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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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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