Last week, a jury in Pennsylvania found a man guilty in the stabbing death of a homeless man during a robbery. He faces mandatory life in prison with no parole.
A 2009 report by the National Coalition for the Homeless showed an alarming increase in violent incidents against the homeless over the past decade. At least 880 unprovoked attacks against the homeless by “non-homeless” people were reported.
A Maryland state senator pushed for legislation that added homeless people to the state’s hate crimes law. Now, several other states are considering making the same change.
With our bad economy, more and more people are being forced onto the streets, therefore becoming visible targets for would-be assailants. Even more troubling is the fact that nearly 60 percent of the suspected attackers over the past decade were teenagers, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless report.
Acts of violence and hate crimes against homeless people should not — and cannot — be tolerated. Too often, society looks at the homeless as castaways who made bad decisions, sunk into poverty and have no future. That couldn’t be any further from the truth!
Homeless people are worthy, not worthless. There is hope for them. We see it everyday at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM). Our primary mission is to help the homeless get back on their feet and transform their lives permanently. We provide the basic necessities of life and give them resources and direction on how to achieve productive lives.
We’re all God’s children, regardless of our economic, social or ethnic backgrounds. We all deserve the same respect and dignity. Everyone’s life is important.