Homeless, Not Hopeless

A Street Sign in Toronto, Canada.

"Please have change ready for homeless." A street sign in Toronto, Canada.

Homelessness has been a major issue worldwide and it is only getting worse. More children are running away from abused homes, which have caused them to be homeless and hungry (6). Many of us are more fortunate than others and have never been put in a situation where we have been abandoned and have had nowhere to go, no place to sleep, and nothing to eat. It is unfair for the homeless to feel uncomfortable and unsafe in a country that offers everyone the opportunity to be free. Not only do homeless people feel displaced in society, but they consistently feel like they are being out-casted and treated unfairly just because of the label that the public has placed on them. Many people believe that being homeless is a choice and these people have every opportunity to be normal citizens. In reality, a large percentage were born into poverty – a situation that was out of their control. It is tough for people to get back on the right track, but it would be much easier for them if they had help from their community.

It is distressing to see the way homeless people are treated and talked about by others. Something needs to be done, as no child or family should have to think of where they are going to get their next meal or where would be a safe place to sleep without getting harassed by others. There are homeless shelters and soup kitchens that can provide food for those who can not afford a meal, however it is not right for someone to constantly be dependent on others for a free meal. People do not understand the way that someone sitting on the streets is treated. Outside of the protection of a permanent home, a man, woman, or child has higher chance of being harassed, beaten, set on fire, or sexually abused. Brutality by authorities, such as the police, also increase for the sole reason that a person is homeless. People have misconceptions and prejudices about the homeless that are wildly inaccurate. These human being are just like everyone else, with the exception that they do not have a house to call their own.

Myths about the homeless can cause people to make less of an effort to get involved and to help their neighbors out of their unfortunate situations. According to Kylyssa, a former homeless woman and now an anti-homelessness advocate, there are various fallacies about homeless people, such as they make poor choices that have lead them to where they are now, they are thieves, mentally ill, drug addicts, unemployed due to the fact that they are lazy, they all are criminals and much more (7). However, none of these stereotypical thoughts about homeless people are accurate. Everyone should have the right to be treated equally and fairly instead of being grouped into these ideas. Each person is different and each of their journeys have been unique. This is an everyday life struggle that they go through. All they need is a push – a kick start to get them going and live a different life, however they are unable to do this without the involvement and aid of people like you. Hence, it is imperative that we all give a little, because in the end the little that we give to others will cause a big change for the homeless community.

"Looking 4 Random Acts of Kindness..God Bless"

After visiting Pinellas Hope, a homeless shelter, it is apparent that the community needs to get more involved and help ones who are less fortunate. It is clear that many people stereotype how homeless people end up in these living situations. From the various people we spoke to at the shelter, only one was involved with drugs, however they are sober now and starting to get their life in order. The other four were in the shelter due to the economy taking a turn for the worst, which had impacted their jobs and life in a negative way, as they were forced to sell everything that was valuable to them. At this facility, people have the opportunity to turn their life around, get a job, and look at their life as a gift. It is not easy, but with the correct resources it is extremely possible. The shelter is run mostly by volunteers. The only way it is able to function is by everyone giving a little every so often. It makes sense for one to say that they are unable to support their family, pay for the mortgage, the bills, food, etc. let alone be donating money to the homeless, who are not their first priority. The solution to this issue is that it is unnecessary for one to donate their money, instead donate your time at a homeless organization, volunteer, and give inspiring words of wisdom to those who are unable to get their life back on track. Not one person can do everything, but everyone can do something. This quote defines what one can do and it is a daily inspiration to do something whether it is large or small.

Many people especially parents complain that they don’t want their children  growing up where the percentages of homelessness are increasing dramatically, however these are the first ones who turn their back to the homeless who ask for help.  This goes to prove that the majority of the people who complain about the homeless taking over the streets are the same ones who never pitch in money or their time to help the homeless. A large percent of homeless people do everything in their power to change their lives, look for jobs, and save their money. Not only is it unfair for someone who is well off to judge others based on myths, but it is shallow, and shows that they have no background information about the truth. In the end, we all suffer from it; it makes our country and the city we live in look inferior compared to other areas in the world. All one can stress is to be sympathetic to these people; as a result you will want to help out, donating your time, resources, or money, and all in all, it will be beneficial to you and the people around you.

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