Thursday 18 of February 2021
Life from a Lower Perspective
Text and photographies: Natalia Marin
People affected by poverty. We know they exist, but we are in denial about the topicality of this controversial issue. However, when we do address it, it is only superficially, because it is not believed that a small group of citizens can have such an impact on society as a whole. But are they really so insignificant?
Living on the streets, singing for a penny, drawing portraits, dancing, telling stories. This is what we know, what we choose to know. But what is a day in their life really like? Who is to blame for all this?
Jon is 23 years old and lives in Vernon. He has two beautiful children and, although he is homeless, he is working for a better future.
working for a better future. In the "Housing and Homelessness" issue of Visions magazine, he says: "I've been on the streets many times in my life. As a teenager I ran away from home. Now, at the age of 23, I find myself back on the street because of something I never thought would happen to me.
I was fired from a job because I lost my temper with a client. I couldn't find a new job in time to pay the rent and I was evicted. Many stories sound the same. A few days ago, in a metro station in Bucharest, Romania, I stopped to talk to a homeless man lying on the cold pavement with a puppy in his lap. When we lie in the lap of luxury, it is sometimes difficult to understand how these people are unable to improve their lives.
Work? Not a problem. Despite what we hear in the media, poverty-stricken people make a living, strange as it sounds, by exploiting their talents, working part-time or even long hours in jobs that do not require a great deal of knowledge or... a real home and its resources. But not all of them contribute to the growth of the overall economy. Here comes the guilt.
Some things that should reach us, don't; because those who have to spread the word are the ones who are actually trying to hide their tracks. It is time to talk about abuse of authority and how it influences the lives of homeless street artists (or street homeless street artists, let's not forget anyone).
Let's take an example from Romania: The municipality of Arad is heavily criticised after announcing that it confiscated 113 Romanian Lei (RON) from a beggar in order to redistribute the money to the city's budget. What would you do with almost 23.16 Euros? Perhaps nothing significant. What would the city do with 23.16 euros? Nothing really. But for a person living in poverty, it is more than a fortune. Every day, people living on the streets are verbally and physically abused by the authorities who should be helping them.
Another example is the murders in Barcelona. "The first of the crimes took place on 19 March outside a supermarket in Sardenya street. A murder which, unlike the next three, the perpetrator used a knife.
The second, almost a month later, took place on 16 April under the arcades of one of the entrances to Barcelona's Municipal Auditorium, and the third two days later, in Casp Street. In total, four crimes in the same district of homeless people sleeping alone in a city absolutely deserted by the confinement", according to World Today News.
What can we do? Treat them with kindness. Report abuse when you see it. Spread the message. Find out their story, if you can, and offer to help. Every small gesture counts in humanity's journey to a better world. To the destination, let's create a safe space for all.
- NATALIA MARIN -