As many of us celebrate the holiday season, send out greetings with the message, “Peace on Earth”, donate our time to make a meal for the homeless, or contribute to charities that serve the poor among us, the December 19, 2011 article in the Star-Ledger, “Homeless Man Beaten in Wall by 2 Homeless Youths” reminds us of the work that must be done to end homelessness in NJ.
The news story covers the tragic and senseless beating of a homeless man in the Jersey Shore region and includes disturbing video footage which had previously been posted on YouTube.
The 20 year old male attacker who beat the man by punching and kicking him until his face was bloody, was quoted as saying “About to go beat up the bum.”
“In the end of the video you hear one of the assailants yell, ‘And have a Merry Christmas.’ It was mocking,’’ said Belmar Mayor Matthew Doherty. “So we want to make it up to him. We want to give him a Merry Christmas.’’
Although we believe that everyone should enjoy a happy holiday season, we need to work together to not only insure that this type of violence never happens again but also to insure that no one in NJ is homeless.
This tragedy has reminded us of some basic truths:
As much as we are pleased about the support for David Ivins, he has only been provided housing until January 2nd. Permanent, affordable and supportive housing is the solution to ending homelessness.
The Wall police were aware that David was homeless and living in the woods. This should remind us that homelessness exists in every community in NJ, not just in the cities.
Persistent homelessness is unacceptable. We need to work together to help the tens of thousands of others who are homeless in NJ to have a home of their own with appropriate supportive services.
The tragic situation in Wall should never happen again.
Let’s join together and commit to ending homelessness in our great state, not just for David but for all of our brothers and sisters who will not have a place to call home this holiday season!