The true test of a civilization is how it cares for its helpless members. — Pearl S. Buck
Tis the season for donations! For many, the holidays are a time to give to those less fortunate. Actually, though, the best time to give to people in need is “now,” always.
Many ordinary, working people are facing job, food, housing insecurities we’d never have dreamed of before the pandemic. Even if you could work in 2021, paychecks aren’t going as far. Prices are up for literally everything: groceries, rent, gas, utilities, etc. These financial hits are landing especially hard on those living close to the poverty line.
We tend to think of people without homes as damaged or lazy. If they really cared to succeed, we reason, they’d get a job, work hard, save money… Since they don’t, that “proves” they’d rather laze about on the streets than put in an honest day’s effort. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, being homeless in America – a criminal activity in most municipalities — requires enormous amounts of energy, resourcefulness and even paperwork.
Philadelphia’s current housing crisis is a complex, systemic problem. But it’s easier to blame unhoused people – 2.5+ million of whom are children, and more than 40% have a disability – than to find real solutions. Every day we refuse to act, is a missed opportunity to make a real difference in someone’s life, in the community, in the world.
Learn more in your Local paper! Make sure you track down December’s edition, where Ria’s heartfelt illustration turns our gaze to the “invisible people” ever struggling in our so-called Land of Plenty. Read more in Operation Winter Offensive (p. 6), where local housing activists have launched an aggressive assault on homelessness we’re all invited to join.
In addition, this month’s varied collection of grassroots news and neighborhood commentary includes:
- “ALTERNATIVE” HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE (center spread)
- PURPLE QUEEN ON THE SCENE — a chat with Philly NAACP’s new president (p. 9)
- PLANNING DRAMA: Community organizations clash over apartments proposed for Ridge Ave
- MAD OR NAH: Neighbors weigh in on living in a segregated city
- CALENDAR: Featured events from Quizzo nights to book signings plus markets, pop-ups, and other fun stuff.
- REGULAR FEATURES including Ask Athena’s relationship advice (p. 16), Dr. Woodson’s column on Kyle Rittenhouse (p 11). Calendar, trivia, crime report and real estate rundown. Plus perennial reader favorite: Missed Connections on the final two pages.
Of course you can read the posts online and also view the latest print edition online here.
PRO TIP: It’s even cooler in print. Find The Local paper at shops, markets, libraries, waiting rooms, cafes, laundromats, universities, etc. in East Falls, Germantown and other random spots in NW Philly (and beyond). For subscriptions or sponsorship email email@example.com.
ABOUT DECEMBER’S COVER:
With the growing number of homeless, I wanted to bring awareness to those individuals who don’t have a roof over their head, the luxury of taking a warm shower, and a consistent hot meal to eat every night. Some individuals are homeless by choice while some have unfortunately fallen on hard times. I believe for whatever the reason individuals are homeless we should lead with a pure heart and lend a helping hand in whichever way we can.
Sometimes we forget that people are just people without houses. They are human, with a story like all of us, and deserving of compassion and support, like all of us.
Have yourself a merry merry Christmas,
Have yourself a good time.
But remember the kids who got nothing
While you’re drinking down your wine.
– The Kinks
Find out about programs and initiatives to make housing insecurities as rare, brief, and non-recurring in the City of Philadelphia at philadelphiaofficeofhomelessservices.org.
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-866-723-3014 / 1-866-SAFE-014
Homeless Outreach: 215-232-1984
Veterans Homelessness Hotline: 1-877-424-3838
Need help applying for housing, rent assistance, vaccines, or any other City resource? Call the Local Community Resource Center at 267-428-3520 or stop by the Local office weekdays 10 am – 2pm at 245 West Chelten Ave, for more information visit crcphilly.org.
Comment below, if you wish, and please check out Ria’s photography on her website capturedbyriag.com, where she’s arranged her favorite stand-outs into three categories: performances, events and portraits. She’s got a thing for candid shots, and a real knack for catching the action at just the right moment.
Keep an eye on Ria’s Insta, too: @captured.by.ria — she’s always posting interesting stuff: podcasts, parties, photoshoots Stay tuned at the Local, always, for more from this multi-talented neighbor.
Thank you for supporting local art and free independent community press!
View Ria’s last cover feature HERE