Homeless, But Not Helpless

Homeless, But Not Helpless

New programs and initiatives are getting homeless people back to work.
171
views

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

Popular Right Now

My Asexuality Is The Last Thing I Hate About Myself

Oh, by the way - mom and dad, I'm Ace!
4086
views

This week my fellow UCF Odyssey writer and asexual Chris Mari wrote an article explaining his asexuality and his complete detest for it. He goes into detail about how is sexual orientation developed, what it is, and how he feels about how it affects his relationships. It is a really insightful article about the accepting process of discovering your own sexuality.

However, I feel like Chris is taking this the wrong way. Being asexual, or any sexuality for that matter, is nothing to be ashamed of and you should never hate yourself for it. It took me a while to figure it out and it took me even longer to accept it. But once I did, my life, relationships, and my view on my asexuality got better. I don't see it as a curse or a disease. I see it as being a part of the awesome person I am (not to brag).

There are many things that I don't like about myself, but my sexuality is not one of them. I hate that I am messy, that I like to mix all of the fountain drinks into one cup, and that I am a terrible driver. I do not hate the fact that I am a five-foot-two asexual woman who eats a lot of pasta.

To be clear, like most sexualities asexuality has a spectrum with different attraction levels and variances between each individual. There are many types of asexuality and each type varies on sexual orientation, lack of sexual attraction, and romantic orientation, which is completely different from sexual orientation. At its core, being asexual means that you lack sexual attraction to others, have low sexual desire, and never initiate sexual activity.

Asexuality means many things to many different people. You can still be in a sexual relationship with someone and still consider yourself to be asexual. You can be attracted to others and still have romantic relationships and still be asexual. It does not have to confine you, your relationship, or you sex/non-sex life.

Unlike Chris, I figured out my asexuality as a teen. Around my senior year in high school, I noticed that I wasn't experiencing the same feelings towards sex and sexual desire as a lot of my friends. For a long time, I thought that there was something wrong with me. I blamed it on me being "too mature" for relationships in high school, and that "all the guys in my grade were unattractive." Which, by the way, was not true.

It wasn't until I started Googling these question I had that I found out what the issue was. I am asexual. And it wasn't until the first relationship I had that I realized I was more of a gray-asexual than strictly asexual. I sometimes feel sexual attraction to others, but only when a strong emotional connection is formed, and even then my sexual attraction is little to none.

Having sex does not mean having a relationship and having a relationship does not mean having sex. Trust me, I know. A romantic relationship is built on a strong emotional connection, respect, and intimacy, which does not necessarily mean sex. My past relationships were built on strong emotional connections and mutual respect. Sometimes there have been feeling of sexual attraction, but in a lot of cases, there weren't. If/when I am in a relationship, there is a lot of emotional intimacy, caring, and a lot more Netflix binging than in most non-asexual relationships.

Chris, it sounds like you are still dealing with the fact that you are asexual. And let me tell you, from my own experience, once you accept it your feelings towards it won't be so negative. There is an entire community of people like you and I that understand what you are going through. But this is something that you shouldn't hate yourself for.

Being asexual does not mean you are broken, have a disease, and are not capable of being in a relationship. If you surround yourself with accepting people, accept who you are as a person, and find that person who loves you for who you are and not your asexuality, then you will see how awesome it is to be who you are meant to be. Trust me, it's good to be part of the plus! We give it that extra credit!

Cover Image Credit: Jon Ly

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

I Am A Biracial Woman And I Am Terrified Of Love To The Point Of Silence

I wonder if any love I ever feel will be reciprocated.
21
views

I have always, always been independent. I like to do things my way, on my own time, without the help of others. And although I have created this harsh exterior I have always, without a doubt believed in true love. But love, to any extent, as a person of color, terrifies me to the point of solitude. Even more than that, being a biracial woman seeking love continues to be a battle.

I cannot put into words how frustrated I constantly feel because I so deeply want love. I deserve love.

For a lot of people, the mere idea of falling in love is terrifying; the idea of needing somebody like that is hard to grasp. But for me, my fear stems from the idea that no love I feel will ever be reciprocated. I doubt that I will ever be enough because I am some mixed breed.

For nearly every aspect of my life, I have complete confidence in myself. I never questioned if I deserved to get into Butler. I never doubt whether I can handle a challenge, or if I'm worthy of a position because I know how hard I work for everything in my life. I know that I pour my entire heart into whatever I care about -- and when it comes down to it that is always enough.

Yet, I cannot say the same for love. So, this is me finally admitting it -- I never pursue love because I am not certain if I am worthy of love. And I am not confident that I will ever be enough. I find myself wondering if I give my all to somebody whether that will be enough, or if I will fall short of success because I am biracial.

Honestly, I’ve never been one to have a physical type. I guess, if anything, I like dark hair, but even that is up in the air. I am drawn to people because of their morals, their values. But even if I find the most accepting man in the world, that doesn’t mean his family will be the same. The thought of a future boyfriend introducing me to his family makes my stomach tie itself into knots.

I am terrified of being rejected from a family because I am “too black” or of being accepted because I am “white enough”. I am horrified that I will be forced to prove my worth, as a human, because of the color of my skin. I simply don’t think I can handle being shunned because I am not “black enough” or because I “deny my culture”.

More than anything, I am mad at myself. I cannot talk to any man without assuming he has a hidden agenda.

Am I pretty, or am I pretty for a black girl?

Is he asking to take me on a date because he sees something in me, or does he see me as easy?

Am I just another sexual object?

Is he fetishizing my identity?

Is he trying me out, so he can check dating a brown girl off his list?

Am I good enough for a fling, but never to bring home to Momma?

Will he ever see me as truly beautiful compared to American standards?

My race dances in limbo. There is no place where my worlds can overlap. And so, I am forced to choose, while simultaneously I am rejected from both. And if there is no place for me, how could there possible be a place for me to be loved?

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Related Content

Facebook Comments