578,000 Live Homeless On Any Given Night

578,000 Live Homeless On Any Given Night

The devastation homelessness brings about in an individual is clearly evident, so why aren’t we doing more about it?
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Approximately 100 million people worldwide are homeless.

In the United States alone, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported in 2014 that 578,000 people live homeless on any given night in the U.S.

An estimated 1.5 million Americans experience homelessness each year, a national figure that has doubled since the 1980s.

Homelessness, simply put, is an issue of lacking a livable, permanent shelter. However, the deeper existing issue is the lack of personal space that provides the protection, stability, and rest one needs in order to maintain a healthy state of mind. Still deeper is the issue of lacking a living environment that meets one’s physical and psychological needs.

A home is much more than a “roof over one’s head.” While that is essential, home is about the resources and personal space necessary for one’s growth as a healthy, stable individual. Without such a home, life can become meaningless for an individual.

The homeless are often driven to dire states of mental and emotional instability, because resources are not readily available and genuine relationships with loved ones are nonexistent.

The devastation homelessness brings about in an individual is clearly evident - so why aren’t we doing more about it?

This past week, I went with a group to a home that helped families who were in transition.

Families “in transition” are those who became homeless very recently due to unfortunate events like a job retrenchment, divorce, domestic abuse, or death. Therefore, these families didn’t have anywhere to go but to this home which would provide them with a place to live until they would be able to get back up on their feet.

In talking to the families, they told me repeatedly that they were so incredibly grateful for a home like this to live in, as well as for outside groups to come in and make dinner for them. They were so thankful. The kids especially -- the look on their faces when our group brought out a simple dessert for them to eat was priceless.

We had a wonderful time hearing their stories, and sharing our own. When they hugged us goodbye, they asked when we could come again. They told us that it wasn’t often they had groups coming in to take the time to make dinner and eat with them.

Something inside me broke when I heard that. Really? Preparing a simple meal doesn't take too much time, and yet there aren't too many people willing to do that.

People who have never been homeless don’t realize that homelessness is probably the hardest thing someone can ever go through. And they don’t realize how easy it is to become homeless.

I was reminded through this experience that my family, because of one unfortunate event, could easily become homeless too, and if it wasn’t for people who recognized that homelessness is a major social issue, these families wouldn’t have anywhere to go or anyone to turn to. They would just be a number, and without the care of others, they would be left ignored, unnoticed, and unloved.

Here’s some food for thought: It doesn’t take much to extend your compassion to a family in need. Take the time to hear their stories. You never know the impact it could have on your own life.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.troymedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/neighbor.jpg

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

https://secure.img1-ag.wfcdn.com/im/d5ea3c03/resize-h2000-p1-w2000%5Ecompr-r85/3021/30217778/Express+6+Volt+Cordless+Bagless+Handheld+Vacuum.jpg

One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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We're All Thinking It, I'm Saying It: Too Many People Are Running For President

I'm all for options, but man, do we really need 24? I mean, I can barely pick a flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins let alone a potential President.

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There are, currently, 23 Democrats running for President. On the Republican side, there's, of course, Trump, but only one other candidate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. Democrats have a whole range of people running, from senators to congressmen, a former vice-president, and even a spiritual advisor. We can now say that there are DOZENS of people running for President in 2020.

Joe Biden has been leading the pack for quite some time now. He was even leading polls before he announced his campaign. Although he is the frontrunner, there really is no big favorite to win the nomination. Biden has been hovering around the mid-30s in most polls, with Bernie Sanders coming in second. Other minor candidates in the hunt are Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris.

After the surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016, Democrats have become electrified and have a mission to take back the White House after winning back the House of Representatives in 2018. There are so many people running in 2020, it seems that it will be hard to focus on who is saying what and why someone believes in something, but in the end, there can only be one candidate. This is the most diverse group of candidates ever, several women are running, people of color, the first out gay candidate, and several more.

There could be a problem when it comes to debate time. I mean, the first debate is next month. Having around 20-plus people on stage at the same time, debating each other kinda sounds like a nightmare. How can someone get their point across in the right amount of time when someone else is going to cut them off? Debates are usually around an hour and a half. So, if you divide it up, each candidate would get just under five minutes to speak. That would be in a perfect world of course.

Democrats seriously believe that they can beat Trump in 2020. They say they have learned from the mistakes of 2016, and have the guts and the momentum to storm back into the White House. By July of next year, there will be only one candidate left. Will they be able to reconcile the divide during the primaries? We will see. It will surely be a fun election cycle, so make sure to have your popcorn ready and your ballot at hand to pick your favorite candidate, no matter what party you lean towards.

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