The first book I read was Rachel and Her Children, by Jonathan Kozol. The author created an image in the readers mind of the harsh circumstances and living conditions of todays homeless families. Through his personal encounters and interviews with these families he dramatizes the effects of the living conditions on the psychological and physical health of the homeless, especially the children and pregnant women. The author thought it seemed almost contradictory to call these people “homeless”. Todays society has the common belief that the homeless are all alike and stereotype them as a drunken poor bum who is too lazy to work. Yet on page 57, Mr. Allesandro, a homeless person, clearly states: “I would do anything if I could have a decent job.”
Its not only the lives of the unemployed adults that are affected but also the lives of their children. The stories of the lack of education afforded them, along with the unbearable living conditions makes me wonder why such innocent people are not given a chance in life. The author, on page 90, states “we are creating a diseased, distorted, uneducated and malnourished generation of children who will grow into the certainty of an unemployable adulthood.” Thinking of this statement, I feel our society doesnt realize that the homelessness problem of the present is only going to hurt future generations. The President seems to be giving the public the idea that government spending on the homeless is being used the best possible way, when in truth, cities spend more money to keep the homeless in the hotels then if they lived in regular apartments. And why dont we question the President on how he is spending money to store surplus food? He defends the money allocated by Congress to transport food when in fact the transportation of food costs less than its storage. Without giving you a complete summary of the book I am still left pondering over one personal issue I cant figure out. Reading these terrible but truthful facts I feel morally obligated to help. Although if I were to actually walk through the city, I would still feel that the further I stay away from the homeless, the more I feel in my “safety zone” or “comfort zone”. Its the sad but undeniable truth I must admit to you. I applaud Jonathan Kozol for writing about these issues which created a whole new image of todays society for me.