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Homelessness: Why We Should Care

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Homeless people are people too; just like the rest of us more-fortunate. Odds are that you walk by them everyday if you live in a city, and if you are like the majority, you ignore them. We rush our steps, glance at our smart phones, hold our breath, clench our wallet, all in hopes that we get by without making contact with the beggar. Come on. The most beautiful thing that exists in this world today is the attitude of help. We have so much help contained in our being that needs to be distributed! It is understandable that people may be skeptical about where their giving dollar will end up; then don’t give them a dollar. Give a homeless person a bite to eat, a drink, a blanket, clothes, gloves, a handshake, a smile, even just a minute of your day. Talk to them, encourage them, the last thing they truly need is a dollar. Essentially, homelessness is a problem that needs to be cared for because we are too advanced as a society to still have people sleeping on the streets with nowhere to go.

An essay by Anabel Ortega, who runs a blog dealing with topics on homelessness, makes several good points about the homeless situation, such as how big cities like San Fransisco and Los Angeles should be implementing more programs aimed towards helping the homeless. But instead, those two cities punish the homeless for being homeless. With their “Sit-Lie Ordinance” the homeless can get punished for something as harmless as sitting and asking for money in a public place. I agree with Ortega’s opinion where she says, “This is completely ridiculous; most homeless people do not have another choice but to sleep on the streets, and they certainly don’t have the money to pay their fines. Cities shouldn’t punish them for that.” If anything, that time that is being focused on punishing the homeless could be better implemented in helping the homeless. Next, you will further see why we should address the homeless crisis in an essay by Phil York.

Phil York, Coordinator of Grants and Contracts at Waco Habitat for Humanity, makes intelligent remarks that have opened my eyes in how I see homelessness. For example, when most people think of homelessness, they usually think of some lazy, deadbeat alcoholic that is trying to make an easy living by bumming off of the rest of the population. But we forget that there are also children out there that are also living on the streets; children! York says:

“If youth are subject to homelessness they are also subject to health hazards that are easily acquired by living on the streets such as communicable diseases . Also, children experiencing homelessness are four times more likely to show delayed development and twice as likely to have learning disabilities as non-homeless children.” That statement brought a new perspective into my life. Children usually are not to blame for homelessness, and are essentially victims of their guardian’s misfortune. They are the future, and are innocent, little humans that have no idea or means to be able to make it on the streets by themselves. York goes on to show that a very interesting fact: “Sadly, Youth are a growing demographic among America’s homeless. Nationwide, homelessness among K-12 age students saw a 10 percent rise from 1,065,794 to 1,168,354.” As you can see, it is not a tiny problem, but something fairly huge that needs to be cared for.

The similarities that I noticed from both essays is that they obviously both agree that homelessness needs to be addressed. They both believe in supporting more programs that are aimed towards helping the homeless population. Ortega addresses the national problem more so than York, as York’s essay deals specifically with his locality. But, they both make great points that homeless programs need to be more well funded. Both perspectives have been eye-opening for me, and I plan on using this information to try to make a difference in the homeless agenda.

Words Cited

Ortega, Anabel. “The Debate Over Homelessness.” : Homelessness in America: Why Should We Help the Homeless? N.p., 11 Jan. 2013. Web. 18 Oct. 2014.

York, Phil. “Why We Should Care about Housing and Homelessness.” Act Locally Waco. N.p., n.d. Web.

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