Walking the Streets:
The Truth about Homelessness
by Janessa Kuderer
Causes of Homelessness
Contrary to a popular belief, people do not simply choose to be homeless. Homelessness is caused by a majority of factors including:
- job loss
- natural disasters
- financial reasons
- family disputes and divorce
- loss of a loved one
- medical reasons
- domestic violence
- housing issues
- drugs and alcohol
Homelessness first hand
http://invisiblepeople.tv/blog/ is a website devoted to spreading the stories of those who are faced with homelessness. Many of the homeless were willing to share their story of how they came to be in their position and educate others about what being homeless is like.
In one story, Michael, an Iraq and Afghanistan vet, found himself back in the U.S with a drug addiction. He soon found himself homeless after losing his job. He had to learn how adjust to the cold climate, and how to survive. Now, Michael is trying to get his life, back on track.
Lisa and her young daughter Lexus are faced with homelessness. Due to medical reasons, Lisa is unable to work. After trying to stay with family, Lisa and her daughter, now find themselves in a weekly-rate hotel, thanks to some help from others.
There are many stories like Michael and Lisa's, each one shedding a different light on homelessness.
What can be done
In some major cities across America, some local governments have passed laws which they feel will help the homeless. They have made it so that it is now illegal in some cities to feed the homeless. They feel that if they can not get free food and if they are constantly being put in jail for "illegal camping", then they will decide to move to someplace they wouldn't be hassled as much. The government is also helping to fund programs. Programs, such as the National Coalition for the homeless, work to ensure that everyone has the right to shelter and affordable housing. Time needs to be spent focusing on building or finding homes for the homeless but at the same time, improving the shelters so that the homeless can go there so that they can find a home.
The homeless can help themselves by spending time helping their community. If others see them spending time helping the community then people may be more willing to help them. Helping in the community may also help build their self-esteem, and the help build their social circle. By doing this they can build a support group for themselves.
Members of the community can get involved with organizations such as the National Coalition for the Homeless. Members could also set up things like soup kitchens in their community, that would help out those who need it. The community can organize food drives, and coat drives as well.