Is Tallahassee's Homeless Population A Rising Problem?
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Student Life

Is Tallahassee's Homeless Population A Rising Problem?

Could Tallahassee's homeless population be taking their methods of asking for money to the extent of making the community's inhabitants uncomfortable? Better yet, is it possible to help get these people off the streets and into a life of potential?

Is Tallahassee's Homeless Population A Rising Problem?

Everyone knows Tallahassee as the state capital of Florida. Prestige, beauty and excellence represent this small town as it ranges from holding the state capitol, to the high-ranking Florida State University. In a town like this, you would expect everything to be sparkly roads of garnet and gold. However, the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

In a town where there may be much opportunity and young life, there is also a large population of people who are homeless. Now, I don't mean your occasional homeless soul sitting down in an alley no one crosses, oh, no. I'm talking about students who walk out of their dorms on the corner of Dewey St., getting harassed for money and/or food. Or, people casually dining in Mcdonalds and getting verbally and physically harassed for money, also on the corner of Dewey Street. Even a single trip to the strip, a series of clubs, you are bound to be asked for money or food.

See, my problem is not the fact we have homeless people on the streets, but the manner in which they approach people about food or money. Actually, no. Let's establish that the problem is that we do have too many homeless people on our streets. It's sad, and as a community so much more could be done for these people. Did you know that a homeless person has to voluntarily check themselves into a homeless shelter? So basically, we're asking a majority population of people with terrible drug addictions and mental illnesses to decide what is or isn't good for them- they wouldn't know. Their mental state doesn't allow them to make proper sense of things. Rather than getting them off the streets ourselves, they are allowed to prowl the streets living empty lives, not realizing that the harassment they are partaking in is not ok. They don't know any better! From what it looks, the number of people standing on corners asking for money in Tallahassee isn't getting any lower. Rather than letting it happen, something needs to be done to make potential of the lives of these individuals.

A couple of weeks ago, I was leaving from studying with some friends on campus. As I was heading to my car behind Degraff Hall on Dewey Street, a homeless woman with fright in her eyes and shakey hands grabbed me by the arm and said, "please, my child is hungry! I'm pregnant and I need food! Help me please"! Whether she was actually pregnant or not, I did feel sympathy for the woman. She just kept speaking in incoherent sentences, almost to herself, and all I could think is how the current situation must appear in her own mind. I knew what she was doing, I mean harassing someone for money, was not right. I took 3 dollars out of my pocket and held it in her hand, without letting go. I looked her in the eyes and said, "listen, ma'am. Listen to me. You can't do this. You can't be harassing people for money. You're a nice lady, I can tell. However, people won't be as nice as me and that puts your life in danger. You need to take care of yourself. There's shelters all around here. Do yourself a favor and please take care of yourself". Now, whether she understood me or not, she was overjoyed by the 3 dollars I gave her and that was enough to leave me satisfied. She just changed, "thank you! Bless you! Thank you so much! I love you!".

The majority of the homeless population suffer so many mental illnesses and drug addictions and it is not fair that they have to live in such a state. No one knows this because they do not care to know. They don't know that a homeless shelter will be good for them. They don't know that rehab is a thing. They don't know they have the potential to still turn their lives into something. In a community where there's potential and so much attention to crime with the countless patrol cars constantly on any sight you come across, there is no excuse as to why such a large population of people have to live homeless. This is only the start of something I have just realized, and hopefully that many people realize. This is only the start to a change I know I can try and make, or I'll die having tried. No one has to live not knowing when is the next meal they are gonna eat or whether they will have somewhere to sleep. If people care enough, the same way I do, change can be made.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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