The Homeless deserve BETTER
The Homeless deserve BETTER
Homelessness is a dire issue in the United States. In January 2018, studies show that 552,830 people were experiencing homelessness. Of this number, 35 percent (194,467) were unsheltered and 65 percent (358,363) were sheltered. 9 percent are under the age of 18 and 31 percent are females. 11 percent of homeless people in this country are veterans. About 25 percent of homeless people are mentally ill, or have been at some point. The leading causes of homelessness in cities include poverty, elevated costs of rent, unemployment, and domestic violence. All of these issues are ingrained in our society, and unfortunately, have not improved much in recent years. In Los Angeles alone 50,000 to 60,000 individuals are homeless. Our community is facing a grave human rights issue. No one deserves to be unhoused, especially because this city has more than enough housing units for all families.
Every day, we encounter homeless people in all areas of our community. They are no different from people who live in traditional homes. We listen to the same music. We admire the same clothes in storefront windows. We feel the same feelings and think the same thoughts. They are our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters, our aunts and uncles, our childhood best friends and high school desk partners. Homeless people are our neighbors. They should not be criminalized or villainized. They are still people, and they should be treated as nothing less. Any one of us could become unhoused at any time for any reason. We must support the members of our community who are in need of assistance, just as we hope they would do the same for us.
Los Angeles is one of the cities with the largest homeless population, but it is also one of the wealthiest places in the country. With so much power and capital, how have we not solved this issue already? None of the programs currently in existence are effectively preventing or solving homelessness. On a government level, California has been consistently raising the minimum wage, which helps to create more financial security. In Los Angeles, however, the rent is extremely high and there are not enough well-paying jobs, so this increase in universal wages does not do much. Many nonprofit groups are also working to end homelessness. Some groups offer mental health and drug rehabilitation services, while other groups provide free shower and laundry services to promote health and hygiene. Some groups are working to provide temporary housing for homeless individuals and families, but the units are extremely limited and often cannot house people for as long as they need. In order to truly work towards housing all of our community members, we must make housing significantly more affordable, we must urge our local government to invest more money into this pressing issue, and we must turn more attention to the organizations that are working tirelessly to offer services to our unhoused neighbors.