To the editor:
(re: “Keep out the homeless,” Aug. 4)
We still are battling the negative expressions by many Riverdale and Kingsbridge residents. Many believe that all homeless families are lazy, dishonest, wanting something for free. In other words, have the government pay for their housing, their food, their insurance — for their existence.
Most of the families work, but their incomes are not sufficient to pay for everyday expenses. Most importantly, let’s take a look at how children fare. We stress that a secure home for children forms their lives. How would you feel getting moved from place to place, transfer to other schools, losing the friendships you were able to make at temporary housing, and have to keep moving?
I can tell you from experience, I have gone through it at an early age, though not in America or Riverdale. But homeless is homeless! We have to put ourselves into their mental state. It’s devastating.
My memories are not unique.
A newcomer to a new school is alone, and some children are cruel to them. The gang of schoolmates call them names, knowing nothing about these youngsters, and untrue rumors spread. They have to adjust not only to their new schools, new teachers, new surroundings, but also to people in the neighborhood and life in general.
Try to understand a child in such a situation. He or she has no friends to discuss new experiences, new impressions, the surroundings and places where you can join to make friends. The children are hungry to learn, and they need help.
Their parents leave early in the morning to work, and children are alone after school closes.
Who can give them a hand with home assignments or other activities, time permitting? Many of the after-school activities are costly. Well, their families don’t have the money — what to do?
The mental stress they have to go through is harmful to their development, their trust, their well-being. And we’re surprise when a child tries to commit suicide, turns into a criminal, or joins a gang?
Everyone wants to belong. He or she may be at the end of their rope.
Let’s embrace the homeless! Let’s give them a hand and make them feel welcomed!