People of all genders, races, and ages can become homeless. Chances are you have walked by or shared a bus with someone who is homeless (Homeless & Poverty). You never know someone’s situation. While people think the homeless are there because they are lazy, many reasons can lead to their situation such as domestic violence, drug abuse, illness, or death of a loved one.
Domestic violence is the leading cause for women to become homeless (domesticshelters.org). Nicole, a domestic violence survivor, has made a strong decision that has caused her life to change. Fleeing from an abuser has forced her to choose between abuse at home and life on the streets. Nicole doesn’t have a job and being homeless only hurts any attempt she makes to get one, as employers won’t hire someone who doesn’t have a permanent address. This makes her unable to provide for herself.
Drugs abuse can take your life down a road you never thought you would travel. Patrick used substances to attain temporary relief from his problems. Substance abuse can lead to poor physical and mental health, which makes obtaining employment or residential stability difficult. Addiction ruined Patrick’s relationships, lead to termination of employment and caused him to lose a handle on his finances. With nowhere else to go, he became homeless. For many homeless people, substance abuse co-occurs with mental illness. Often, people with untreated mental illnesses use street drugs as an inappropriate form of self-medication. (Substance Abuse and Homelessness )
Robert has diabetes. Due to this illness, he has already lost one leg. Infection threatens to take the other. He has applied for disability; however, his hearing is not for two months. Robert received an eviction notice this month. These events of physical health problems will put Robert on the streets. (Stinnett)
Gene’s mother died. His family had turned him away. He had nowhere to go, causing him to be homeless. He had diabetes and had received disability and food stamps. Disability checks are not enough for one person to live on. Some people develop the frame of mind, where they become content with their situation. They find resources to eat and get clothing and some find a bed for a few nights at a time. Gene lived on the streets for 10 years before he had a stroke and was put in a nursing home. (Stinnett)
It is sad when you try to help someone who does not want to change. Some choose to still take drugs, to lie, steal, and take advantage of you. I spoke with an employee at our local soup kitchen. Her name is Joyce Stinnett. By reaching out and becoming a volunteer, Joyce has impacted many lives with her job. Not only feeding their hunger of food but also feeding their hearts (Stinnett). Joyce has given me a new perspective on the homeless. She has taught me to reach out with an open mind. There are many factors that contribute to a person’s situation; domestic violence, drug abuse, illness or the death of a loved one can lead anyone to be homeless.
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