Sunday, April 30, 2017

Homeless

Walking around downtown L.A. yesterday, Mr. M and passed many tents belonging to homeless people on the sidewalk.  I will never think the same way about homeless people after watching this 1980s movie, Strange Voices, starring Nancy McKeon from The Facts of Life and Valerie Harper as her mother.  Nancy McKeon plays Nikki, a typical teenage girl growing up in the suburbs with her loving family.  After some very troubling behavior, Nikki is diagnosed with schizophrenia.  Her family does all they can to get her the best treatment.  As hard as schizophrenia is, this girl is in the best possible circumstances-she has the best doctors, and the constant and loving support of her family.  At one point, she is placed into a residential home.  She soon runs away and gets lost in the city.  She is eventually found by her family, but it could so easily have gone the other way.  If she hadn't been picked up by the police for some minor infraction and returned to her family, she would have ended up disoriented, cut off from her family, and homeless.  Many of the homeless people we see have loving families who may be looking for them, or who are waiting for them to come home, or  who are under the assumption that their mentally disabled loved one either doesn't want to be found, or is dead.  It is so easy to get lost in the city when you are mentally disabled.  In the blink of an eye, a mentally disabled person can end up in the car of a stranger, headed for the other side of the country.  As I walked past all those tents yesterday, I wondered how many families are living with broken hearts, not knowing where their loved one is, if they are healthy, if they are alive.  

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