What is the epidemic of homelessness? Why does it seem it is affecting so many people?
For me, it is as simple and as complicated as spending every last dollar only to bounce from couch to couch. Then, spending all my time and resources worrying about whether or not I would have somewhere to rest my head in the following days.
Families can be forced into poverty after job loss, unforeseen medical expenses, the rise of cost of living that is unequal to minimum wage standards on both a federal and state level, and other factors. If you are raised in poverty, it can seem impossible to get out. Many youth, unfortunately, tend to be the products of their upbringing. Foster youth are no exception.
As I see it, the public finds it easiest to just look down and see homelessness as laziness and unwillingness to work. How can you hold a job when you don’t even have a way to apply?
There are other factors at play in the struggle of keeping a job while homeless. It becomes nearly impossible to save money when your assets are spent keeping your uniforms clean, getting transportation to and from work, and making sure you have enough food to last you between checks.
I was saved from homelessness by an organization known as Plymouth Crossroads. This is a transitional housing program in New York aimed at protecting the lives of young men aged 16 to 21, and helping them build back their lives. My time there inspired me to use my experience to give back to those who helped me become a better man. Now, I advocate for homelessness and that it is an epidemic.
The lives of children everywhere are destroyed and they stay silent because they feel their voices mean nothing. If you can inspire just one child who's too scared to speak out about the injustice our system has overlooked, then that one life can have a positive domino effect and save the lives of hundreds of thousands lives nationwide.