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Slipping through the cracks

The BBC News website ran an article today about a woman who has been homeless and living in her car for the last six months or so but has been blogging at the same time and giving voice to her experience.

Despite her obvious lack of comfort with asking for donations via PayPal, WS has recently set up a facility and I would encourage you to visit her site and help her on her way if you can.

Some of the comments on her own site from readers and, indeed, the BBC article call attention to her obvious gifts, her intelligence and previous life wondering how this could have happened. But surely that has the subtext to it that certain people are more likely or even deserving of such a fate than others? I find it rather crass to pursue that line of thought. Homelessness happens for all kind of reasons and in all kinds of circumstances. The stereotypical unwashed drunk or crazy bag lady may be visible and real examples in our society but they are not the total population of the homeless by any means. It is always more complicated than that.

What I find really sad is that WS could have slipped through the cracks of our society so easily. I value the personal freedom and inviduality that our cultural structures now almost demand us to exercise. However, without friends, family – some kind of social network – WS’ story just demonstrates how easy it is to become lost and invisible.

The cleaners at the hospital where she sneaks in to take a shower barely register her, a slightly creepy man in the canteen pays more attention and she bumps into an old acquaintance from eight years ago on the steps of a church. But for the most part, she goes about her daily life invisible.

She’s obviously not happy with talking about her situation at the moment and does all she can to hide it but I pray that, if no-one else does, the church where she has increasingly been spending time recently are able to wrap some metaphorical arms around her and help her out of the layby in which she finds herself.

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