An empty apartment is not a home. When students go to college, their parents usually buy them bedding, cooking utensils, clothes, and food—so they can focus on their studies. When formerly homeless persons move into an apartment, just like those students starting on a new path, their home needs to be fully furnished; in turn, they can focus on looking for work and rebuilding their lives.
Tag Archives: poverty
As for Los Angeles, our city has not lacked in creative, hard working efforts to house its homeless population. In fact, don’t let these homeless numbers fool you. We should be commended for permanently housing so many people.
Perhaps, if we give away tents to everyone on the streets, we could hide them. We would just see their shadows. It is hard to put a face on a shadow. Shadows are easier to stereotype. They are easier to forget after we drive by them. Shadows sleeping in a pup tent are easier to label as lazy, drunks, or criminals.
I think that we sometimes spend too much time and creative energy on “helping” people who are homeless, rather than simply “housing” people who are homeless. The real solution is to provide real homes for people within our homeless population.
Single-mother families are nearly five times more likely than married-couple families to fall below the poverty line and poverty is the number-one cause of child homelessness.
It seems to me that if average American wages are not high enough to pay for the average rent—in the long run, all of our efforts to house those who are currently homeless will not end homelessness. We will simply be treading water.
Today, I wonder why America—a society that is so sophisticated, wealthy, and compassionate—doesn’t pick up its lost humanity on the streets and connect them with housing and with the community of humanity.
“Anyone can be homeless. Homelessness is like a prison without the keys. Society needs to care enough to come up with those keys.”
What if each of these super-rich families tithe 10% of their wealth for one year to build homes for people who are homeless? That amount would be $900 billion, far more than what the federal government invests. If one affordable housing unit costs $300,000, this dollar amount would be able to build 3 million homes.
In America, our homeless population is found on the dirty streets of our city. In Asia, homelessness is perched near the sky.