Homeless, But Not Helpless

Homeless, But Not Helpless

New programs and initiatives are getting homeless people back to work.
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This past March, Frederick Callison, who had been homeless in Sacramento for two years, got a job.

How did he do it? Each day, he sat outside of a grocery store, like many other homeless men and women. But rather than simply hold up a sign begging for money, he had a pile of resumes stacked neatly beside him. Callison has a large and impressive background of cooking work and kitchen management, but after some bad luck, he ended up living without work or a home for two years.

Rather than give up and become defeated, Callison maintained faith in his own skills and experience and proactively sought out new work, handing out his resume to anyone who'd take it. And his tactic--distributing resumes rather than panhandling for spare change--eventually paid off. After a man going grocery shopping saw Callison sitting outside, he spoke with him for a while, and picked up his resume. He posted it on Facebook, commending the homeless man on his determination to improve his life, and asked his friends to pass it along. Not long after, Callison was offered a job cooking in a downtown pizza restaurant.

His story has since spread widely as an example of why the stereotypes of homeless people can often be far from the truth. There are plenty of others like him who have run into misfortune, lost jobs or family, and have been forced to live on the streets. But that doesn't mean they aren't competent, hard workers who crave a better life and the chance to work.

On a single night in January of 2015, an estimated 564,708 people were homeless in the United States, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. This statistic includes all people sleeping outside or in emergency shelters and housing programs. In the past two years, 33 states reported decreased homelessness, while 16 states had increased overall homelessness. Veteran homelessness is also slowly decreasing throughout the country. And though the problem may be getting slowly better in many areas of the country, homelessness still remains a large problem in the U.S., and one that many organizations and individuals are working to combat.

Last year in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a program was started to pay the homeless to do daily work. Each morning, a city van drives through various neighborhoods, asking homeless individuals if they'd like to work for the day and be payed $9/hour (which is above the minimum wage). They can take up to 10 people per day to do beautification and landscaping jobs around the city. The van's driver, Will Cole, said in an article that it typically isn't hard to find 10 people who are more than willing to work, though they get a few no's from time to time as well.

Cole's van is one of several recent initiatives enacted by the state of New Mexico in an attempt to provide more resources for the homeless, and to help them get off the streets.

More and more, I hear news of new homeless housing projects or citizens finding creative ways to help the homeless. Even so, the public perspective of the homeless remains fairly negative. Many people tend to assume that people are homeless because they're criminals, uneducated, drug addicts, and so on. While this can certainly be the case for some, it's also true that many homeless people simply ran into misfortune, lost a job or couldn't afford to feed their families. There are plenty of good, honest, hardworking people who ended up without a home, and would do anything to turn their lives around.

As time goes on, it's more and more important that people who are homeless and looking for work try new tactics like Callison did, rather than give up all hope. At the same time, it's also essential that organizations like the National Alliance to End Homelessness, StandUp for Kids, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, and many others continue receiving the funding and support they need to eventually end homelessness for good.

Cover Image Credit: http://kindakind.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/o-HOMELESS-PERSON-facebook.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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Being Able To Read Comic Books And See Myself In Them Is Even Better

Superheroes aren't just white, able bodied, straight men anymore.

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When the word "superhero" comes into most people's minds, we've traditionally pictured a white, able-bodied man in a spandex costume, saving his city. That norm is quickly changing and here are some examples of that change.

1. The increase of superheroes of color

While their movie counterparts are still dominated by white people, comic books have become more and more racially diverse. There has been a small percentage of POC superheroes for quote sometime now, but comic book makers are coming out with a whole slew of new characters who are racially diverse. As a Filipina, I was over the moon when I heard about Marvels newest superhero, Wave. There are almost no Filipino superheroes in mainstream comic books, so I hope that Wave will eventually make her way to the MCU!

2. Disabled superheroes exist

This isn't a well-known fact, but some of your favorite superheroes are disabled. There are superheroes who are blind, paralyzed, deaf, have learning disabilities, etc., but it doesn't stop them from fighting the bad guys! A good number of disabled superheroes rely on their disabilities as their superpower or to increase their abilities. I think that it's important to show that being a superhero isn't just something that is exclusive to able-bodied people.

3. Move over princesses, little girls are now looking up to superheroes

I'm not saying princesses are being abandoned entirely, but I've seen more little girls running around the toy section of Target, waving around action figures and superhero masks. I'm kind of jealous because I certainly didn't get to do that when I was their age. With the increase of women in crime-fighting roles, it's easy to see why a younger generation of girls is becoming more interested in superheroes. It's empowering to see that these female characters can be confident leaders with the ability to defend themselves from danger, not waiting for a guy to save them.

4. The new age of superheroes is LGBTQA+ and proud!

Alongside the rise of new POC superheroes also comes the rise in openly queer superheroes. There has been a history of queer superheroes, but almost none of them are mainstream or their queer identity is not widely known. Many younger superheroes are being written as queer and maybe it's a reflection of how younger generations are more open about their sexuality?

I think that this increase in diversity across all matters is something that our society needs and has needed for a long time. Being able to see a strong character who also shares a similar background to you is inspiring and is a reminder that you can be just as strong and confident as your favorite superhero!

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