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January 20, 2021

One Night/One Person: 2021 Edition


Happy Inauguration Day?

Cold. January 20—the official Inauguration Day date since 1937 (kicking off FDR’s second term—is usually cold in the northern hemisphere. Today in DC it hovered between the mid and late 30s with plenty of wind and even a little snow. So it seemed even chillier. I was out from 7:30 am to noon snd was reminded more than usual that more people live in American and European streets every year. All manner of humans. Crazy, sane, drunk, sober, hard luck unemployment cases, heartbreakers, fakirs, frauds and scads of the usual healthy panhandling 35 year olds who can work.

The purpose of this post—which I keep revising—is simple. To keep these humans alive during the 30 coldest nights of the year by doing something simple and effective for others without holding pressers about what great people we are when it’s cold as a Witch’s tit downtown in the parks.

Bear with me.

As a Yankee, Eagle Scout, outdoorsy dude, lifelong camper and all-weather philanderer, let me assure you that spending a night outside in colder weather has unique challenges. Even in the Fall. And generally in the period October through March.

Exposure. The Elements. And hypothermia. Call “it” what you will. Authors Jack London and Hans Christian Andersen each wrote well-known stories about it. And you can die from hypothermia well above 32 degrees F.

You say you would really like to help the urban homeless on both cold and super-cold American Northeastern and Midwestern nights? Chilly, plain cold and the bitterly cold, there are unpredictable nights that many cities are prepared to accommodate more homeless residents at shelters but for a number of reasons (both good and bad) thousands of Americas's rough sleepers take their chances outside?

Good. So see our inaugural post about our One Night, Person (March 5, 2015) campaign and our follow-up March 7, 2015 post. No, we don't have time to go over all of this again; we're working stiffs like you. Just read the posts.

Once again, and in short, here is the idea and the rules:

You're a Yuppie, professional or other generic dweeb between the ages of 22 and 82.You live in towns like New York City, Philly, Boston, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Wilmington, DC or Chicago.

Or similar cities in Europe. Or Asia. Generally? Think Northern Hemisphere. Planet Earth. Wherever Yuppies roam. You may live in the suburbs or in a downtown neighborhood of these cities. But if you work during the day in a downtown area of any of them, you and yours will go forth and do this:

1. Pick out and ask a homeless woman or man what articles of warm clothing she or he needs that you already have at home or in storage--thermal gloves, wool scarfs, warm hats and beanies, big sweaters, winter coats, thermal underwear, socks, etc.

2. Ask just one person at a time.

3. Agree on a time to meet (preferably at the same place) later that day or the next day.

4. Find the winter stuff you have at home or in storage.

5. Bring said stuff to the homeless woman or man as agreed.

6. Nine out of ten times, your new friend will be there when you show up.

7. Wait for forecasts of the next super-cold night--and repeat.


Posted by JD Hull at January 20, 2021 12:59 AM


That is a very nice advice and so easy to do for most of them. And the worst is lot of second hand cloths are throw away directly and they can be used in this way...

Posted by: Kevin Concerty at September 18, 2019 12:34 PM

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