Dogs Left Outside In Cold Makes News In Omaha, But Not Homeless Elderly Woman

(12-4-18) Speaking tonight.

I’m thrilled to be speaking tonight at the annual meeting of NAMI Cambridge/Middlesex Chapter! The meeting is being held at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA, between 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.. Please attend if you can.

Good Samaritan In Omaha Defends Her Decision To Help Homeless Elderly Woman

Good morning, Pete – I read the blog post from the writer commenting on our situation. I would like to point out a few differences in the two situations. 

Our situation is certainly not a case of DIY charity. We have not invited this woman into our home or given her money because we believe that is a deterrent from getting her the help she truly needs.  Also, to the writer’s point, one must be careful. Sadly, there are others that need help that we do not feel safe to allow in our vehicles. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t entitled to help, though.

 We thought that by putting this woman in the hands of the agency that she would get the helps she needs. The agency whose website states that they focus on services for mental illness and homelessness. The agency that receives federal funds to provide these services. 

The purpose of my email was to dispel the misconceptions that help for these people is readily available if only they would accept it. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Along the way we encountered assumptions like the agencies had probably already tried to help her. The reality is that she had not been in their system prior to us taking her there.  

 The answer is not for us as a society to walk by on the streets with averted eyes or looks of pity and assume there is help for these individuals, that these individuals don’t want help or that it is someone else’s problem.  

We know that there is a chance that even if she gets the help she needs, that she may end up back in the same situation due to her illness.  If she were having an asthma attack, we wouldn’t say well she’s probably going to have one of those again at some point, so let’s not help her. 

 One final point,  I saw a news article about a police officer saving two little dogs that were out  in the cold for 3 hours.  We started actively pursuing help for Geraldine at the end of September. I last saw her on November 21, cold and despondent. It’s a news story for dogs to be outside for 3 hours, but as a society we are content for an elderly woman to be in the cold for two months.  Not to mention, the danger of being raped or beaten for the several months that she was on the streets prior to that.





About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.