In a state that claims to take care of its own, how can it be that, while I wait for the bus, I watch multiple people digging through the trash on a below-freezing December night? How can you sleep knowing your fellow Mainers do not have a home?

I’ve been privileged enough to have lived abroad in a country where homelessness does not exist – one that prioritizes the health, safety and housing of their people over the interests and projects of the wealthy.

What a shame it is to be an American today. The lack of funds allocated to social programs and the greedy lifestyles we cling to are simply embarrassing.

What kind of “community” does not take care of their members when they are sick or struggling? What kind of country shames people who need help? In the world’s wealthiest nation, why are there millions without a home? Without access to food when we produce more than we need, without access to health care when the most advanced technologies are readily available?

I can assure you, the disturbing reality that is American poverty and social inequality is nothing to brag about. You claim to love your countrymen, but you generate their poverty by cutting programs that sustain them. You claim to love Maine, but you can’t look your fellow Mainers in the eyes.

I will not stand for another winter with our people dying outside. It’s about time we stand up to the greed that is literally killing our people – and I ask anyone who feels the same way to come to the ceremony organized by Preble Street at 4:15 p.m. on Dec. 21 in Monument Square to honor the homeless who died this past year.

Lynn Kovitch

Portland