This title might seem a little shocking at first but bear with me. I wanted to write a post about this because it addressed one of the lesser known sides of fundraising for homelessness. It's not sexy. When I first heard about this I was shocked. "What do you mean, it's not sexy? Of course it's not, it's terrible and sad and something needs to be done." However, my outrage was only part of my reaction. I was also confused. Since when are issues sexy? What does that even mean?
When this was first mentioned to me, I was on my way up to the White Mountains and I was talking to a lovely woman who happens to be a fundraiser. However, I continued to hear about this as I talked to others. It turns out that helping people who are suffering from homelessness has less appeal than helping the Syrian refugees. Now, to be clear, I've never heard of a charity that the people who are being helped feel "sexy." I don't feel that Syrian refugees are sexy. Aids isn't sexy, it never was to anyone who was actually suffering from it. It's more about how we, as outsiders perceive it. If it's new, there's a movement behind it and it appears to be uncomplicated it has the chance of becoming sexy. If we don't question the full innocence of the victims, that helps as well. And if we know who the victims are, we can understand what is helpful and how to feel sympathetic and we can do it easily. When the issue becomes confusing to us though, as homelessness tends to be, it ceases to be "sexy." Homelessness is complicated. Homelessness is people who are unsheltered and hungry, who are suffering from a whole boatload of issues that we can't quite understand immediately. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't work to have compassion for them. It actually turns out that all issues are complicated and it takes time and research to understand them.
Just some inner thoughts today. Check back in next week!