- You don't have to give TONS of money to be helpful, give what you can and you will help people. - Richard LeMieux
- Understanding homelessness requires a grasp of several social issues: poverty, affordable housing, etc. - National Alliance to End Homelessness
- If we end up with cash, we can actually help the local economy finding the needs and helping the people, - Salvation Army
- People make rationalizations to ignore them; they need to get a job, they're homeless for a reason - Kevin McKinstry
A Call To Action
Homelessness is a real problem in all communities. You can help make an impact to resolve this problem.
Homelessness is a very real and misunderstood situation that affects over one million Americans. The perception, or stereotypes, of homeless people are that their condition is a natural consequence of laziness, a lack of motivation, or they are crazy and dangerous. I have even heard stories that some people that are begging actually have money and have places to live or have expensive campers that they go to after they are done begging on the streets.
The reality is very different. People of all ages and from all walks of life may find themselves homeless for a wide variety of reasons, and suddenly reliant on various charities or the goodwill of friends for shelter and survival.
First of all you need to understand who the homeless are, the stereotypes, lazy, crazy and dangerous, just doesn't cut it. Many homeless people are among the working poor, even with a job many people can not earn enough to stay afloat. After one bad blow, a health crisis or a family emergency and they are left without a place to stay.
While a few of the homeless are mentally ill or substance abusers, it is estimated to be less than twenty five percent of the homeless population. The majority of the homeless can become self sufficient with some help. As for the dangerous label, the homeless are among the least threatening group in our society. If anything, they are among the biggest statistical group of victims, not the perpetrators of crimes.
So the first step in helping the homeless is to change our attitude about them. While circumstances can vary, the main reason people experience homelessness is because they cannot find housing they can afford. The main reality behind this inability to acquire or maintain housing is the scarcity of affordable housing in the United States – particularly in more urban areas where homelessness is prevalent. Many of these people have lost their self confidence and feelings of having some worth.
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