Thursday, January 6, 2011

Getting Started........

Homelessness is a commonly overlooked issue, not only nationwide, but also in our community. It's so easy to pass a person sitting on the ground next to a cardboard sign, or turn the other direction when someone asks for some spare change. The truth is, homelessness isn't a comfortable topic for most people, especially in our community. There are over 400 charitable organizations is Loveland, but there are still people simply looking for a warm bed to sleep in. This semester, I want to address this overlooked issue in our community as well as throughout the country. I want to understand why and how people can become homeless, and identify ways that would be beneficial in helping them get back on their feet again.
I believe that many people turn the other direction when they see a homeless person for many reasons. One of the obvious reasons why people may not have sympathy for the homeless, is because they believe that homeless people have a lack of interest in keeping a job, and are somewhat lazy. Contrary to this belief, many homeless people were actually working while they lost their home. Many contributing factors that sometimes cause people to loose their homes are reduced hours at work, lack of health care causing an inability to work, the general economy,  or a situation simply out of their control.
There are about 5 million homeless people in the United States today according to the National Law Center of Homelessness and Poverty, but only about 56% have some sort of shelter. I know I cannot simply wave a wand and fix this problem, but I can attempt to make a difference in our community. Many teenagers find themselves homeless, and it could be the person sitting right next to me in class. I believe they need someone to understand their situation instead of criticize or judge, and do something about it; whether it be taking them out to lunch one day a week, simply hanging out with them, or finding them a place to stay for the night. With over 400 charitable organizations in Loveland, and many volunteers who would be willing to donate time or anything that could help this issue, I believe the community can truly be bettered. Throughout this process I hope I will learn as much about myself as I learn about others, and keep my mind open to ideas that may be outside the norm.

5 comments:

  1. nice post sweet. incredible start.

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  2. Looking forward to seeing where you go with this. You're right, Emma, it's not a comfortable topic for people. The fact that you're a voice in making it a topic of discussion and action is powerful. It makes a difference.

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  3. That last sentence is so profound, Emma! Thank you for sharing that.

    Does Loveland have anything special in place for these extra cold temperatures? I know there are some extra temporary shelters that open up in Longmont, and some of my friends are on the teams that drive around to make sure folks find shelter.

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  4. Julie: I honestly don't know much about the different types of shelters available throughout our community. I only really know about one organization that I have been volunteering with for many years which is the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN), where different churches host a number of families to try and help them get back on their feet again. I don't think that the community should limit itself specifically to shelters. I believe that we can help the homeless through simple donations of food, clothing, or anything that may help someone survive. I think that Loveland should look at something like the KIVA program.

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  5. The post is very informative. It is a pleasure reading it. I have also bookmarked you for checking out new posts
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