Public Libraries-- Modern Day Homeless Sanctuaries

I have been taking my 8 year old daughter to visit various public libraries in my city over the past month or two.  She loves going to check out books, movies and to experience the beauty and tranquility which can be found there.  I enjoy going with her.

I have found, however, that I don't enjoy the new reality of our day and age.  The US economy is in shambles and evidently there are many homeless people who take up shelter in the public libraries to get out of the elements these days.  I'm sure I don't notice most of them.  They wear the same clothes that others wear and they tend to blend in.  But there are some people who stick out like a sore thumb. 

Personally I am sick of sitting next to people in a beautiful, tranquil "public" library and then noticing that they smell of rank body odor.  Now, the last time I checked, there is soap and water and sinks located in the bathrooms in this library which I am sitting in right now.  If I were homeless, God forbid, I think I would maintain my self-respect by bathing in those same sinks, considering I had no other choice.  To reek of body odor so much that people 15 feet away can smell you is, in my book, inexcusable for anyone, even if you are homeless.

I am a compassionate man and I am very understanding of the plight of my fellow citizens.  I know times are tough and I know that some people who are homeless were gainfully employed, decent people just a few months ago.  But, for the life of me, I do not understand people who do not bathe or at least wash up on a regular basis.  Spending our days next to them at the public library is evidently part of our new economic reality which our politicians say is here to stay.  Lord, I hope not.  And if it is, might I suggest that we build public showers in our public libraries?

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1 Response May 12, 2012

Awww, I see where you're coming from on this but I need to offer up a thought from the other side too. I have a real time buddy who spent 2 years homeless and I've had a LOT of talks with him about where his head was during this time.......So I just want to share a little insight here.... :)<br />
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To wash up in a public restroom could easily get them arrested as pervs..or wayyy worse, if some person walked in and saw them with an article of clothing open while they washed. Especially if that person walked in with a child<br />
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They can wash all they want but... because they don't have access to washers and driers they'd still smell cause their clothes aren't being cleaned regularly. Add to this the fact they probably aren't eating a very balanced diet and are under a LOT of stress their bodies might actually be producing wayyy more sour smelling perspiration. <br />
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Sometimes when you don't have a roof over your head, or know where your next meal is coming from...self pride takes a real beating......The world some of these folks are just surviving, by the skin of their teeth in, is beyond rough. Any given moment can offer up some very dangerous situations daily, for them, from folks who actually feel entertained by abusing them. This might not allow them much free time for thoughts on how good they smell... <br />
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Also, Some of these same folks are system "cast offs" they need to be in a halfway house or some other place where they are supervised but the state has closed these places down and released the folks who need them.... They don't have anywhere else to go....and they just don't have the mental capacity to come up with a better plan.....<br />
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Just throwing out some other thoughts is all.... :)

ya, no one ever remembers the ones who fall through the cracks.