A discussion between myself and a few friends the other day. The topic of helping the homeless came up. More specific: Should people in America help the Homeless? A picture of my homeless morning flashed in my mind. With a heart for the homeless yes I feel you should help the homeless. As I recall homeless morning are hard.
A homeless person’s morning might start with watching the footsteps of passersby. For their breakfast, homeless individual might have to search for half-eaten food in the trash can. If he or she are lucky, a kind gentleman working in a restaurant might even offer them some leftovers. And that is their lunch as well as dinner. The entire day is then spent holding up cardboard asking for help, or bowls to beg for money possibly even doing a hasty search for cheap drugs. For some, bare ground is a bed for sleep. For others, it can be cardboard box.
You and I have encountered such scenarios while crossing the road. Day by day, the number of homeless people residing on the streets is increasing, especially in first-world countries like the United States of America. Many people wonder if homeless people are their responsibility. Most people are quick to assume that addiction to drugs and alcohol is the main reason for a person to becoming homeless. If that is not it, maybe they didn’t work hard to stay in college or keep hold of their job and that is solely their own fault. But the reasons for such plight are endless, with little solutions to solve it.
The question is should people help support these homeless people in their search for a better life. Or should homeless citizen be asked to deal with their issues themselves? The answer is to support them. Whether it is to feed them, provide them with a tent and mattress,. Even to help them get into a rehabilitation center. People can do little but something to help a soul get back on track is better than nothing at all.
To understand the issue and the contributions that can be made, You and I need to dig deeper into the roots of this dilemma.
Reasons To Extend A Helping Hand:
Let’s agree on the fact that no one likes to be homeless and beg. How can sleeping on the cement slab on a cold night be a good way to defraud people? Those who are actually shelterless fight hunger for days,. Then how can this be a good part-time job for earning. Even if there are scammers, the total percentage of these people might be too less. Clearly, there are certain aspects people need to understand regarding homelessness in America.
A predominant assumption in American society is that homelessness is one’s own fault. It is easy for all of us to assume this because every one of us is doing just fine. However, the wrong choices in life, whether in the form of not doing well in school or job, are not the only reality. In fact, people from all walks of life can find themselves without a home.There are people who run to streets from abusive families, women whose partners kick them out, or those suffering from all kinds of mental and physical disorders, which don’t allow them to find a decent job. Being kicked out due to being part of the LGBTQ community, addiction to drugs and alcohol and simply financial crisis are other factors for people to be homeless. Surprisingly, there are even some who have a job. But either it is very less paying to even take care of basic necessities, especially if you have a family, or the cost of living is just too high.
When anyone finds himself on the street, his or her first instinct is to find a shelter. However, it is much easier saying this then actually succeeding at it. Shelters in the country are already too populated. At some places, a nominal fee has to be paid, which most cannot even afford. Then, even if you are lucky finding some cheap place, security remains a huge concern. From drug addicts to child molester residing, shelters are just too dangerous.
Similarly, there is an apparent risk to health since shelters are not very clean. Most of these shelters are run by Church organizations, where the rules of living are very strict. There are strict curfews and ban on consumption of alcohol and drugs, which prompts addicts to stay out of the shelters. No sinful activity is allowed, which prevents certain people from seeking help in these shelters, such as the members of the LGBTQ community.
However, the alternative to the shelters, which is streets, does not also come with many advantages. Not only is street a playground for all kinds of criminals, but severe weather conditions can make it difficult to sleep even there.
On the other hand, hunger or unavailability of a pillow is not the only problem for those who are homeless. Those who reside on the street are easily subjected to many ghastly crimes. Women are raped; old men are beaten to death, tortured and even get their things stolen. Some women are kicked out of their houses while being pregnant and they cannot even receive proper medical care.
Thus, in light of this, if people fail to respond appropriately to this issue to make little but some contribution, then the calamities in the societies will just continue to rise.
How big is the problem?
How Big Is The Problem:
Studies and numbers help to visualize the intensity of any issue. While it is not possible to report accurately the number of homeless people across all the states in America, a general report gives a close estimate. In 2018, the Housing and Urban Development conducted a survey, which was reported by NationalHomeless.org. Its key findings stated that:
On a single night in 2018, 5552,830,928 individuals were found to be homeless on a given. This number represents 17 out of every 10,000 people in the United States. (67%) of the people experiencing homelessness are individuals. The remaining (33%) are people in families with children. Youth who are under 25 and living on their own make up (7%) of the total homeless population.
Veterans also make up( 7%) of the total homeless population. While the chronically homeless make up (18%) of the total population. Men make up (70%) of the American homeless population. White Americans are the largest racial group accounting for (49%) of the homeless population.
The Helping Hands in the States:
Across the United States, many organizations and groups are promptly trying to voice out the issues of these demoralized people to resolve the issues. A prominent agency in the States is the United States Inter-agency Council on Homelessness (USICH). Partnered with 19 federal member agencies, it organizes and supports leaders such as Governors, Mayors, and other local officials, to achieve the goals of the federal strategic plan so that homelessness can be averted and ended.
On the other hand, feeding hand is a network of more than 200 food banks. It succeeds in feeding more than 46 million people through its food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other community-based agencies. Similarly, the organization Goodwill helps people by providing them with employment training, job placement services, financial education, youth mentoring and more. They heavily rely on donations.
Surprisingly, there are even blogs based on homeless people. In this regard, “Homeless man speaks” is a prominent name. It is an interesting and humorous blog, based on the short conversations between a homeless man, Tony and his friend, Philip, in Toronto. Although Tony passed away in 2011, the blog will make you feel connected with those living in the streets. In addition, HTTP://electroencephalographic/ is a photo blog of homelessness in Toronto.
Although efforts are being made to resolve this issue and shed more light on it, homelessness is still increasing at a reckless rate. The local and federal governments need actions to accommodate these people while the citizens can play a very significant role to cater to them.
The power of help and how can you attain it:
Just smile and say hi to them; it is as easy as that. Ask their name and maybe let them play with your dog. How long would it have been that they had a proper conversation with someone or had the chance to tell their name? No one likes to be an outlier, to be pushed into the corner. If you cannot help them financially, at least hear them.
Homelessness is not a lifestyle; it is hardly a life for many. We need to offer more acceptance to the fact that not everyone becomes homeless by choice. Homelessness is a plight and it is not a piece of cake to overcome it. With a snap of the finger, You nor I cannot end this. However, a small contribution of ours can make big differences in others’ lives.
There are lots of ways to help homeless people. Educate yourself on resources for the homeless. And provide help.