All of us from time to time acknowledge a homeless person. It can be
someone standing by the ATM or in front of the dépanneur, and
our acknowledgment can take the form of a simple smile or a brief chat.
Such attention lets the person living in precariousness know that he
or she is worthy as a human being. We can learn a lot from such experiences
and, more often than we would think, we can help someone out to, say,
find a toaster, a sleeping bag, a job, an apartment... A brief, chance
meeting every day can lead to a weekly chat over a cup of coffee, without
your becoming a saviour, ruining yourself financially or putting yourself
ATSA wants to stimulate such initiatives and get the public to dare
break through the isolation street people experience every day. Many
organizations working with street people already offer such opportunities
for this type of interaction.
We have collaborated with Sac à dos, an organization working
for the social and economic integration of homeless people and those
at risk of becoming homeless, in order to develop a safe and meaningful
Citizen Buddy system. Good judgement must be exercised. It is better
not to give your telephone number or address or develop a relationship
based on dependence, unless you become good friends with the person
you meet with. And ATSA has plenty of good friends!
It is important to acknowledge such gestures, for it is known that giving
something a name makes it easier to share with others. And if the millions
of rather well-off Quebecers simply got down to it, there just might
be less suffering.
So smile, and say “Bonjour”!
More in this pdf document (in french):
Amandine and her two new friends - photo
Baptiste Fhont Darcy