Homeless Kids

2010 August 22
by Dave

Spring and summer of 2009 I started noticing a new group of panhandlers with cardboard signs at intersections. Men in their forties and fifties wearing clothes and shoes that would not have been out of place at work if they were a little newer and a little cleaner.

It did not take a second look for these men’s appearance to jump out at me as something different. Being unemployed myself at the time I keenly felt their pain and would offer up a few bucks if I had any cash in my pocket and be thankful for my unemployment insurance.

By the end of last year that group seemed to be a much smaller part of the roadside panhandling community. I hope it is because they were able to move on to somewhere else that offered better job prospects.

This spring and summer have brought another new group to the streets that I have not seen anywhere near as frequently as I do now. Kids in their late teens and early twenties.

Homeless kids are not an unusual site in southern California beach communities. However, they generally aren’t sign holders. And they generally aren’t couples either.

I fervently hope that we can pull these kids back into society before they are sentenced to a life on the outside looking in. Youth unemployment is one of the great tragedies of this recession that could leave an ugly legacy. As the recovery heats up, the current crop may be leapfrogged by those a couple of years younger who haven’t been beaten down by two or three years of inability to find work.

You can’t get unemployment benefits if you’ve never had a job.

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