Homelessness is a widely misunderstood problem that thousands of people must face every day. Promoting a clearer understanding of the epidemic and greater level of compassion for those who are experiencing it is the first step to eradicating homelessness, not only in Northwest Indiana, but across the country.
Grace Beyond Borders is a nonprofit organization in East Chicago that works to help the local homeless population by providing them with a variety of goods and services. In addition to this, Grace Beyond Borders works to educate members of the community on homelessness to help spread understanding and empathy.
According to the Grace Beyond Borders website, up to 25% of all homeless individuals in any given state are employed. This statistic works to counter the falsehood that all homeless individuals are lazy. The increased cost of living in many states has left minimum wage workers unable to make rent, which causes them to have to live on the streets.
In 2005, the National Coalition for the Homeless estimated that 41% of the nation’s homeless population was under the age of 18. Having an unstable home life greatly increases the likelihood that a child will drop out of school, potentially setting them up for financial struggles for the rest of their lives.
Grace Beyond Borders cited the National Alliance to End Homelessness as stating that 30% of homeless families must skip meals on a regular basis. This can provide serious health risks, particularly for children and the elderly. If they do get sick, these people may not be able to afford medical treatment, which could be disastrous.
The next step in ending homelessness is that good people take action! There are many local organizations that work to help the homeless in a variety of ways, including providing food, shelter, clothing and assistance with medical care. These groups are always in need of donations and volunteers. To learn more about helping the homeless in your community, visit www.FoundationsEC.org.