Homeless in the U.S.A.
edited: Thursday, July 24, 2003
By Anastacia Lee
Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2003
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Homelessness is growing prolem in the United States and plain and simple, we're not doing enough about it.
Homelessness is a growing problem here in the United States and plain and simple, we’re not doing enough about it. I understand that there are many folks out there who are living on the streets because they’re lazy and have no desire to be working, tax paying members of society but, putting those select people aside, there are many homeless folks out there that don’t have much of a choice and who don’t know any better.
Take for instance the mentally ill. It’s not their fault that they are sick, yet there they are, on the streets, receiving no help from anyone. Sure there are places to rest one's head and there are places to get a so-called meal but, in the long run, what help is that offering their mental state? None! These people need some sort of clinical help and medication or they’ll never get better. If they never get better and off the streets then things still happen - things like fights, public disturbances and deaths. Why? Perhaps it’s because the mentally ill are receiving no medication to stop these occurrences.
There are also many children and young teens living on the streets and in squats, some through no fault of their own. Some are there simply because their parents didn’t feel like raising them or that their drugs were more important - there are a million other reasons to go with those.
Is there actually anything that we can do to help the more unfortunate? I can understand the feeling that there may not be anything to do, but there are and I’m going to tell you some of them.
First, let’s just get this out of the way. Although at times it may be hard to turn away, giving cash or spare change to the homeless is not a good idea. Unfortunately, but usually, this money is used for drugs and alcohol. If you feel the need to give them something, the best thing you can do is to take them into the store and buy them something useful. That way you know that it is being used for something positive. If you want to give, buy them soap, shampoo, toys for the small homeless children, and things of that nature. There’s nothing that a homeless child craves more than a brand new toy.
Also, another good way to help is to always speak to one who is homeless as if an upstanding citizen. Promoting self-esteem is always helpful especially to someone who’s feeling down on his or her luck.
If you’re not too busy, sit down with them and get a bite to eat. Don’t act like you’re doing them a favor but show that you are willing to if wanted to. While this bit of advice may help someone in need, always be careful when befriending someone in need. Some, but not all, can be dangerous just like anyone else. However, because many homeless are drug-addicted, you want to take extra precautions.
It’s not hard to start your own food/supplies drive or a soup kitchen. There are many restaurants and building owners that, if just asked, would be willing to donate the space for a good cause. Get some family and friends together, cook a whole lot of food and serve. It’s really as easy as that. Or, have a garage sale and donate all the proceeds to the local church.
While there is no sure fire way to end homelessness altogether, if even a quarter of us took some time out to do charity work in our communities, then maybe it would help. If even just a little bit, wouldn’t it be worth it?