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Whoever Wins the Homeless Lose

Contact: Jeremy Reynalds, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, Joy Junction Inc., 505-400-7145

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Oct. 22, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following is submitted by Jeremy Reynalds, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Joy Junction Inc.:

The opposing political messages are endless, as the two presidential candidates (along with their super PACs) attempt to do whatever it takes to gain our vote.

Facebook and other social media users add their two cents, putting their support behind whoever they believe most closely reflects the "right" position.

One thing is for sure. On this countdown to the upcoming presidential election, the vitriol is ever present. Friends both virtual and otherwise are being lost, and enemies made, as election day draws closer.

But will all the angst -- and money spent -- make any difference?  How much ability does either candidate really have to fulfill their promises? Not much, if one considers the seemingly ever present Washington gridlock and dominant culture of nastiness.

Having kept a pretty close eye on what's going on with all things presidential, I'm disturbed by something lacking in all the political drama. I hear a lot of discussion about the middle class, but nothing being said about homelessness and hunger.

My concern has been echoed by Sojourners Magazine and a CNN commentator, who said, "Neither (presidential) candidate talks about solutions for poverty."

Isn't it time they did? What should we tell them, or is it pointless? Will homelessness and hunger remain the same, whoever is elected?

I had one of my staff pose this question to a few Joy Junction Homeless Shelter guests.  Here are some of their responses.

One person said, "Whoever wins (doesn't) matter, 'cause every president always overlooks the homeless like we don't exist."

Someone else commented, "The presidential debates just shows us Americans that are homeless that there is no help out there for us. (President) Obama will keep us jobless; (Governor) Romney is going to cut everything for the homeless. It will be impossible for any agency to help the homeless. (There is) lying and fighting among the candidates. We do not receive a straight answer from either (one). We will lose no matter whom we elect."

Someone else said, "Homelessness has been an ongoing issue. They don't make funding available for the homeless. Too many in government think we choose this lifestyle, that we can go to any social service and get help, but we don't always qualify. Some get help, but others are left out ..."

Another person said, "Either way there won't be much help for the homeless, because of the way the government is being run and the recession. They'll be more concerned about the working class and voters; those people who will put them into office."

I also asked  the question to my Facebook friends and Joy Junction Facebook fans, a mixed bag of political persuasions. Here are some of their responses.

One person wrote, "They all have money; they don't care. It's unfortunate, because it's an issue that, given the right support from a candidate, could sway my vote. Too sad."

Another wrote that the situation will "likely remain the same."

Someone else commented, "Unfortunately your efforts are undermined by the politicians treating the homeless as a tool to manipulate the masses; nothing more (my opinion)."

Someone cynically opined, "If the last four years are any indication, it appears the president's plan is to help create more (homelessness and hunger)."

So is the answer to give up on the political system and stay away from the voting booth? Absolutely not. It's all we have. Let's tell the two individuals running for president that we want to hear what solutions they have for the increasing hunger and homelessness that's ailing our land. They should have comprehensive policy proposals for both issues. 

However, having said that, even if we do find out what the candidates think about alleviating poverty, that doesn't let those of us who "have," off the hook from helping our community's most vulnerable citizens.

All of us have a community responsibility to help (not judge) the poor, homeless and hungry in our midst, and if we think the government can take care of the situation without our active involvement, we're just fooling ourselves.

I urge you to please get involved by getting involved with your local mission, soup kitchen or food bank. If you don't, the future of America's homeless and hungry looks very bleak indeed.