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Authors

  1. Young-Mason, Jeanine EdD, RN, CS, FAAN

Article Content

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to one another. -Mother Teresa

 

Eva Witesman's OpEd "The Vicious Cycle of Loneliness in Homelessness" was cowritten with a colleague and ethnographer who experienced homelessness for 31/2 years. His searing words: "Homelessness is the most lonely experience of my life. It is a constant gnawing hunger for acknowledgement, attention, love, and acceptance. This hunger is a deeper, darker shadow to the physical hunger that I experience daily. But as harsh as loneliness is, it is only the blunt periphery of the suffering. At its sharpest piercing center, I feel abandoned, betrayed and forsaken."1 This loneliness-the sense of being forgotten by friends and family, strangers and society-is what he believes to be "the core driving experience behind so much of the addiction cycle, revenge psychology and issues with authority" that occur among some in the homeless community.

 

Witesman writes, "This is a powerful idea-that the problem at the center of the seemingly intractable problem of homeless policy isn't money, housing, jobs, or food. And the root isn't necessarily mental illness or addiction. It is loneliness."1

 

Words of wisdom and hope, but are they too late? Those who are living in the world of the homeless have much to tell us if we can listen. And is it not the essence of compassion for all that we overcome our reasons for not acting? For when we recognize the humanity in everyone, only then we will be freed from misguided remedies and self-interest.

 

Reference

 

1. Witesman E. OpEd: The Vicious Cycle of Loneliness in Homelessness. December 21, 2017. http://www.deseretnews.com. Accessed May 1, 2019. [Context Link]