I didn't always appreciate having a comfortable bed. When I was little, Mom always made sure we had clean beds, they were made up every day, and our jammies got tucked under the pillow. I think I grew up just assuming that all of life was so comfortable. Like any adolescent, I resented and resisted when I had to make my own bed and do my own laundry, but I still took it for granted. The washer and dryer were three steps from my bedroom, for pity's sake.
When I bought my first home, my then-husband noted the laundry room and commented that we could wait to buy a washer & dryer. Nuh uh, we couldn't. I just went and bought them. We had a water bed back then, still trendy in the late 70s and early 80s. It was just fine until our son was born, by C-section, and I couldn't get myself in or out of bed. I'll always be grateful to big sister Beth, who came and helped me for a week after Will was born. Katie was also born while we had that by-now-I-think-it's-pretty-awful bed. I got a grown-up bed when I was almost 40, and I'm never taking it for granted.
So back to my friends living on the streets. Portland is about as tolerant of the homeless population as any city can be. We recognize here that the homeless aren't the problem. Homelessness is the problem. The homeless are the victims. We have a good mayor who's fighting hard for their rights and their care. One can always find food in downtown Portland. There are so many free meal programs that folks who can't pay actually have options sometimes. But how do they sleep?
The shelters, for the most part, are for families working to get back on their feet, or for women and children, especially victims of abuse. Single men don't have a lot of support. As we fight for equal rights for women, we still treat women as though they need protecting (which they really do), and men as if they need to be tougher, and it's OK for them to sleep out in the elements. I know some pretty gentle menfolk who would really struggle with this particular gender discrimination.
People without shelter don't get to have sheets. They're not a necessity, apparently. Who knew? People sleeping in their cars might have a blanket or sleeping bag, but who can be bothered with trying to keep sheets in any kind of order. People sleeping outside have whatever warm protection they can muster, and sheets aren't warm. If they get their hands on some, they often use them as walls or screens for privacy.
I love my sheets. They're old, they don't exactly fit the bed, they're mismatched, and the pillowcases are a completely different color. I so don't care. Chalk up one more under-appreciated luxury that contributes to my very privileged life. So we don't have money. We have sheets. We're good.