The homeless crisis is on the rise in America. In some cities, analytics are reporting an increase of 25% of their homeless population.
Homelessness can be a taboo topic for many. It seems like there's a duality of thinking that...it could never happen to me, but what if it does? Like the plague, we avoid it.
Yet, these are people we are ignoring. People in need of help, support.
Let's take a broad look at what living homeless looks like.
5 Surprises About Homelessness
These are general ideas to expand your perception of homelessness. By discussing the topic at large, we hope to bring attention to the homeless so that a more specific solution can be found collectively.
1. There Is No Type
Many think of one type of person when they picture what is it like to be homeless: dirty, hungry, unhappy.
There may be further connotations that many perceive of the homeless: mentally ill, drug addiction, incapable.
While these factors hold true for some individuals, it's not a general statement for the homeless population.
In fact, many in America are homeless in direct relation to their status as veterans for their service in the military. 1 in 10 of the homeless population is a U.S. veteran, usually suffering from PTSD.
The next time you see a homeless person, see them for who they are, not their situation.
2. There Is No Age
Another common idea that we hold is that the homeless are adults.
This is not true.
Children and the elderly are just as susceptible to being homeless, as well. The National Center on Family Homelessness estimates that 2.5 million children in America are homeless. That's 1 in 30 kids.
Those at either side of the age spectrum are at increased vulnerability while homeless. They are less able to provide food, shelter, clothing, or medical care for themselves.
3. There Is No Minimum
You do not have to be poor to be homeless. You just have to be in an unfortunate situation.
While many homeless are unemployed, not all are. There are many homeless people with careers, clean clothing, cars, etc. But circumstances have dealt them an unexpected hand that has left them without a house.
This can happen to individuals, and it can happen to families. They may be able to bounce back on their own, but it can be a difficult struggle to survive when it feels like the water is already up to your neck.
4. There Is No Rhyme or Reason
Everyone has a story. Unfortunately, the homeless are most often the first to go unheard. There is a wide range of reasons that a person can find themselves going homeless.
Maybe they suffer a medical condition that they've funneled the last of their savings towards curing.
Maybe they are an LGBTQ+ individual that has been disowned by their family.
Maybe they just took a wrong turn in life.
Whatever the reason, they all need help to get back into safe, nourishing environments.
5. There Is No Singular Solution
Homelessness is a broad issue.
There are some who are down on their luck, and some who need far more support than any one system can handle.
It takes a collective effort of the community to offer assistance, shelter, and guidance. It's not an easy process, but it can be done with everyone's help.
How You Can Help
There are many ways you can offer aid to homelessness.
If you're in the Pennsylvania area, consider volunteering your time to help provide food and shelter to the homeless. Also, please consider donating food, clothing, or other contributions, if possible.
Every little bit helps.