Some of you may have followed the story of a Boston homeless man. Glen James that finds a backpack with money and travellers cheques worth nearly $42,000 and hands it over to the police http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-boston-homeless-man-reward-20130919,0,4947392.story. The gesture prompted the police of Boston to honour the man and to hail his honesty. This remarkable event made a great impression on a marketing accounts manager, Ethan Whittington of Virginia. He wanted to do something for Glen James and set up a campaign to raise fundings for him http://www.gofundme.com/4by2as. The campaign has had a widespread support. The story is remarkable. But what I find even more remarkable and touching are these words which Glen James has written on the go fund pages.:
“On a serious note; I don’t think there is a real cure for the multiple of homeless people, because their problems go far beyond a simple lack of housing, but the problems of the homeless could be managed far better.
There really isn’t much difference between homeless and non-homeless people as we would like to think, but you would only find that out if you couldn’t make next months rent and truly have no where to go, but the streets… ”
In my view these two phrases touch various and important aspects on the issue of homelessness. On one level the argument is directed to policy makers and so there is the suggestions that the issue needs to be tackle in a better way. I am not a policy maker and I don’t have at hand all the knowledge and the complexity of this issue, but as a photographer working on a project on people living in transitional state and marginal living as homeless, I have learned that there is definitely a need to reach out to those in housing difficulty in a more tangible way. The other level that Glen is mentioning is directed to us. There is a need to look at our stereotyped ideas that we have on homeless people. And it goes even deeper, because today the gap between homeless and non homeless are not great. These words remind us that first and foremost a homeless person is just as everyone else.