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Deep within the outskirts of the inner-city, there lie many places with no warmth or refuge, but rather of dank cardboard boxes, self-made newspaper beds, and improvised living quarters far less than sanitary. These bleak settings provide the shelter inhabited by the homeless, and are surely to be found scattered throughout city alleys, underpassages, or condemned housing and buildings. There are no real facets to this kind of living that can truly explain why such a predicament is part of our society, only the realization that misfortune hits some much harder than others. That being said, we as human beings, should not accept this, and we must somehow find resolve for the problems that exist with today s homeless. If ever we dare pass through these poorer sides of towns, we might just encounter some of these unfamiliar faces, these faces, that happen to be just as real as any other everyday person. But what would be our reaction to them? Would we pass by them in such an indiscreet way as if to believe that they werenon-existent? Or do we offer a friendly hand to show just how good a human heart we have? Such are the questions that we are faced with should such a situation unfold, but often times than other, it seems as though people choose to neglect or overlook the homeless rather than to help them. And understandably so, because we may not even realize the blessing that we have in having a place to call home, and if we take that for granted, than how can we assume ourselves to the solution? To have an understanding of how unfortunate these people are, we need to know just how some of these people became homeless. It is seemingly interesting that most of us feel that the homeless people ended up the way they did because of what they brought onto themselves ( thinking: “Why don t you just get a job?”) , but the reality of it is that homelessness knows no discrimination, be it for man, woman, or child. Often times when homelessness claims a man, it also takes his family. Whether it was a lay-off from work, or too much of a rise in the cost of housing/living, he and his family will undoubtedly be in for more than just “rough times” if he has no form other means of support. And to think that there was a survey across this nation that came to the conclusion that at one time more than + of U.S. household residents lived from one check to the other, and were one check away from being evicted from there homes. The sad part of this problem is that woman and children often comprise more of the homeless population than men do: divorced women (with and without children), who were strong enough to depart an abusive husband and be on their own, but just couldn t quite make it on their own and had nowhere else to turn for support; teenage mothers, who got kicked out their parents houses and got no support from the “would-be” fathers (often times these same teenage women turn to prostitution as a way of living on the streets); and runaways, who had nowhere else to turn but to the “cold curbs” of society. Add to the list, illegal immigrants, who came to try and make a better, “free” living for themselves, but later found out that their dream wasn t so easy to grasp, and some mentally inept people who were not offered support from hospitals or family; and you come up with a substantial number of people who became homeless.

History has proven that while we ve attempted to deplete homelessness, it has yet to show dividends for the long run. Franklin D. Roosevelt lived in a time where poverty was at a high and opportunities at a low, so he established the “New Deal”, in which government provided jobs that required very little skills. It was to offer a promising outcome by rejuvenating the economy for future America, but as we later found out, it would be one, of many programs, to try and resolve this matter. Today, programs such as AFDC(Aid to Families with Dependent Children), HUD Housing, and welfare are offered as a means to try and prevent any further shelter “over-population”, but really they re designed to help those people who are about to be homeless, not so much the homeless themselves. Shelters, have proven to be very useful in helping people stay of streets, but one problem with this is (as I have learned) that even at these places (of refuge, mind you), the homeless often get robbed of the little possessions they have by their fellow “neighbors”. Unless there is more support by the economy as a whole, while the programs of today can be very effective, they will continue to prove just as insufficient as the ones of the past. “Gone from eyes of the weary, the Good Sumearitans have done their deeds, and despite the bleak horizon, a glimmer of light proceeds.” I qoute this particular line to try to depict a little symbolism of what the future can hold if we choose it to. If we, as a whole, can offer better support to ending homelessness, we will surely conquer one of the biggest problems that is part of our society. No doubt it would offer a challenge, but by finding out how to offer more suitable funds for the programs in which property for homes can be offered to the homeless, or helping them acquire homes, it could be a start. If it s too costly to build new homes and or complexes for homeless, than maybe we can fix up buildings that are already built and vacated, but at the same time deemed fit to live in. Spending some time at shelters ( such as SAMMS: San Antonio Metropolitan Ministry Shelter) can only enlighten us to what the homeless people are like; for if we know who they are, we will probably be more inclined to sympathize with what we may not know (or choose not to know) with what exist with them. The government, I feel, needs to offer more support (being that we seem to be able help other poverty-stricken countries) for the homeless, but at the same time understanding that they can only do so much, which is where we must come in. Somewhere down the line, I have to believe that most of these people were just like us; they woke up every morning struggling to maintain the little bit they had, but unlike the rest of society, for them it wasn t quite enough to survive with the rest of the world. When it s all said and done, I think homelessness can be ended, but we have to understand why such a problem exist, and unless we keep making the mistake of neglecting the problem, we will never be able to make amends with it.

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