Archiving a submission to my column entitled Home with the Southwest and Downtown Journals of Minneapolis.
My column in the Pioneer Press regarding the sheltering of men, women and youth at the Union Depot in St. Paul during the 2019 polar vortex.
We have a culture of charity that normalizes destitution and legitimates personal generosity as a response to major social and economic dislocation. Of course, when food, housing and other basic needs become a gift instead of a right, they are subject to all of the prejudices of the generous. The gift can be taken back from those who are not deserving or grateful enough.
-from the book No More Heroes
The story is not the helpers or givers
It was hard to get any sleep in the Union Depot on the last night they were open. Cub Foods staff are nice and lets him warm up many days. The cost of being without shelter is not only felt in the heart and mind. His dream is to buy a few acres and build a log cabin.
“I was born and raised in St. Paul”, he said with pride. “I was a basketball champ and Winter Carnival Prince.”
I told him not to remove the roof over his head just to talk to me. Even on the trains, it’s cold.
Support emergency shelter for every Minnesotan
I was picking up staff from CBS News at 3:30am at the Hilton next to WCCO in Minneapolis. This young lady was walking down the street seeking warmth. Someone had given her a hotel room key, tempting. She rode with us to St. Paul.
We have a choice, wrap her like a blanket in help or not.