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Reader's View: Homeless are just like you and me

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be homeless? It wouldn't be very difficult to find out because any one of us could become homeless. Just lose your job and be unable to immediately find a new one. After a couple of months or less you would be evicted or foreclosed upon and be homeless. Become a victim of domestic abuse or disabled by serious medical, mental health, or chemical-dependency issues. Maybe your house or rented apartment burns down or is destroyed by a flood. All these situations are easy avenues to homelessness.

Whatever the particular disaster, it could lead to you having to couch-surf for an extended period, live in a shelter or transitional housing unit, or sleep in an abandoned building or anywhere on the street that you could find.

Once you became homeless, you'd find that the attitude from the general public toward you has changed considerably. Whenever you attempt to sit or rest, even in public spaces, someone would call the police; the police would tell you to "move along." Needing to use a bathroom would be a serious challenge. Very few places with functioning restrooms allow homeless people to use them. More than likely you'd have to perform your bodily functions in an alley or behind some bushes. Doing so is illegal, so you'd be risking arrest simply for living in a human body. Where would you take a shower or wash your clothes? You probably wouldn't be able to do these things.

These are some of the reasons why I encourage the Duluth City Council to pass the homeless person's bill of rights ordinance. For details about an ordinance, search for the "Homeless Person's Bill of Rights" community at

Kathleen Spencer