my former city of Vancouver, Canada, so I started to investigate homelessness in Japan.
I was lucky enough to interview Professor Tom Gill, who has researched homelessness and other societal issues in Japan for many years.
This is part 1 of a series of videos I’m making about the homeless in Japan. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave in the comments. Thanks for watching.
VIEW PART 2 https://youtu.be/-9RgkZebW1s
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→ UN Drug Use and Health Consequences Data – https://data.unodc.org/#state:38
→ Yakuza by apes_abroad – http://flickr.com/photos/apes_abroad/514272781/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3423064
→ Horse Racing – By Guilhem Vellut from Tokyo, Japan – Horse racing @ Tokyo Race Course @ Fuchu, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37285704
→ Pachinko By Tischbeinahe – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12746666
→ U.S. Marine Corps By Sgt. Christopher R. Rye – Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20718647
→ Deinstitutialisation – https://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/MMHC-Country-Press-Note-Japan.pdf
→ Care in the Community – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/229517.stm
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Rachel Dolezal refuses to apologize for living her life as a black woman.
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Martyn Andrews investigates a growing concern that “invisible” homeless people are sleeping in cars to avoid the dangerous streets.
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I am still reading today, but when I look up now it is to glare at the gargantuan American flag that hovers over an abandoned Humvee and hundreds of homeless people lying on rows of thin foam mats. A scoff escapes amidst this star spangled hypocrisy. I didn’t recall all this poverty being in the Baby Boomer brochure, and I wanted a refund.
My job at “The Armory” is to help the families. Night after night I witness fresh families walking through the doors with a different version of the same unspoken thought: how did I get here? Their expressions are tapestries of human emotion, weaving every facial fiber into silk-screens of denial to puffy curtains of despair to elegant robes of optimism. I have wiped away tears while playing mom, dad, sister, brother, son, daughter, and grandparent to one if not all who’ve sat before me. Their stories defy fiction and deserve cinematic and literary contribution, but instead I will send them off to a motel where they and their families will at least have a roof and a chance to climb out of what is anything but a fictional situation.
Where did they all come from? Everywhere. I’ve met families who have never been homeless a day in their lives; some have literally been forced to abandon everything the night they walk in to see me, their belongings stuffed into their cars for an uncertain journey and an even more uncertain future. Others have lived this type of transient existence since childhood: roaming from one motel, friend’s house, family member’s apartment, jail cell, hospital, church program, shelter, and street corner to another. They’ve known nothing else and have either never had the opportunities to improve or had no desire to do so. A few are obviously homeless, while others seem more stable than you. It is certain, however, that as the economy worsens, those that you call neighbors, friends, and family might enter through these doors.
The kids are the hardest. Babies in broken strollers, toddlers in rags, and teenagers dawning third-hand donations are the truest travesties. Some are aware of their predicament while others innocently play and laugh in blissful ignorance. It doesn’t take much to make them smile, but it can make all the difference. Oddly enough, many have cell phones, but when life can pack up and move within an afternoon, a phone will help insure the lambs are not left behind. I’ve met the sharpest little girls and boys destined for greatness should they be given the chance, and I’ve attempted to understand the unique struggles of their youth but realistically can only barely comprehend a glimpse. Their lives are a test of unconventional savvy and smarts, an obstacle that can shackle them to the system or liberate their potential to unknown heights.
My job is to help them help themselves; my goal is to make them laugh. A human being can suffer unspeakable hardships but rise again and conquer a new day as long as there is laughter close behind. I sense a glimmer of hope and happiness despite the inevitable sorrows. It can be found beneath the footsteps of a man dancing a clumsy jig for a crowd of gap-toothed spectators; in the music of the slow but persistent slides of canes and cripples; the high-five of a five year old; the warmth of circles where street stories are traded with smiles and plastic bags are bartered among friends; and in the aroma of a hot meal steaming with gratitude. The high-flying flag is false, but its authentic spirit soars beyond its duplicity. The American people have historically defined themselves by their houses, so who are we when those four walls disappear? America has uprooted for unknown frontiers in search of a new shelter to store its dreams. Let us build it together.
Chris Ponzi is a Case Manager helping homeless families for Mercy House, a non-profit organization devoted to preventing and ending the growing homelessness in Orange County that receives many families on exodus. He is also a recent Literature Graduate from UCLA and a freelance journalist.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been going on for a very long time now. And, other wars like World War II, Vietnam and Korea that happened long before I was born. Veterans come back from these wars and they have a hard time fitting in again to the world we live in and some end up on the streets as homeless veterans. This is a big problem and it’s getting bigger as the war goes on. Because so many of the homeless veterans come from poor families to begin with, there are not enough support systems in place for them when they get home.
In case you were wondering about why homeless veterans are such an important topic, 23% of homeless people are veterans according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. They also say that 76% of these veterans have drug, alcohol and mental health problems. This means that most of them cannot help themselves even if they want to because they are having such a hard time. It may seem like a really huge problem and that you can’t do enough to help because you’re only one person and don’t have unlimited money and time. But you’re wrong. There are some very cheap, easy things you can do to make a big difference in the life of a homeless veteran and show them your gratitude for their service. Four of these include: -Hygiene kits – These are easy and cheap to assemble. Homeless people don’t have what they need to stay clean and assembling hygiene kits with basic items like soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush and shaving items can make a big difference for someone with nowhere to live. Keep them in your glove compartment and give them out as you see homeless people.
-Make sense of your spare change – It’s just collecting dust in your house, so why not collect all that spare change and donate it to a veterans’ homeless shelter or use it to buy hygiene-kit items?
-Say “hello’ – Most homeless people are almost always harmless. They’re also lonely and sad and wish someone would notice them. Even if you can’t do anything else, a simple “hello” can mean a lot to someone with nothing.
-Last and certainly not least, if you see homeless veterans say “Thank you for your service.” To all those that have served and that are currently serving our wonderful country, thank you so much for your service.
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Stealing From The Homeless Video:http://youtu.be/jUg4Wkty_E4
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I wasn’t expecting to get this kind of footage… to be honest, I thought this video would be more an exposing homeless people video at first. But I’m so glad that I could witness and capture such a beautiful moment. This has to be one of the most amazing experience so far on this channel. I did not only just help a homeless man, but I actually met an incredible human being and a friend. We were following him for a couple miles for almost an hour or so. Later that day we took him out to eat and got him a hotel to stay. The more I talk to him, the more I sense how genuine he is…. I gave him my number and told him to call me when he needs help. This again proof that not all the homeless people are bad people. Never judge a book by its cover. One love! 🙂
Thanks to Cody for filming this “How Does A Homeless Man Spend 0?” and check out his videos:
✌ If you like “How Does A Homeless Man Spend 0?”, you might also like “Homeless Veteran Gives Back!”:
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