In the late 2000's the world has seen the effects of what has been called "The Great Recession." Starting in late 2007, a financial crisis began to stir within the United States. Financial institutions were taking part in lending practices that were considered reckless and unsustainable. The breakdown of these high risk loans began to expose the fact that many assets had been grossly over-priced, especially in the real estate market. People began to lose their job, default on their mortgages, and lose their homes to foreclosure.
Economists are now telling the world that the recession may be over. At least it is headed in that direction. Consumers have begun to pick up the pace and spend the money that they were saving during the recessional period. Unfortunately we don't all fall under that category. What happened to the people that lost their jobs and weren't able to find a new one because of increased competition in fields where there wasn't any before? What about the people and families that lost their homes and had no where else to go?
Families and children are the fastest growing homeless population in the United States. Sadly, it has become a daily sight when walking down the street in urban environments to see homeless families sitting with signs asking for help. Recently there has been an increase in the homeless populations in rural and suburban areas. We often see someone standing on the side of a freeway exit asking for money.
Many people look down upon these homeless individuals thinking that they are only homeless because they made themselves that way. Many people assume homeless individuals are either drunks or drug addicts who are victims of financial irresponsibility. We often wonder why they don't just go to a shelter or try to get help through government programs. Homeless shelters are often worse than living on the streets. They are extremely overcrowded and sometimes are dangerous places for people like women in children.
It wasn't until recently that the U.S, Government decided to listen to the plight of the homeless and provide funding for transitional housing and shelters through HPRP and HEARTH. Unfortunately as with everything that is government related, there are issues with eligibility and community roles under these two acts that are making it hard for homeless advocacy groups to get the funding they need.
Until society sees the importance of getting these victims of circ**stance off the streets, images like this will forever be a part of our daily lives.We need to do all that we can to help these people out and get them the help that they need. My previous blog "A Walk in Your Shoes" can help you to think about what you would feel like if you were in their situation. In a country that is as developed as the U.S. where we have plenty of resources, homelessness should not be as common as it is. Something has to be done soon to stop this ever increasing problem and the change can start with us.