By Faye Williams
I was fortunate enough to travel home, to Colorado over Easter break. While in Colorado I spent several days in Denver with my family. Colorado is the most amazing state for so many reasons, and most people would agree with me.
However, most people are unaware of the immense homelessness issue throughout most of Colorado, especially in Denver. According to the Denver Post, 10,857 Coloradans are homeless on a single night throughout the year and nationally 550,000 people are reported homeless every year.
During my time in Denver, I was reminded of the reality of homelessness. I began to think about the snow days we had and the temperature dropping well below -30 degrees. On these cold days, homeless people are given minimal options to protect themselves. In fact, 27 homeless people in Minnesota died and at least 600 homeless people die in the United States every year.
While homeless shelters are a great resource for most, they do not have unlimited space and can often be unsafe for women and children. Not only are homeless people robbed from the basic human right of shelter and security, but they are not given much help to overcome homelessness and are stigmatized. Most people who become homeless remain homeless.
Homeless people often do not have a form of ID, access to a shower, access to transportation and so on. These various factors create a cycle which withholds homeless people from the opportunity to get a job and make steps to overcome homelessness. The stigma of being homeless further disempowers homeless people.
People become homeless for countless reasons that are out of a person’s control. LGBTQ+ youth, for example, occupy approximately 40 percent of homeless people in the United States. However, homeless people are stereotyped as drug addicts and alcoholics that enjoy begging for money in order to buy more drugs and alcohol. This population of homeless people does exist, but it is no where near the majority. No human being deserves to be homeless.
Along with these issues is the treatment of homeless people. Homeless people are so often viewed as less than human. Homeless people are ignored. It is so easy for us, people with comfortable living situations, to forget about the reality of homelessness and the privilege of having a safe home.
In St. Joseph, it is so easy to forget about the number of people without a place to sleep every night, but the statistics are astounding. Homelessness is a huge problem in most big cities, but there is little being done to assist those in need.
Everyone has the potential to be homeless someday. I suggest we take steps to create opportunities and awareness for the homeless population within the United States.
Homeless people are first and foremost people with a unique life and story and deserve to be treated as such.
This is the opinion of Faye Williams, CSB junior