Homelessness cannot be Solved Overnight
Homelessness is a very difficult subject to talk about for many people. A lot of people know someone who is either currently homeless or has been homeless before and is no longer homeless, so this topic may really hit home for them. Other people may not have direct experiences with homeless people unless they see them in public. It can be very difficult to know how to act when you see a homeless person in public that you have never met before. Countless thoughts can go through your mind when you discover that someone or a group of people that you just crossed paths with is homeless. It is generally not very often that you meet someone who has evidently fallen on such hard times. There is a wide range of emotions that one can feel when they have such an experience. You may possibly feel a sense a relief due to the fact that you are not in the position that this homeless person. You could also be disappointed at the fact that homelessness has not been solved and that there are still people around you helplessly lying on the streets wishing that they could have a better life.
No matter how much we all want to completely solve the issue of homelessness this very minute, we all have to accept this harsh reality. Homelessness cannot be solved overnight. There is no possible way that homelessness can be solved without the efforts of people who are willing to take several steps in order to effectively solve the issue. It usually takes days, weeks, months, years, or even decades to solve issues as major and widespread as homelessness. One of the first steps that people can take in order to eliminate homelessness is to find out how big of a problem homelessness is in the regions that are closest to them and consider what kind of solutions can be made to solve these issues. For this paper, I will be focusing on the issues related to homelessness in Fort Wayne, Allen County, and in Northern Indiana as a whole. There are several statistics which show that homelessness is a problem in our region.
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Based on a 2015 study, there were a few common demographics of homeless people in Allen County. There were 848 homeless people who were unemployed, 460 homeless people who were disabled, 287 homeless people with no transportation, 126 homeless people with a criminal record, 114 homeless women who were pregnant, 113 homeless people who reported having mental health issues, 93 homeless veterans, and 59 homeless people who reported having addiction problems in their household when they still lived in a home (Report to the Community: The State of Homelessness in Fort Wayne 9). It was also shown that 791 FWCS students from pre-K all the way up to 12th grade were identified as homeless in 2015, with nearly a third of them being in grades K-2 (Report to the Community: The State of Homelessness in Fort Wayne 23).
Another set of statistics related to homelessness in Allen County was released in 2017, and it revealed that 498 households were looking for shelter, 319 children were reported to be homeless, 30 individuals reported they were veterans, 48 individuals reported having a diagnosed mental health issue, 35 homeless women were pregnant, and 58 individuals were ex-offenders (Homeless Data for Allen County January-May 2017). Along with this, it was shown that 51% of the homeless people in Allen County reported to be homeless for the first time and that 28% of the homeless people in Allen County refused referrals to local homeless shelters (Homeless Data for Allen County January-May 2017). Lastly, an article posted by the South Bend Tribune in 2017 showed that the number of homeless students was rising in Northern Indiana and that there were more than 230 homeless students in St. Joseph County along with more than 350 homeless students in Elkhart County (Dits and South Bend Tribune). It is evident from these statistics that there are many people in this part of Indiana who are currently being impacted by homelessness. It is particularly alarming to hear about the large number of children who are homeless. There are thousands of them who are spending the part of their lives that they are supposed to enjoy the most not knowing where their next meal will come from or where they will sleep at night. While homelessness cannot be solved overnight, it is clear that the people who are not homeless need to find as many ways as possible to aid homeless people.
To further research homelessness in our region, I went to the downtown library in Fort Wayne with my mom on a Saturday morning to see how many homeless people we could find in there. My mom had previously told me that she had a lot of homeless people in Fort Wayne sleep under bridges downtown by the library at night, and then they spend all day in the library until it closes. She also told me that there were several programs in Fort Wayne that take in homeless people, including Charis House, Fort Wayne Rescue Mission, Victory House, and Vincent Village. With that being said, we went to the library to see what was taking place there. These are a few observations that I made while I was there.
There was a lot of homeless people in the library who were on computers. We even saw one person in particular who was simply watching basketball on YouTube. This alone can show how some homeless people can do things like this so that they can feel like they are a part of the world and society. It can also briefly distract them from the fact that they are homeless and that life has become really difficult for them. Another thing that I noticed when I was at the library was that the majority of homeless people in the library were adult men and that not as many homeless women and children were in there. I also noticed that it was relatively easy to tell from the clothes that some people were wearing and the condition that they appeared to be in that they were most likely homeless. My mom and I were both wearing coats in the library that we had gotten recently, while most of the people in the library were not wearing clothes that were as clean and new as ours.
We also walked past a man who was sleeping at one of the tables in the library. He would eventually wake up and start looking at his phone. It seemed clear that he was probably homeless because somebody who has a home would probably not go to the library on a Saturday morning at 10:00 A.M. just so they could sleep at one of the tables. It does not at all seem like something that a non-homeless person would logically do. As we were on our way home from the library, we saw a couple of people hanging out near the downtown art museum. It seemed like they might be waiting to get a bed from the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission. About a week later, we drove by the Rescue Mission at around 7:00 P.M. to see how many people were in there, and there were several people in there who were seeking some kind of assistance. It is pretty clear to me that there is an issue related to homelessness in Fort Wayne that does not get enough attention given how easy it really can be to cross paths with a homeless person if you make a lot of key observations.
Based on the primary and secondary research that I have conducted, I have come to the conclusion that homelessness cannot simply be solved immediately because of the fact that there are thousands of people in our region alone who are homeless. In order to ensure that the vast majority of these people find a way to get a home, many things will have to be done. First, people will need to try to eliminate any prejudices that they have towards homeless people and be more willing to help them rather than discriminate against them. It will also be important to forget about any common stereotypes that are portrayed about homeless people and to try to understand them as the unique individuals that they are truly are, since every homeless person and their story behind becoming homeless is different. Through social change, it can be easier for people to support homeless people and make the road to finding them a stable home for good much clearer than before. It may be difficult at first, but it is definitely possible. Ultimately, homelessness cannot be solved unless there is a collective effort made by a large number of people to prevent people from becoming homeless.
Dits, Joseph, and South Bend Tribune. Number of Homeless Students Rises in Northern Indiana. South Bend Tribune, 4 Dec. 2017.
Homeless Data for Allen County January-May 2017. 2017. PDF file.
Report to the Community: The State of Homelessness in Fort Wayne. 2017. PDF file.
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Homelessness Cannot Be Solved Overnight. (2019, Nov 02). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/homelessness-cannot-be-solved-overnight/