Virtual Voices

Homeless but occupied

Occupy Wall Street

Editor's Note: This past week, WORLD editor in chief Marvin Olasky hosted a group of mid-career WORLD readers for a series of intense journalism training sessions in Asheville, N.C. One of their assignments was to analyze aspects of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and here is one of those commentaries.

Homeless people in cities have seen their turf invaded by Occupy Wall Street encampments. Some among the homeless do not fully embrace or understand the protesters' concerns, but they know a good gig when they see one.

As the occupiers settled into parks to decry financial excesses, many members of the disenfranchised underclass living there joined their ranks and welcomed the influx of free food, shelter, and medical care. But do these street people really share the concern about corporate greed or the salaries of those who occupy the corner suites of nearby offices? Are they passionate about righting the economic wrongs that may have pushed them to the fringes of society? Or are they mingling with the protesters simply for the available perks?

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Long after the Occupy Wall Street protesters have packed their tents and headed home, these street-savvy and resourceful homeless people will remain in the park. They learned long ago how to locate shelter, sniff out sources of food, and protect themselves from danger. They've also learned to work the system when a good opportunity comes along.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Dave Bell
Dave Bell

Dave is the publisher of a weekly newspaper in Vandalia, Illinois.

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