Homelessness: Case in point
Posted by sanityinjection on March 9, 2009
Topic #2 for today is a news story I heard on the radio this morning. My local news radio station decided to do a human interest piece a homeless woman staying at a local shelter. Journalists will tell you that that purpose of this sort of story is to put a “human face” on a social problem. That’s code for playing on your emotions to get you to support more government spending on social programs.
Nevertheless, I listened. They interviewed a woman with a child staying at a shelter for women and children. They have been living at the shelter for over a year while continuing to try to find housing. Nothing remarkable about this, so far.
But then they reported something that made me do a double take. They said the woman is expecting another baby in May! Now, do the math folks…she’s been living in the shelter for over a year, and is expecting another baby in two months. That means that, while subsisting on charity she went ahead and got herself pregnant anyway. Unless the woman is a rape victim (which they surely would have mentioned in their attempt to gain listeners’ sympathy), this is a totally irresponsible decision that will cost either the taxpayers or charitable donors (not sure if the shelter is public or private) more money.
The story went on to note that the woman would like to reunite with the father of her children, but cannot do so because men are not allowed at this shelter. Which begs the question: Why can’t she and her kids live with this baby daddy? Unless of course, he’s homeless too. How many more children is this lovely couple planning to have at somebody else’s expense?
Needless to say, the effect on me was rather the opposite of what was intended. I wonder where is the family of this woman, and why are they not taking care of her? I recognize that there are people who become homeless who are responsible and deserving of assistance – I’ve known individuals in that situation. But it’s ironic that the radio reporter chose this woman to interview thinking she would present a sympathetic case.