Homeless people are often exposed to the elements day-to-day. And, many of them carry at least one backpack that is absolutely critical to their survival for it holds all of their worldly possessions.
These backpacks serve as a water supply compartment, food pantry, office nook, clothing closet, hygiene compartment, and medicine cabinet.
Many retail establishments require backpackers to leave their backpacks in an open area near the cash register or at the front desk with little or no security measures in place to protect those bags and the contents.
When backpacks are left unattended for even a few seconds in open areas, passers by can zero-in to steal these backpacks while customers are distracting retail employees.
Of course, this whole problem is easily resolved, if only retail establishments were willing to provide locker systems to place valuable backpacks into for safekeeping.
In addition to keeping backpacks safe in this way, it would also be awesome if we would just redesign our whole entire city to become
car-free friendly…such as having dedicated pathways that are much safer for walking and bicycling so that people can meet their essential needs within a shorter time frame of less than ten minutes.
As of right now, freedom of social movement for sheltered car-free citizens, is seriously compromised, even more for our fellow car-free citizens that are homeless. This is not acceptable.
So what is needed is more public rest rooms, retail locker systems for coats, hats and backpacks…along with air-conditioned bus shelters, especially right next to grocery stores located within major strip malls.The support of several organizations and various individuals provide solutions for car-free friendly design concepts, which makes car-free living far easier than expected.
For example, Tony’s Trailer’s from out of Vancouver, Canada. Tony provides bicycle trailers for the homeless. In fact, Tony produced nine YouTube videos on how to make your own bike trailer from a grocery cart basket, a highly impressive series that is deeply thoughtful if not intriguing. The key is Tony’s patented trailer hitch that can be hooked up easily to any bike seat post. And when the basket is detached at a storefront, it can be pushed right into the store to go shopping.
Tiburon Lockers provide vending machine locker systems. In fact, they state the following on their web site: “We install, maintain and service the lockers entirely free for the life of the contract.” When customers walk into a store these lockers provide a place to put umbrellas, coats, hats, gloves and a backpack and all for a nominal fee. That is a great benefit for the homeless people who walk, ride a bike, or take a public transit bus to the grocery store.
With all those excellent examples in mind for improving the lives of our homeless car-free citizens, and the rest of us, too, you are now challenged to follow through with giving the gift of living out our lives with far more dignity despite the hard times.
The author of this article, David M. Fullerton, has earned a dual BA in anthropology and political science from the University of Memphis; and, he has also earned a master’s of public administration with a specialization in nonprofit management and leadership from Walden University; and, he is also the blogger for Car-Free Memphis.