Today it is impossible to keep count of the homeless men and women in our city. As we commute through our neighborhoods we see a lot of men and women sleeping on our street corners and highway by passes. As citizens and human beings we must understand that homelessness is a complex issue. Many people are homeless because of economic factors, family relationships, and mental illness. While some people do not have a choice in becoming homeless, there are individuals who make bad choices and even refuse help that is available to them.
Many people in the society today feel guilty when approached by any homeless man or woman. Many of the homeless men and women have family and children. But they have chosen to take another route of life. We as people are quick to pass judgment on men and women for being homeless. When we don’t know what events took place in that person life to force them to become homeless.
Statistics show people living in poverty are most at risk of becoming homeless. Economically they are at a higher risk of losing what little they already have. The number of homeless families with children has increased significantly over the past decade. There are approximately 40% of people who are homeless. In rural areas the largest groups of homeless people are families, single mothers, and children. In a 1998 survey of 30 cities,” it was found that the homeless population was 53% African-American, 35% Caucasian, 12% Hispanic, 4% Native-American, and 3% Asian (U.S Conference of Mayors1998).
The ethnic makeup of homeless population varies depending upon geographic location.”Homelessness and poverty are closely linked. Poor people commonly are unable to pay for housing, food, child care, health care, and education.
Choices must be mad when only their income covers some of these necessities. The world we live in today is very competitive so everyone is working and fighting to survive. This society we live in today is full of different kinds of people. Some have very impressive jobs, cars and houses. But we all have a common struggle many citizens are just trying to live the American dream. That is full of everyday struggles to stop us from achieving our dream. As a child I am sure these homeless men and women had some type of dream. Rather than just becoming more than just another ordinary person.
Many may argue that we choose the life that we live. Personally I agree, we all pick and choose who, what, and where we involve ourselves. The only person who can direct a person future is that person. I’ve only had the opportunity to get a true story to why a person was homeless. Around the age of 12 there was a lady by the name of Betty Rankin. She would always be at the Shell gas station by my house. She became homeless by choice after the passing of her husband. She started to drink stopped paying bills and eventually lost her house and was forced to move with her son. He was a very successful black man with a family of his own. Many days he would come get her and take her home.
She always found a way to be unhappy and find her way back to the gas station. About 1 year ago she was raped and killed by another homeless man behind the same store she stood at every day. Past experiences and behaviors can also create significant struggles for individuals and families who are trying to escape homelessness. Being homeless can lead to arrests For behaviors such as trespassing and loitering, criminal offenses such as these, and Certainly more serious convictions can make it difficult to pass a required background check when trying to rent permanent housing. Once they have found a job and trying to turn their life around.
In Atlanta, the homeless men and women congregate near Martin Luther King Jr.’s house. Within blocks of the King Center, the homeless find shelter in abandoned or run-down housing. Many Atlanta visitors see many homeless men and women with children on their way to museums and other tourist locations there are panhandlers looking for $2 for lunch. Winter months we find hundreds of homeless people spending the night on the city streets and parks. Hundreds of people swell the bus stations and shelters for warm water and a place to rest. We must do whatever we can to help the homeless. It is really easy to do so. We can volunteer at a shelter, we can protest to the government; we can donate money or clothes. It is such a shame to just sit back and watch them struggling to survive in a cruel world.
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