I wish I had the answers, too | SummitDaily.com

I wish I had the answers, too

Catherine LaTerre

RE: “Beggars and Bums” story by Gary Lindstrom, June 13, 2002 issue.

This commentary on the sorry state of affairs of some people in Summit County and elsewhere, as written by Mr. Lindstrom, made me feel both very sad and simultaneously filled with disgust. Not for the faceless, nameless people Mr. Lindstrom described in his article, but for the obvious lack of human compassion and flagrant “holier-than-thou” attitude conveyed in his writing.

I can speak from experience that one is much closer to living on the street these days than one would realize. I lost my job in the fall of 2000, and in spite of 15 interviews for positions in my field (I am a middle-level government employee with a master’s degree), I received no offers. I had to sell my house in Denver and take on $10/hour service industry jobs just to survive. In September, I moved to Summit County to take a job at a local restaurant, figuring it would be no worse than doing the same in Denver. I lived in the Holiday Inn for a month while looking for a rental unit that accepted pets (I have 2 search and rescue labs). The only rental space I found was in an office building with no shower, for $800/month, with thankfully, no deposit required, since I had no money to spare beyond the rent.

I sold all of my jewelry (purchased value: $3000; sold for under $500 at the local gem store) trying to scrap enough money together to make my car payments; however, my car was repossessed. I took the bus to work or rode my bike. In November I was laid off due to lack of business. I nearly ran out of food and the thought of begging on a street corner actually did cross my mind. I had no phone to follow up on job prospects. I had no place to take a shower. No one was hiring S do you get the picture?

I agree, some “homeless” people put on an act in order to elicit sympathy in the form of donations. And it is disconcerting to give someone a $5 bill to see him or her turn around and head for the liquor store. However, there is much, much more one can do that is far more productive and benefiting to society than to lament, “I wish I has an answer to this problem S I wish.”

Think about it. It could be you.

Catherine LaTerre


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