Can the homeless be truly helped in any way? Is it helpful to give the beggar a dollar? Do you need answers quickly, or do you want to participate in finding them? The greatest obstacle is that homeless people are not a homogeneous group with uniform needs; hence, no single approach will be practical for everyone.
To begin, the factors that led to their plight are distinctive. Addictions to drugs and alcohol do play a role in some of these cases. Some people have emotional problems. The population of people who leave abusive relationships is expanding incredibly rapidly. The downward spiral of losing one’s work and possessions might go to some people with nowhere to turn but the streets.
Therefore, you can choose between a long-term remedy and a temporary repair. Jobs and low-cost housing are part of the long-term solution. Addictions, psychological and emotional support, and occupational and familial guidance are prominent in the long-term action plan. To prevent individuals from returning to the streets, long-term solutions focus on their financial stability and mental health.
However, given that most readers are merely interested in a concise response, we will now offer some thoughts on how to assist the homeless in managing their day-to-day concerns. While these solutions are unquestionably critical to their survival, they only help them cope with living on the street.
When you encounter a person holding a sign that reads “Will Work for Food,” what do you do? Is your response to put money out the window? To what extent do you deny seeing them? We all want to treat the homeless properly and justly, but no one likes dealing with them directly since their needs sometimes seem overwhelming.
To better assist the homeless you encounter, please consider the following
First of all, please don’t give the homeless any money. Donate to the shelter that houses and cares for them. Unfortunately, even when their “hard luck” stories are accurate, well-meaning gifts are sometimes misused and used to get high or drunk. If the person seems hungry, offer to buy them lunch. A homeless person might gain great respect and dignity from a kind conversationalist who takes the time to chat with them. It’s not simply being friendly to the homeless but equips them with a tool to combat the social alienation, sadness, and paranoia they often experience.
People living on the streets come in every shade of the rainbow. You never know who you will meet; they could be a beaten woman, an addict, an unemployed person, etc. Only around a quarter of the homeless population is indeed the alcoholic old man stereotype. Remember that they are still persons even as you interact with them, and treat them with dignity. Could you drop them off at a homeless shelter? Most shelters provide emergency shelters where homeless people can get food and a place to stay immediately. The underlying causes of homelessness are addressed through the extensive treatment options many organizations offer. Many also provide “tickets” that the homeless can redeem for a hot meal, a place to sleep, and sometimes even the chance to participate in a rehabilitation program. Years of a person’s life are lost due to environmental hazards, dirt, occasional violence, and a lack of meaning. Many of the broken can be brought to God via your prayers and the harshness and futility of life on the street. Then, remember the homeless in your prayers.
That leaves you with very nothing to do. They require food, clothing, and footwear immediately. To transport food to shelters for the needy. Make arrangements with your neighborhood supermarket to receive their day-old stock and daily scraps. Get to a safe place. If you’re interested in making a difference, you may plan a weekly trip and bring them enough food every week. Bring the kids. Donating gently-used coats, shoes, and other clothing items is another fantastic way to assist. Do a clothing drive once a month if you prefer; the homeless people living in your area now are probably not the same people who will be living there tomorrow.
There is an increasing population of homeless people in the United States, and everyone should do what they can to help. Here are some shocking statistics on the homeless population and their living conditions:
1. Homelessness among Families, a Growing Social Concern
Women and children have never been in such large numbers on American streets as they were during the Great Depression. In the 1980s, the security of all those living on low or fixed incomes was threatened by reductions in benefits, quickly rising rents and a lack of low-income housing. Simultaneously, the percentage of households where a woman serves as head rose sharply. The result was a dramatic increase in the number of homeless families in the United States, which now accounts for nearly 40 percent of the total homeless population. The United States stands alone among industrialized countries in a disproportionately high number of homeless females and young children.
Over a million kids are living on the streets.
Despite the challenges, experts are beginning to agree on an estimate of the number of children who are homeless. On any night, there are 1.2 million homeless children in the United States, reports the National Coalition for the Homeless. This number is supported by data showing that almost 400,000 homeless students were serviced by public schools across the country last school year, as reported by the United States Department of Education. Given that over half of all homeless children are younger than six and hence not yet in school, we can safely assume that there are at least 800,000. Based on these numbers, the National Center on Family Homelessness estimates that over a million children in the United States currently lack a stable home.
3. The Number of Homeless Families Will Grow
The National Center on Family Homelessness (NCFH) projects a rise in family homelessness in the future due to a combination of factors, including rising housing costs and a decline in cash benefits due to welfare reform. NCFH developed an index of seven risk variables for family homelessness to predict which states will be most affected. Over the past decade, epidemiological studies have pinpointed these contributing elements. In it, we see a rating of the states.
1) Children experiencing homelessness are more likely to become ill
The National Center for Family Health has found that homelessness is a risk factor for several diseases in children.
Children experiencing homelessness are more likely to be in fair or poor health than other children and more than four times as likely as children whose families earn more than $35,000 a year.
o Are four times as likely to be born at low birth weight and require specialized care soon after birth.
· Experience high rates of acute illness, with 50% reporting two or more symptoms in a month.
o Experience twice as many ear infections, five times as many digestive issues, and six times as many issues with speech and stuttering.
o Four times as likely to develop asthma.
o More than double the rate of other youngsters, they go hungry.
Young Children Suffer Deep Wounds From Homelessness
Children living on the streets face traumatic and stressful situations daily.
o Seventy-four percent of homeless kids are concerned about running out of shelter space.
Some 58% are concerned they won’t have a safe place to sleep tonight.
o 87% are concerned that a tragic event will strike their loved ones.
In a given year, 97% of homeless children move at least once, and often up to three times.
o More than 30% are forced out of their homes due to eviction.
o Twenty-two percent are taken from their homes and placed in foster care or with a relative.
o Almost a quarter have been a witness to domestic abuse.
Children living on the streets can face stressful and traumatic situations that have long-lasting repercussions on their mental and emotional health.
o Babies who are homeless develop far more slowly than other kids their age.
· Significant emotional difficulties necessitating professional care exist in over a fifth of homeless children aged 3 to 6.
High incidences of mental health issues are experienced by homeless youth aged 6-17.
o Only about a third of homeless kids get help for their mental health issues.
Families Suffer Greatly From Homelessness
Nearly 40% of America’s homeless population currently consists of families, making them the fastest-growing subset of the homeless population. The average homeless family consists of a young mother and her two small children, most of whom are under 6. Single moms head more than 85 percent of homeless families.
Mothers who are homeless typically earn less than $8,000 per year, putting them at or below the federal poverty line for a household of three by quite a margin (63%).
o Only 21% of mothers who are homeless receive financial support from relatives, partners, or friends.
o 39% had required medical care in a hospital setting.
o 22% of these women have asthma, while just 5% of all women under 45 do.
o 20% have anemia, although just 2% of women under 45 have it overall.
o Forty percent say they’ve had a problem with substance abuse at some point.
Seventy percent of fathers of homeless children have regular contact with their kids, yet most do not even reside with the family. A father’s income loss due to unemployment, illness, injury, substance abuse, or incarceration can hasten a child’s descent into homelessness.
o Half of all fathers are out of work.
o Almost half (43%) are alcoholics or drug abusers.
o 31% struggle with some form of physical or mental illness.
32% are either incarcerated or on probation.
There is a significantly higher rate of foster care placement among homeless children than among other children (12% vs. little over 1%). According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, Foster care placement is one of only two childhood risk factors that predict family homelessness in adulthood.
o Twenty percent of homeless moms grew up in foster care, and forty-four percent of homeless mothers experienced homelessness as children.
o Seventy percent of homeless moms who were taken up as foster children are now foster parents.
Homeless mothers experience shockingly high rates of violence.
o 63 % have experienced physical violence by a male intimate partner.
o 27% had sought medical attention due to physical or sexual assault by a male intimate partner.
Twenty-five percent of adults have experienced sexual or physical assault from someone who was not in an intimate relationship at some point.
66% of victims experienced physical abuse by a parent, guardian, or other adult before the age of majority.
o 43% of children who were sexually abused were victims.
Ninety-two percent of homeless women have been severely physically or sexually attacked. A family member or intimate partner has viciously mistreated 88%, and this doesn’t even take into account the violence many of them endured as children. Homeless mothers experience disproportionately high rates of major mental issues due to these repeated acts of abuse.
· Three times as many women as the general population have experienced Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (36%).
o Twice as many women (45%) had experienced severe depressive illness.
o 31% have made at least one suicide attempt, most often in their teenage years.
Twelve percent have been admitted to a mental health facility for treatment.
About twice as many youngsters experiencing homelessness as the general population have been victims of physical abuse.
Three times as many of these kids as the national average have experienced sexual abuse.
o One-third have had a child protection investigation opened on their behalf.
o Twenty-four percent have been a witness to domestic abuse.
o Fifteen percent of children have witnessed their father physically abusing their mother.
o Eleven percent of respondents report witnessing their mother being assaulted by a male partner.
Poor Academic Performance Among Homeless Youth
Despite state and federal attempts to increase enrollment, at least one-fifth of homeless children do not go to school.
Children who are homeless often have to attend new schools in unfamiliar neighborhoods. Many kids who are homeless: o Can’t get to school because there’s no way to get there from shelters.
o The time spent in a temporary residence is insufficient to justify starting the school year over.
The inability to enroll in classes or receive medical treatment due to a lack of documentation.
Children’s educational needs are often overlooked due to the daily struggles for survival.
Those homeless kids who do make it to school encounter many obstacles that make it hard for them to succeed.
o The rate of developmental delay among homeless children is four times the national average.
o Struggle more than average in school.
Are not being adequately supported by special education.
o Have twice the rate of suspensions as those who do not.
Students with emotional and behavioral issues are three times as common among homeless children as those with stable housing.
Children who are homeless are twice as likely to have to repeat a grade.
o Compared to 5% of other children, 21% of homeless children repeat a grade due to frequent absences from school.
o 14% repeat a step because they transferred schools, compared to only 5% of pupils overall.
About 40% of homeless children change schools every year.
o 28% go to a total of three or more educational institutions.
Therefore, they require your assistance. As you become more involved, think about how you might help with the long-term requirements after you’ve met the immediate ones by providing food and clothing. As the economy worsens, more aid is needed; in the meantime, remember that not all homeless people are drunk and panhandling scumbags; some are children. That destitute kid needs your help terribly.
Mission Grounds Gourmet Coffee – was started by Boake Moore, an IT sales engineer by day. The organization’s earnings are given to charities that aid disadvantaged kids. Also providing aid to American youngsters who are homeless. Shoes, clothing, and outerwear can be purchased at http://www.missiongrounds.com and distributed directly to those in need.
Help me improve the world, George “Boake” Moore, Mission Grounds.
Read also: https://twothirds.org/category/lifestyle/