How many times have we seen homeless people on the streets? In big cities of the United States, there’s a big chance of seeing them daily. Young single mothers, elderly people, veterans, babies, children, mentally ill individuals have it very tough in the streets, but we have developed a kind of an immunity to their suffering accepting it as the most normal thing in the world. In fact, homelessness is a huge problem that America is facing. Millions of homeless people are roaming the streets seeking food and shelter, often being used, abused, and forgotten by our heartless society.
The sad fact is that over the past decade, the number of homeless families with children has soared. In fact, it’s one of the fastest growing segments of the homeless people, as they sum up to 40% of all homeless population.
Although the problem of homelessness is not new, it started to upsurge in the early 1970’s. After the end of Korean and Vietnam War, lots of veterans had nowhere to go and this was just the beginning. Many homeless individuals dwelled in Skid Rows – special territories with cheap housing and entertainment opportunities. When cities started to grow, the government decided to destroy Skid Rows, exchanging them with apartments and parking lots. It resulted with the significant increase of the number of homeless people. The huge recession followed in the 1980s and 11,000,000 people were laid off. Later, the administration of Reagan & Bush decreased public housing funds from 30 billion dollars to 6.7 billion, which led to the real homelessness catastrophe and only added a huge barrel of fuel to the fireplace that was already too big to handle. In the beginning of the 1990s, over 1,000,000 people were on waiting lists for homes.
When people think of a homeless person, the first thing that comes to mind is a classical “bum”. A dirty dishonest man who sits on the street and does nothing to improve his situation. In fact, this is a very small group of people, which amount is only 4% of the homeless.
In many cases, people, who have full-time jobs, don’t have a permanent residence and they are forced to search for food in trash cans and seek places to sleep. Unfortunately, people who have homes rarely think about the nightmares that homeless population has to go through. Can you imagine living in a box, sleeping on a park bench, or seeking shelter in an abandoned building or car?
How to solve this matter? Aside from the help of the government, homeless people should look for taking care of themselves. It can be done by finding a job like selling “Homeless Newspapers” or seek specialized shelters, which help homeless people to stand on their feet again.
When you see a homeless person, don’t relate to them as faceless and unimportant. It’s just a person, who has lost his or her track. Remember that a little generosity from each of us can ease their plight.
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