I never imagined that I would be homeless,” although I have read this statement made over and over again, the facts behind it remain astonishing. The facts are that there are millions of homeless people in America today. Many of these people had no choice but to become homeless. Economic problems such as being laid off work or the rise in the cost of housing have led people to live on the streets.
Many of the homeless are women who have become divorced or have left home because of physical abuse. These women have not been given the chance to get the education required nowadays to get a job, so they are forced to live on the streets. They have no family to help them, leaving them with no other choice. People with mental illnesses also become homeless quite often. These individuals are incapable of handling the stress of living on their own. They often get kicked out of their homes and are too ashamed to go to their families because of their illness, so we see them on the streets struggling to stay warm.
Teenage mothers are forced to live on the streets because their families will not help them. The fathers are absent, which also contributes to their homelessness. As a result, they may resort to prostitution to provide for their children’s basic needs. Many other individuals become homeless for various reasons, some of which are beyond their control. For instance, illegal immigrants come to this country seeking a better life but often lack the financial means to survive in our challenging world.
Teenage runaways have different reasons for leaving home, but they all become homeless because they do not have enough money. Some are drug and alcohol abusers, and others are disabled. We need to find a way to help these people.
There have been many programs available to help the homeless, but they have only succeeded in the short run and failed in the long run. Homelessness has existed in America since colonial times, and not much progress has been made in the 200 plus years in helping these people. We have adopted programs such as FDR’s New Deal, in which the government produced more jobs that required little skill and made them available to the poor. Social Security, which is not welfare, was adopted and is still in effect. You pay into it while you work, and if you become unable to work for some reason, you will have this money.
HUD housing is available to the homeless and the poor. Additionally, we have AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) and Welfare, which provide federal money to the homeless and poor to help them get back on their feet. However, these programs seem to focus more on helping the poor with homes rather than those without. We must find ways to assist the homeless. There are many shelters where the homeless can go to escape the cold and sleep on a cot instead of a bench or the hard ground. However, families may find it dangerous to sleep there, fearing that their few possessions will be stolen.
We should make these places safer for the homeless and set up programs within these shelters that will help them find jobs and homes. We could open vacant apartment buildings and have the homeless stay there so that they have an address to use when applying for jobs. We could use some of the money currently allocated for small shelters to set up larger ones in the cities that need them most. Additionally, we could all volunteer some of our time to serve dinners to these people and help build homes for the homeless.
We could give a little of our money to those who have none. A little of our time will go a long way. Homelessness is a big problem in our country today, but there are very few programs set up to help them. We all need to work together to help those less fortunate because you would want someone to help you if you were in that position, so we should do our best to help them.