Home, which once served as our refuge, is no longer a sanctuary for most of us. We return home to a deluge of mail, bills, telephone messages and chores. Cell phones and email connect us constantly with the outside world, at the same time interrupting our contact with our families. In some homes, the TV is on constantly, blaring news of upsetting events and life and death dramas.
To flourish, we all need a safe place — both physically and emotionally — to come home to.
Living without a home of your own is a devastating experience. But sleeping without a home is downright difficult. Some of these places receive media attention. Others may surprise you. But all of these overnight accommodations are completely unacceptable for regular human habitation.
Living out of a vehicle may seem like a bearable solution to losing one’s home. But when your home is on four wheels, it’s impossible to sit still. Each day, you must be on the go to evade authorities and the expensive citations for illegal parking or sleeping in a vehicle (Yes, there are ordinances against this.). You sleep with one eye open; you can never be perfectly at ease.
While it may seem counter-intuitive that a homeless person would choose to stay on the streets rather than in a homeless shelter, there are understandable reasons for doing so. Most shelters tend to attract people who are chronically homeless and addicted. This can be frightening to someone newly homeless or to those who struggle with mental illness or social phobias.
When homelessness strikes, friends and relatives are often the first place of refuge. Homeless families and individuals sleep on couches, in garages/sheds and backyard tents. Although they are technically homeless, they are unseen and left uncounted in an official homeless census – until the hospitality wears out. Then, they end up on the street.
For all of those homeless individuals whose unfortunate living situations are documented, recorded, and broadcast to the public, there are hundreds more who remain anonymous. The methodology for finding and counting homeless people is imperfect; we simply do not find everyone.
Always. When you pass a homeless person who is out on the street, smile and say hello. It’s a simple gesture that reminds someone that they are still human – and not invisible.
Now, it’s up to you. Let’s do something and help people who are homeless this winter. Donate Here.
A New Day. A New Home. A New Life.