#25 – The Mystery of Bandstandman

Written by The Natural High

In this episode of The Natural High Club I look at the homelessness situation in San Francisco and Oakland.

The longer you live in Oakland the more you understand the problems in America. The wealth divide is truly shocking. Having lived in London for 15 years I wasn’t a stranger to poverty – there was a smattering of homeless people in certain parts of the town. But Oakland is on a different level to anything I’ve seen. The homelessness problem here is almost unfathomable. Difficult to process and impossible to ignore. This, after all, is the wealthiest country in the world. So how could things have gone so badly wrong? I’m greeted daily by scenes of extreme poverty. Homeless encampments under every motorway intersection and the affluent literally rubbing shoulders with the bedraggled and ostensibly hopeless. It seems that the more privileged become desensitised to it over time. However kind or compassionate, maybe we sometimes subconsciously turn a blind eye to the poverty in order to maintain a sense of happiness within. Blissful ignorance of a situation that we should all feel responsible for.

As of January 2020 there were around 151,278 homeless individuals in the state of California according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That’s the biggest number since at least 2007, and represents about a 17% increase since 2018.

These people have become ghosts to those on the right side of the cafe windows. Some of us privileged think we are doing them a favour by not drawing attention to them. By passively coexisting with them. I don’t want to get too judgmental here. For we are all to blame. 

Have a listen to this podcast and let me know your own thoughts on the subject.
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