Uptown Mosaic Magazine

Opinions & Essays

Heartless, Thoughtless City

October 11, 2012 by Gary Beck in Opinions & Essays

“The egregious policy of evicting homeless families with children from city shelters for real or contrived offences is a violation of the basic human rights of the victimized children. There is no alternative provision of services for the evicted children. Where are they expected to live? Eat? Receive vital assistance? Why has the city neglected to consider their needs in the haste to dismiss troublesome parents?

“The city already has the authority to eject single men from shelters. We can only hope they would deal kindly with veterans, who have done their duty for their country. The necessary power to evict families with children required state approval. It is no surprise that the callous collaboration to evict helpless children between the city and state was supported by elected and appointed officials, a shameful enactment. The entrenched bureaucracy is indifferent to the fate of homeless outcasts in a bureaucratic system that is long on official indifference to the unfortunate homeless and short on compassion.

“It is heartless to put children on the street. Regardless of the offenses of the parents, the children require care and attention, like any other children. These children should not be punished for the infractions of the parents. The sins of the fathers may have been the judgment on the House of Atreus, the House of Laius, but we are supposed to be a socially caring nation. Do the officials who decide the fate of these children have any idea what their lives are like? It certainly appears that they are unconcerned with their fate.

“It is thoughtless to perpetuate the offense of the parents on their children, who have little chance to escape the destructive influences of homelessness that crushes their lives. These innocent victims will be blighted by the official abandonment, followed by
the resultant suffering and horror that are conditions of homelessness. Someday these children will repay our society with crime and violence, a probable alternative to the failed hopes for a decent life, prevented by official neglect and rejection.

“The homeless, who are not a constituency since they are not legal residents in temporary shelters, are deprived of civil rights that many citizens take for granted. The children of homeless families experience their own particular deprivations. They are not
welcome in the local school districts, where they are an additional burden on middle-class sensibilities. The negative environments of harsh shelters, unfriendly schools and hostile communities combine to shatter the future expectations of homeless children. Eviction to the streets reflects the moral bankruptcy of government enactments without conscience.

Gary Beck worked with homeless families with children for twenty years. Essays by Gary Beck about foreign affairs, political issues, literary topics and homelessness have appeared in AIM Magazine, Elimae, Outcry, Purple Dream, CC & D Magazine, Bergen Street Review, Campbell Corners Language Exchange, Let Up Magazine, The Oracular Tree, Bedford-St. Martins Press, Penniless Press, Fine Lines, 63 Channels, Writing Raw, Greensburg Magazine, Slurve Magazine, Poor Mojo Almanack, Wolf Moon Journal, Shelf Life, The Recusant, International Zeitschrift, Straitjacket Magazine, The Fear of Monkeys, Poetic Matrix Press, Gently Read and Blue Lake Review.

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director. His chapbook ‘Remembrance’ was published by Origami Condom Press, ‘The Conquest of Somalia’ was published by Cervena Barva Press, ‘The Dance of Hate’ was published by Calliope Nerve Media, ‘Material Questions’ was published by Silkworms Ink, ‘Dispossessed’ was published by Medulla Press and ‘Mutilated Girls’ was published by Heavy Hands Ink. A collection of his poetry ‘Days of Destruction’ was published by Skive Press. Another collection ‘Expectations’ was published by Rogue Scholars press and ‘Dawn in Cities’ is being published by Winter Goose Press. His novel ‘Acts of Defiance’ is being published by Trestle press and ‘Extreme Change’ is being published by Cogwheel Press. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway and toured colleges and outdoor performance venues. His poetry and fiction has appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

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