It is very important today that we gain an understanding of homelessness and how we can best help them.
When I was twenty-five years old I viewed homeless people as lazy. Later on, when I was in my thirties I joined a group of people from my church twice a month to feed the homeless in Roseville, CA breakfast, coffee and provided a bag lunch. It was there that I began to learn and really understand how people became homeless and through that experience why many chose to stay homeless even when a room and a bed was offered to them.
There was a common theme in the stories I heard while speaking with homeless people of all ages was something traumatic happened in their life that caused them to lose hope in themselves. Many lost their job, some their wife left them and took the kids and even some did not have the intention of becoming homeless but after many days of binging on alcohol or drugs to try to kill the pain they found themselves no place to live.
While volunteering at a homeless shelter the manager of the shelter shared with me the best thing you can do to help a homeless person is to tell them where to find food, a bed, and a shower and one of the worst things you can do for a homeless person is to give them money because most of them will use the money on drugs or alcohol and cigarettes.
I know what it is like to lose home in one’s self. Losing our business in 2012 created a financial catastrophe for Valerie and I that forced us to get help from the local Social Service office where we signed up for Food Stamps and after three months I found a job. If it had not been for those two opportunities we could have been evicted from our present residence, forced to move in with family back in the San Francisco Bay Area or even ended up homeless. At that time I did not have confidence in myself, I felt like a failure and was filled with guilt for failing in my business and I sat around for 2 years waiting for someone to help me. But in 2014 I found a program that gave me some simple tools and by receiving some words of wisdom from a leader at an event I attended my whole perception changed, I was given the opportunity to see things from a different perspective I learned that my fear of failure became my normal state of mind, how it was limiting me from seeing any new possibilities for me to have my own business again and how I had the power to change my normal state of mind to be focused on successes instead of my failures.
I believe this knowledge needs to be shared with the homeless in our communities.
I read the headlines last week,
Bubonic Plague In Los Angeles? Is California On The Verge Of Becoming A Third-World State?
As I read the article I realized that we as a society had failed the homeless in downtown Los Angeles, we clothed and fed them but never gave them tools to deal with their current state of mind, and by doing so have allowed disease to manifest that could affect us all if we don’t get it under control of it quickly.
Five Ways We Can Bets Help The Homeless
- Treat them with respect. Most people are only homeless because they have lost hope in themselves, and our current system.
- Learn from them. By learning from each person what they need we can create programs that help each person build hope and confidence in themselves that one day they will get back on their feet again.
- Teach. Put your skills to use by helping your community organize classes that help homeless people learn new skills like Typing, carpentry and computer skills.
- Give information, not money. By sharing with them where they can get food, a bed, and a shower you help them begin to trust people again, restore hope in them and opportunities for work and various other programs to get back on their feet.
- Donate and resources. By donating time and resources towards programs that teach our homeless community how to become self-sufficient i.e. Community gardens, counseling, and learning skills. I believe we each have a role to play as a society to find out what each person needs to get back on their feet.
In 2014 I felt lost and hopeless but today I have a career I love, I get to wake up every day and use my skills to help people fall in love with technology through my computer repair business TechEZ PC Repair, and I believe every person should be given the same chance I was given to create a life they love.
In the near future, I see programs equipping homeless people across the country with resources to help them with the depression, start their own businesses, trade-in their sign of asking for money for a sign of looking for work. I see community gardens and tiny home communities established as stepping stones for people to return to society and in turn, give back to the programs that helped them regain their life.
Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo is an organization that is doing just that.
Together we can help everyone that needs and wants help to become the person they want to be and have a career they love.
Please leave me a comment about how you are contributing to become a part of the solution to end homelessness for good.