“When I went undercover in New York City as a homeless man, no one noticed me. I felt what it was like to be a homeless man. People would just past [sic] by me and look at me in disgrace. Only one lady was kind enough to give me some food. It was an experience I’ll never forget. So many times we forget how blessed we are. We should not take that for granted. And if we can help someone in need, we should. That’s why after I was done, I walked around and gave food and $100 to every homeless person I saw. They cried and were so grateful. Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Richard Gere via Facebook October 8th, 2015.
The Fact Of The Matter Is
Nobody knows what tomorrow brings, as life is full of ups and downs. As many as 3.5 Million Americans are homeless each year. Of these, more than 1 Million are children and on any given night, more than 300,000 children are homeless.
While the general impression is that those whom are homeless are primarily people with chronic or episodic afflictions of mental disorders, alcohol and/or substance abuse and that that they “choose to be on the streets” or some how managed to have “gotten themselves there”. The unfortunate truth is that while you see so many people living in the downtown streets of our cities across America, what you’re seeing is just a fraction of the homeless population; the fact remains that more than half of the homeless population in any given city are families with children.
Far too many people believe that every homeless person chooses to be that way. This is so far from the truth; individuals and families become homeless for a variety of reasons such as mental and physical health issues, sudden loss of employment, family hardship or to escape domestic violence. Judgment isn’t what is needed, help, love and better understanding is. We all have the ability to make a difference in our communities and the lives of others. So I ask you, what are you doing to make a difference?
Special thanks to my friend and FIERCE Phoenix Homeless Advocate and Cause Fighter Elizabeth Singleton for her thoughts/input on this. Gotta love a good late night meaningful discussion.