By Bobbette Robinson
Homelessness has become a bigger and bigger problem across the country. This epidemic is being addressed in a variety of ways. Examples are housing and service programs, emergency shelters, transitional housing, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing.
The amount of homeless youths has dramatically increased. Each year more than over a million kids in America will face a period of homelessness. In Cleveland we see more and more families becoming homeless. They were sleeping outside, in an emergency shelter, or in a transitional housing programs.
In 2014, there were millions of people doubled up living with family and friends in America, which was the most common living arrangement prior to becoming homeless. Most people who have never experienced homelessness don’t know how hard it is to survive in this situation. What would you do to survive? These are the kind of questions that go through a person’s mind who has unexpectedly became homeless. Would you be willing to climb into a dirty dumpster that is full of trash to shield yourself from extremely cold temperatures? Would you seek shelter in an abandoned building, use newspaper to cover yourself to keep warm, and ignore the rats sharing that space with you? Would you sleep in an underground sewer tunnel or under a bridge or on a dirty floor? How far would you go to “survive” homelessness?
There is a great need for more help to people losing their housing and I know that it is a very serious issue or crisis. The number of crisis shelters are decreasing while the need is increasing. There is other help available through Outreach programs for people living on the streets, community service centers to assist families, and there is a program called like Laura’s Home in Cleveland. Laura’s Home in Cleveland provides shelter to families and has responded to the “most pressing needs” of homeless children every day. Everyday 50 to 90 families call asking for help that Laura’s Home cannot help because they are completely full. They are committed to helping the kids who come in the program get into housing and stay in school. We need more places like Laura’s Home in our community including shelters for single women who need help. I don’t think people realize how bad it is right now for homeless women and families.
In order to better understand homelessness, I think that people need to think what they would do if they were homeless. I know what I would do since I have been homeless. But what would you do? What are you willing to do to survive homelessness? I know that it changes who you are after surviving homelessness? Would you be able to survive homelessness? I think that there are a lot of successful people who would not survive homelessness.
Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle September 2016 Issue 23.3 Cleveland Ohio