In America today, as many as 3 million people are homeless. A third of this figure constitutes young children living on their own or with family without a place to call home.
While the general stereotype is that most homeless people are thrust into the life due to mental illness or drug addiction, studies show that many people become homeless after a life changing event or series of events. For the vast majority, an unplanned situation happened that may have led them to be homeless.
Events such as the loss of income, a loved one, domestic violence, dysfunctional families, and mental illness are among the top reasons for homelessness. Other impairments like physical disability or post-traumatic stress disorder can also contribute to being homeless. It is also not uncommon to find people resorting to the street as a way to deal with grief. Often unable to cope with significant trauma in their lives, some people will give up on life and stop caring. Acknowledging that a myriad of factors can push people to the streets is often a good way to start figuring out how to help people.
A homeless person is one who has gone through deep emotional pain and suffering. By the time they show up to a homeless shelter for help, they’ve probably burned every meaningful relationship they’ve ever had. Close friends and family are unable (or unwilling) to give a hand, leaving the individual to fend on their own. In some ways, their situations are more about being unwanted than being homeless. Restoring trust and hope then becomes a big factor on the road to recovery.
Bethany Kludt is studying to become a registered nurse at Ohio Northern University. She is a kind-hearted person who loves to help people and hopes to use her career to aid the homeless in her community.