Help the homeless or criminalize them

Help the homeless or criminalize them

From Angie Rios

There are several problems in this line of thinking. First, we are comparing ourselves to them. We know nothing of the personal or situational challenges that person is facing. Secon

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Help the homeless or criminalize them

No Housing for Families

Family homelessness is increasing faster than any other type of homelessness. Homeless families account for 40-50% of America’s homeless population. It can be caused by the same factors described above. It can also be caused by factors specific to the challenges of housing an entire family. Both parents are often working and still not making enough to house themselves and their children. Additionally, events like losing a job, accidents and illnesses can uproot an otherwise stable housing situation.

Family homelessness can be more invisible than other kinds. Families may live in campgrounds, cars or doubled up with others. This type of poverty is incredibly common, despite being less visible. In the U.S., 19.5% of families with children struggle with uncertainty about how or if they’ll get enough food to feed each family member. With several people to look after, the chances of something going wrong are higher. Even one medical bill can push an already-struggling family into homelessness.

Learning from Our Lack of Understanding

Why do we make so many cruel assumptions about homeless people? Maybe it’s because we’re afraid to see how little there is separating us from the people we see on the street. We can’t bear the idea of it happening to us.

Maybe we can use this new understanding to be more empathetic with the homeless people we cross paths with. Instead of pushing the idea out of our minds because we’re afraid, we can use it to be grateful for what we have. We can appreciate the good fortune we’ve had to not encounter so much adversity and suffering.

If we have an attitude of empathy and gratitude, we can start doing things like making eye contact with homeless people, donating our excess, and advocating for accessible resources and services. This includes affordable housing 

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