Home for the Holidays …
For the majority of us “home” is a warm and welcoming word … filled with feelings of love, gratitude, and pleasure. (And could also have us practicing our most magnanimous manners to ignore any family or friends’ angst from the rest of the year.)
It doesn’t much matter if it’s a sprawling ranch, a gilded city penthouse, a boat in the harbor, an urban condo, a crowded apartment building, a modest single-story abode, or a …
SALTBOX (sôltʹbäksʹ) n. – 1) a box for salt, with a sloping lid; 2) a house, as in colonial New England, shaped somewhat like this, having two stories in front and one at the rear, and a gable roof with a much longer slope at the rear. [WW #89]
“Home” might not be so largely detailed as a saltbox—it could be nothing more than a room in a stranger’s house. But if that ten-by-ten space holds you, your possessions, and your memories, it’s home.
Appreciating your saltbox, whatever its connotation, occurs more often this time of year; but for an alarmingly growing population, “home” is a painful and elusive term.
Seniors. The Voice of San Diego recently reported, “National studies predict further increases in senior homelessness. The National Alliance to End Homelessness, a D.C.-based policy group, has estimated the senior homeless population could rise 33 percent nationally between 2010 and 2020 – and more than double by 2050.”
In San Diego, just reported as the 16th best run city in the country, the issue has already exploded. Says the Voice, “The number of adults over 55 living on streets countywide more than doubled from 2015 to 2016 – and the problem is only expected to get worse.”
I challenge our local government to show just how well it’s run—take steps NOW to significantly decrease this trend before the next big economic downturn. (Ya-all know, there is always another around the corner—it’s just a matter of when.)
Of course, homelessness is a horrendous issue for all ages; but following the Great Recession, Seniors are especially vulnerable. Too many lost jobs and more than our share, kicked out of the workforce. Coupled with age-related medical issues, exacerbated by living on the streets, creates a double-whammy.
What can you do to help a homeless Senior where you live?
Scroll below for a list of organizations helping Seniors in San Diego. Look for branches in your area, and local organizations that work with your city, county, and state agencies. Connect with your elected officials. Develop a way for your business or community to help homeless Seniors.
It isn’t all about dollars—and don’t just talk about it. Volunteer, donate goods, help organize, or simply spread the word to those who can make a difference. The more who take up the mantle for Seniors in need, the fewer will be homeless for the Holidays.
Remember, adrift Seniors were once you—with family, friends, and a home. Life happens.
Everyone deserves a Home for the Holidays. It doesn’t have to be a saltbox or a castle. A room will do.
Word Challenge: SALTBOX. Don’t let someone’s saltbox be a cardboard box on the street. Help. And tell the world how, as you fit saltbox into your week of homey Holiday writings.
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