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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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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How Growing Up In A Culturally Diverse Environment Changed Me

We are all human.

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I can proudly say that I am from Montgomery County, Maryland, more specifically from the city of Gaithersburg. According to a 2018 study by WalletHub, three of the top 10 culturally diverse cities in the United States are located in Montgomery County. Those cities include Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Silver Spring.

I have lived in Montgomery County ever since the day I was born. Growing up in such a culturally and economically diverse area has educated me with the value of accepting differences. Since I was exposed to an assortment of cultures at such a young age, I hardly ever noticed differences among my peers and I. The everyday exposure to various cultures taught me to embrace diversity and look beyond appearances such as the color of someone's skin. I was able to open my eyes to other ideas, lifestyles, and backgrounds.

Ever since I was a child, I was not only taught to welcome different cultures and ethnic groups, but I was always surrounded by them. From my elementary to high school years, every classroom was filled with racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity. Coming from someone apart of the Caucasian race, I was often the minority in school. Not everyone is as fortunate to experience such a multicultural society.

Since being from Montgomery County, I have grown up as a person with an open mind and strong values. Diversity has not only taught me to be more mindful but has also helped me become more of a respectful person. Learning about other cultures and backgrounds is essential to help societies strive, but experiencing it firsthand is something that no one can teach you.

After being in countless culturally diverse situations, I have been provided with many lifelong advantages. I was taught to be inclusive, fair, and understanding. I am able to be comfortable and accepting of all cultures and religions. After growing up in such a culturally diverse environment, I now develop culture shock when I'm not surrounded by diversity.

Our world is filled with numerous different kinds of cultures, ethnic groups, and religions. Being raised in a diverse environment has prepared me for what the real world looks like and taught me exactly what equality means. As I was growing up, I was always taught to be nonjudgemental of others and to embrace all individuals for who they are.

Diversity molds our identities. Every individual is unique, but each of us shares at least one trait — we are all human. Who would rather experience a homogeneous society, when they could constantly be learning about other cultures and building diverse relationships? When growing up, I never realized how impacted and truly thankful I would be to of had the opportunities to experience diversity each day. So here is a long overdue thank you to my parents for choosing to raise me in such an incredibly diverse place all of my life.

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