Georgetown: The homeless conundrum – commentary

The homeless conundrum

By Stabroek News – On February 11, 2016 – In Editorial

Georgetown’s homeless, like their counterparts in every other city in the world, are its most highly visible yet unseen residents. Homeless is a broad name used to refer to a wide range of people who live on the streets for myriad reasons. Among them are the elderly, who eschew the lack of liberty available at ‘old folks’ homes or at their children’s/relatives’ residences; the abandoned, who can’t fit in with family/relatives because of an illness; the runaways; the drug and alcohol addicted and the mentally ill.

In Guyana, people who are truly homeless—having lost their homes because of their inability to pay rent or mortgage or to fire—rarely live on the street. They tuck in at a shelter or a relative’s or friend’s place because they know their situation is temporary and they will be working towards a permanent solution to it. On the other hand, the people who choose to live on the street have often tuned out from life and its ‘normalness’—the 9 to 5 grind, homemaking and housekeeping and being social. They tend to congregate in busy areas where they can receive a daily handout.  

Many people, without even thinking about it, give the homeless a wide berth. Often, the reason for this is that they cannot discern who among them might be harmless and who might be about to go on a drug-starved or fuelled bender. For the most part though, people do not really see them, though they know they are there.  [Read more]

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