The Independent Workers Party of Chicago calls on all our homeless brothers and sisters to take a few minutes to jot down your impressions of the best – and worst – experiences you’ve ever had at a homeless shelter here in Chicago or its surrounding suburbs. And we call upon our unemployed and talented college-educated sisters and brothers to “Occupy the Homeless Shelters!” – go spend a week or at least a few days at a homeless shelter in your neighborhood and let us know what your impressions are as to the levels of compassion, cleanliness, safety and quality of bedding, clothing and food you find there.
The capitalist politicians love to prate about how “taxpayer money” doesn’t “need” to be spent on social services like homeless shelters because that kind of locally necessary work, which can mean the difference between life and death for the millions of our homeless brothers and sisters here in the US – can best be handled by… volunteers through local churches, synagogues and mosques! Just like in the “good old days” before there ever was a government-run social safety net!
Of course, there never was such a thing as the “good old days” for the working people of the world. Before there were government-run programs like Social Security and Welfare, poor folks were just allowed to starve in the streets all over the US and all over the capitalist world. Hunger and living in slum conditions or on the streets of major US cities was the norm for men, women and children. What little was given to the poor by the local churches was totally inadequate to the demand, of course; how could a church located in a patronized by primarily poor workers barely able to keep their own families alive possibly come up with the money to feed, clothe and house the hundreds or even thousands of homeless people in their local neighborhoods?
In spite of this reality, even today the lying Republican and Democratic Party politicians leave most of the work of housing, feeding and clothing the homeless up to private charities and local churches, who struggle to keep up with the ever-growing demand upon their scanty resources.
In Chicago, most of the homeless shelters are run by Christian charities and churches. This by its very nature results in widespread discrimination against homeless people of faiths other than Christianity – or those of no particular faith at all. The homeless folks are constantly proselytized – sometimes gently, sometimes quite forcibly – into accepting Jesus Christ as their savior, or else suffering eternity in hell. This obnoxious reliance almost exclusively on Christian religious groups to provide front-line assistance to the growing population of homeless people results in some pretty un-Christian situations arising in these privately-run shelters.
We seek to collect a comprehensive database of anecdotes and reports on the actual conditions in the homeless shelter network here in the greater Chicago area in order to expose to light the most egregious abuses of the homeless population being committed on a daily basis under the shadow of supposedly “Christian” – and other religious – magnanimity. Our homeless brothers and sisters can submit their reports through the free computers available at all the public libraries throughout Chicagoland. Please send your reports to: firstname.lastname@example.org and in the subject line please write “Homeless Shelter Review”. We’ll publish your reports with as little editing as possible, so that the wealthy citizens of Chicago, now sleeping easily in their beds at night “knowing” that their charitable donations are eliminating the scourge of homelessness from our fair city can find out what their weak attempt at passing the buck is really “achieving” at street level.
We hope that your stories will comprise a sort of “Michelin Guide” to Chicago’s Homeless Shelters. It will inform both our homeless sisters and brothers as to where they can go – and where they must avoid going – for shelter, as well as enlightening a repulsively self-satisfied populace as to the very real and widespread abuses of the homeless people being carried on throughout the city in the name of so-called “Christian Charity”.
– The Editors of the Independent Workers Party website