163. Surveys, Donations and Other Things

Recently a friend and I became embroiled in a discussion about homelessness. I had been discussing statistics (of which I am a fan) and he was saying that the current foreclosure crisis was not creating as much homelessness as I was spouting.

The other day he had to admit I was actually more accurate than even he had surmised. USA Today published a “Limited Survey” of a few states. Some of these states, as you will note in this article, show that street or shelter homelessness has increased by over 30% in many states in 2008 because of Foreclosures.

The federal figures for 2007 include only 2005’s actual accounting and will not encompass this year. The 2007 figures released by the government state that homelessness had remained “neutral” over the last ten years.

The Federal Reserve has a series of charts. These charts estimate that every time gasoline prices go up, x number of households go into bankruptcy and x number of businesses also close. These businesses are mainly “small businesses” started by individuals that have their life savings tied to them. These charts are scary to think about, as with coldness, they predict the doom of families and small businesses across this country.

Anyone who is charging groceries or gasoline to their credit cards without paying their monthly balance is heading for a fall. I am not speaking in dooming terms here, but let’s be honest, when did your last pay raise match what the hike in food and gas jumped to? If it did you are lucky: It means you received a raise of over 30% of your income.

I never did ask my friend about his change of heart, nor will I. I will say that as the cost of living goes up for all of us in gasoline and food, so it does for the homeless. The homeless normally have a poor diet to begin with. It is not because they are all alcoholics; it is because they do not have the money to afford a diet. Many who are not homeless are now finding themselves dealing with this latter issue, including many reading this.

Often I hear that the homeless are just lazy and they should “get a job”. Many of the homeless are and have been employed steadily, but are just not paid overly well, with either debts or other obligations often keeping them in homelessness. Look around your houses and apartments and imagine what it would cost to get started again, from deposits / down payments through replacing what is needed to live in those four walls, all while still having to pay to survive living on the streets as well.

I support giving money, water and other sundry items to the homeless. Remember, the homeless have to carry their groceries, clothing and sleeping gear with them. It is great to give them money also, as I know it is hard to carry 48 donated bottles of water by yourself. The majority of the homeless I have met do share amongst themselves so your donations are not wasted. Most homeless live where their homes (camps) are often torn down on the whims of a Mayor or City Council. The homeless live in cities because they offer transit, food, medicine and though strained, a touch to humanity.

Become aware of what your elected officials are doing in your name. If you disagree, let them know it. Better yet, quit electing morons into offices they are unfit to hold. You certainly can stop some terrible local politicians from becoming even worse state or federal leaders.

The homeless are not in the cities because they want to be a visible presence on the streets. Actually, they do not want to beg for your money or other donations, either. But they need them for their daily survival.



1 Response to “163. Surveys, Donations and Other Things”

  1. July 5, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    Your sentence,

    “Become aware of what your elected officials are doing in your name. “

    is so right on target…

    If we as a nation sincerly desire to impact the numbers of homeess in our communities, it is vital that folks demand of their local governments to stop “dealing” with the homeless, and begin “helping” the homeless help themselves.

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