I’ve had the documentary Dark Days on my Netflix queue for quite a while now. Last week, it finally made it to my mail box. The film, which was made in 2000 by Mark Singer, follows a group of homeless individuals who live underground in NYC. My initial response to the film was discomfort. How could they possibly live in those conditions? Right after that, I caught myself trying to rationalize: “Oh, well, he just said that most of the people there are crack heads. So…” (a weak attempt at trying to make myself feel better). As the film goes on, you get to hear some of their personal stories. Some of these stories were heartbreaking, but they served as a harsh reminder that homelessness, like other social problems, are complex issues that can’t be rationalized away. These are human beings, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. Someone’s heart is breaking for them.
The truth is, it’s ok to feel uncomfortable when watching this film or when we see a homeless person. We feel uncomfortable because it’s unacceptable. The good news is that, as with any other cause, there are a things we can do to make a difference. First and foremost, we can treat everyone (homeless or not) with dignity. Second, we can support a local organization. Third, we can simply use our voices to call attention to the problem/solutions.
Dark Days Trailer: http://youtu.be/MjjQJipwSxQ
Miami-Dade County Homeless Helpline: 1-877-994-4357
For information and statistics for Miami-Dade County: http://www.miamidade.gov/homeless
Here are some organizations that serve the homeless in Miami:
Camillus House: www.camillushouse.org
Community Partnership for the Homeless: www.cphi.org
Miami Rescue Mission: www.miamirescuemission.com
Stand Up For Kids: www.standupforkids.org/miami
Salvation Army: www.uss.salvationarmy.org/uss/www_uss_miami.nsf
Lotus House: www.lotushouseshelter.org