Ken Matin

There are many barriers to personal comfort for the homeless. I shall discuss two that truly perplex me.

1) Hydration. People that have homes probably never consider the long-term impact on one’s health that results from inadequate hydration. The homeless are often denied access to rest facilities. So what happens when they’ve consumed water? They eliminate in alleys (illegal). They eliminate on themselves (ill advised). Or they eliminate consumption, denying themselves a basic component of life (illness).

Most things on this planet are comprised of 60% – 78% water. It is essential to our survival and without it. As I experienced for two days, when subjected to excess heat and sun, one incurs unpleasant symptoms. Mine included a dramatic drop in blood pressure, dizziness and disorientation. And that was an isolated incident. Many homeless people – and I’m guilty of it too – skip the water to skip humiliation. That leads to deficient organ function throughout the body, including the heart and brain. When the brain is misfiring, people point the finger of ridicule as folks misbehave; yet it is a result of the very bathroom barriers that the public at large insists upon for civilization.

2) Semantics. I’d like to see an end to “homelessness.” Not necessarily an end to the word. In attending and covering rallies, meetings and other functions, I’ve heard many advocates fuss and fight over terminology. Housing instability, non-domiciled and shattered street dwellers, un-housed and roofless, and displaced…

Valuable time is squandered rehashing the same argument and interfering with the actual process of problem solving. While the label “homeless” carries a stigma, it is likewise the designation with which the general public is most familiar.

My suggestion, which always falls upon deaf ears, is solve and the problem first and give it a name afterwards.  The bottom line is we as people need to act as though we want a village instead of talking about being one.