Homeless reader responds to ‘The Real Plight of the Homeless told by the Homeless’


Editor’s note: Don Blumenthal comments on the Mike Zint story, ‘The Real Plight of the Homeless Told by the Homeless’ in the April, 2017 edition of the People’s Tribune. Don says it is the “closest I’ve found to my own experience homeless, and what I’ve written. Who cares what happens here and why we ended up here? Forgotten or abandoned . . . it’s all the same . . . devastating to the mind, body, and the spirit.”

By Don Blumenthal

It’s back to the Dirt for Don. Things change fast when compassion fades and contempt sets in. We hope, at least I hope, that my presence is appreciated wherever I am, and that my assistance with household repairs, or improving a procedure, enhances rather than restricting someone’s day to day living. Apparently, it’s never enuf.

So, I’m looking for a space just to be again. A spot somewhere within walking distance to a toilet, hopefully a Starbucks and access to Wi-Fi (keeping up on events is important). I’ve become aware that many people are not what they pretend to be in the first encounter. It’s a sad deal all the way around. Why is it such a seemingly impossibility: finding a person of compassion AND of principle? One whose helping another is without a hidden agenda, or ulterior motive? A motive to somehow gain from the misfortune of another by ostensibly to help them?

It’s not that hard to see a person genuinely in need of a helping hand. Or, at least, it didn’t use to be that difficult . . . More difficult is knowing which helping hand might be the one genuinely wants to help you. Desperation makes the first choice the right choice, whether or not it is. Is it without expecting, or even demanding something in return. Only time will tell. It so often reveals their true character, testing your own sanity when it comes to pass that THEY always wanted something from you in the first place. At that point, your seeking refuge, your ability to know what to do next, turns inward . . . your will to continue . . . takes a dip. Why is deception the new part of helping someone? The cops and especially security guards have used this frequently. Why is this?


“Momma” Crystal of the Dare to Change tent community, part of “First they came for the homeless” at Berkeley Old City Hall, speaks to a fellow resident. She, with her son and two teenage daughters, helps provide recovery tents for people from the streets with substance abuse issues, as a sister part of the Poor Tour. The U.N. rapporteur expressed admiration for this community.

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One thought on “Homeless reader responds to ‘The Real Plight of the Homeless told by the Homeless’

  1. Unfortunately, The First They Came for the Homeless tent encampment was ordered taken down with the excuse caused by a non FTCFTH encampment dweller burning a tent. Berkeley ordered encampment closure. Now the homeless have to find a place to set up their tents/find a place to sleep. Heartless, cruel, inhumane of the City of Berkeley, a supposedly progressive city to turn their backs on the homeless. First They Came for the Homeless. Remember the history.

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