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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28 Urban Slang Terms Every New Yorker Knows

It's dead ass mad brick out today.
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The New York City youth is greatly influenced by hip-hop culture, and hip-hop culture is continuously influenced by New York City. With the colorful expressions found in both hip-hop and the streets of New York, colorful language is inevitable. The truth is, you're not a real New Yorker if you've never heard these terms before.

1. Whack = (adj) used to describe something that is appalling in nature

"That's whack!"

2. Grill = (v) to stare, usually impolitely; to give a dirty look

"Dude stop grilling my girlfriend, I know her spray tan looks whack."

3. To front/Fronting = (v) to put on a façade; acting like you are something that you are not.

"Stop fronting like you own the place."

4. Cop = (v) to buy

"I'm about to cop some chips, you want some?"

5. Catch these hands = phrase used to initiate a fight

"If that girl keeps grilling me she can catch these hands."

Variations: throw these hands; throw hands; catch this fade

6. Crusty = (adj) used to describe someone who is dirty or trashy

"Girl, did you shower today? Your hair is looking all types of musty, dusty, and crusty."

Synonyms: musty; dusty

7. Lit = (adj) used to describe someone or something that is amazing in every sense

Variations: litty

8. Mad = (adv) very

"Stay away from her, bro. She has mad problems."

Synonyms: dumb; OD; stupid

9. Dumb = (adv) extremely

"This party is dumb lit."

Synonyms: mad; OD; stupid

10. Brick = (adj) very cold

"Damn, it's mad brick out."

11. Tight = (v) to be upset

"Stop running your fingers through my hair; you're getting me dumb tight."

12. Thirsty = (adj) desperate; (n) someone who is desperate

"I didn't tag you in my photo because I don't want any thirsties following you."

Variations: thirsties (n)

13. Buggin' = freaking out; acting up

"My mom just asked me to clean all the dishes even though it's not my turn. She's buggin."

Synonyms: wylin'/wildin'

14. Son = (n) a good friend

"Of course I know him, that's my son!"

Synonyms: B

15. B = (n) a good friend

"What's good, B?"

16. Sus = shady or false

*Short for "suspect" or "suspicious"

"That girl is mad sus for looking at me like that."

17. Dead ass = (adj) seriously

"You're dead ass getting me tight, B."

*Could also be used as follows:

"Dead ass?" = Are you serious?

"Dead ass!" = Yes.

18. Guap = (n) money

"Okay, this to all of my enemies that seeing me gettin' guap right now." -- Big Sean

Synonyms: Mulah; dough; casheesh

19. Grimey = (adj) used to describe a back-stabber

"I'm telling you, bro. He's mad grimey, don't trust him."

20. You woulda thought = a more exciting way to say "no"

"You woulda thought I was going to let you use my laptop to log on to your shady-ass websites."

21. OD/Ohdee/Odee = (adj) excessive; an abbreviation for "over-doing"

"Man, my professor just assigned OD work on BlackBoard."

Synonyms: mad; dumb

22. Wylin'/Wildin' = out of control

"That girl was wildin' last night when she threatened to throw hands at you for no reason."

Synonyms: buggin'

23. Facts = (adj) something that is rooted in truth

"That's a fact, B."

Synonyms: true

24. Snuff = (v) to punch

"I should've never threatened to throw hands. He straight up snuffed me in the throat."

Synonyms: rock

25. Wavy = (adj) used to describe something that is cool or nice

"I’m so wavy in the turbo Porsche, she so wavy in the new Mercedes" -- Ty Dolla $ign

Synonyms: dope, lit

26. Kicks = (n) sneakers

"Where'd you cop those kicks from?"

27. Beef = (n) having a fight or holding a grudge against another person or group of people

"Tommy told me you guys have beef."

28. Ice = (n) jewelry

"Ice on my neck cost me 10 times 3." -- D.R.A.M.

Variations: icy (adj)

Cover Image Credit: BKNPK

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Never Ask Your 'Black' Friend These 8 Questions

Don't do it, Karen, just don't. I know you weren't raised to be culturally sensitive but please just don't.

msmry
msmry
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Going to a PWI and finding yourself as the only black person in your friend group sometimes can offer you the title of "Honorary Know-It-All" regarding your race and culture. Now before you start yelling at your technological device, don't.

Giphy

I am not saying it is not OK to ask questions especially if you want to be more informed about who to interact with those of minority races. It is good to try and be more informed about a different culture but sometimes the way people try to achieve this can be insensitive.

"OMG Your hair looks so soft! May I touch it?"

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No! Just No! I don't care if it would make your year you can not touch my hair. And for Pete's sake do not do that thing were you ask but YOU ARE ALREADY TOUCHING MY HAIR. Seriously, what was the point of asking? Foreal those don't ask and don't touch unless maybe it's like your best friend. Most people of color work very hard to get there hair perfect and also we don't know where your hands have been. No touchy!

"Is that all your hair?"

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Just don't. Like, seriously just don't. And also don't assume you know the answer because there are a lot of black women now that have a lot of hair. Not to mention because our society pressures us to fit this ideal image that usually results in the damaging of our hair we often use fake hair to protect our own from the everlasting effects of colonization — sorry, I meant "relaxers." (Not really.)

"Where are you 'really' from?"

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OK, this goes for all minorities. Do not do the whole "well where are you "really" from?" because you not "really" from here either Karen. Especially for black people this is a question that is directly related back to colonization because half of us have no clue were our ancestors came from and the chances of us ever knowing is basically none because of the everlasting effect of you know whipping out an entire civilization for reasons I still say is bullshit.

Why is it OK for black people to say the "N" word?

Giphy

OK, let's get one thing straight even we can not come to condenses on this topic. However, it is NOT OK for anyone who is not black to say the "n" word. Why is this you ask? Let me give you a history lesson.

The "N" word is a racial slur often directed towards those of African descent. This term is deeply rooted in a very racially charged era of American history and sadly is still used today to have the same offensive derogatory effects typically when coming from those, not of African descent. Now there have been some efforts to rebrand and claim words that were used to degrade areas in society and the word "nigga" is one of those. Again, even we can't get on the same page with this but I would say us using the term is a way of reclaiming the past that was intended to break us down.

"Do you have a mom AND a dad?"

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"You sure that's your name?"

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Yes, I am sure! This is the bane of my existence. My name is MARY ELIZABETH MINNS. And yes, it is spelled just like the queen of England. No, it is not Marri, not Marre, not Merri, not Merre or any other convoluted way you can find to spell my name. No, not all black people have some unique name with some unique spelling.

"You DON'T like chicken and watermelon?"

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Yes, I am black and I am proud. But no I do not necessarily live on fried chicken and watermelon so if you invite me over don't ask if that's what I want. I would rather have pasta. Do not make assumptions off of any type of stereotype but especially this one.

"Can you swim?"/ "Really, you can swim?"

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Yes, I can swim and so can other black people. No, not all of us are good at track and basketball and yes, some of us can swim and enjoy it too. I mean for Pete's sake, our ancestors were brought over in boats and there is still a bunch of us in the Bahamas.

This is, of course, supposed to be a light-hearted way of addressing a serious issue. But, next time you are talking to your minority friends, just be aware and culturally sensitive. Think before you speak. I mean really think before you speak.

msmry
msmry

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