by Jon DeCarmine, Director of Operations at GRACE Marketplace
We see homelessness and poverty so much, so often, that it’s easy to be a little bit calloused and jaded about it all. It’s so prevalent that it can start to seem, somehow, normal. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing people sleep on park benches—the woman pushing a shopping cart filled with everything she owns, the guy outside the gas station looking for change. We’re used to looking the other way. We’ve mastered the art of avoiding eye contact—because we have to, because the problem will never go away.
The problem seems so big and insurmountable that it’s hard to imagine that we could ever do anything big enough to really make a difference.
I’ve worked with homeless folks in Gainesville for 19 years, and I still struggle with feeling overwhelmed and jaded most days. Mostly, I feel like a cross between Sisyphus and some sort of cut-rate undertaker, moving one person into housing just in time to watch another roll back down the hill to take their place.