Saturday, 15 December 2007


A few weeks ago, I was watching a feature on Al Jazeera about present living conditions in Russia. I was shocked when I heard that there are around 4 million homeless people in that country! The TV report also stated that during the Soviet era, homelessness did not exist; it was actually a crime!

While browsing the Internet, I came across a blog that contained some interesting information about homelessness in a part of the US:

In January 2005, an estimated 744,313 people experienced homelessness in the United States. In Idaho there are estimated to be 5,092 homeless people in shelters and 332 without shelter, giving Idaho one of the highest rates of homelessness per capita. The national average is 0.30% of the total population. Idaho's average is 0.38%. In comparison, Utah's average is only 0.13%.

56 percent of homeless people counted were living in shelters and transitional housing and, shockingly, 44 percent were unsheltered.

59 percent of homeless people counted were single adults and 41 percent were persons living in families.

In total, 98,452 homeless families were counted.

23 percent of homeless people were reported as chronically homeless, which, according to HUD’s definition, means that they are homeless for long periods or repeatedly and have a disability.

A number of states had high rates of homelessness, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington State. In addition, Washington, DC had a high rate of homeless people.

[Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness]

How could any caring government accept homelessness???



Glenn Gerald said...

Il-problema ta' nies li ma jkollohmx sempliciment dar fejn joqghodu hi wahda serjissima! Inkwetanti li taqra kif fis-seklu 21 fl-iktar pajjiz b'sahtu tad-dinja issib eluf ta' nies li m'ghandhomx saqaf fuq rashom! Inkredibbli! Prosit Comrade!

La delirante said...

Very good post Dave! Prosit! It is very schocking to see that the problem is so wide spread. Having a roof above your head should be really a right for all people but not only in paper...

David Cuschieri said...

Thanks for your comments! Every human being should have the right to a decent home. It is very sad that while so many politicans spend hours talking about freedom and democracy, such matters tend to be completely ignored in virtually all capitalist countries. In the US, it is usually the religious organisations that try to deal with the apparently increasing troubling problem of homelessness; the government there seems to have washed its hands of the whole matter! How shocking! I ask myself: where is the government's duty of care to its citizens??

Hannah B. said...

La delirante,
You mentioned that "having a roof above your head should be really a right for all people," yet I'm curious to know, where does one draw the line in the issue of governmental provision? If providing a roof for each homeless citizen becomes manditory, then what next, a car and then a computer, and then even shoes and clothing and the like, simply because it is needed? In this case, are we any better than Communist nations that take from everyone and spread it out among the population? (Because, indeed, by the government paying for it, we as tax-paying citizens are paying for it.)
It has always been the duty of each and every citizen to provide for themselves. Deep inside, everyone knows that. Of course there will always be people who struggle, and that is a hard issue to deal with in life because it is indeed a sad fact. However, one cannot merely assume that because some suffer from a lack of their daily, most basic needs that the government is doing something wrong.
Instead, it means people are doing things wrong, everyday people like you and me. We possess the hands and feet that should be doing the work to end homelessness.
It is easy to say that "someone else" should be doing the grunt work to help the homeless and to point fingers at our government, but I say, let the government do its job, which is to keep order among its citizens and to protect them from outside harm (foreign danger), and let people do their jobs, which is to live in a way that betters the lives of others and to lift those who are struggling out of the darkness they are in. If ordinary people like you and me are not willing to live in such a way, then there is no hope in trying to convey such a concept to the government that runs our country, because, in fact, our government is not a building; our government is made up of people, people with eyes and ears and minds like you and me. So once again, let the government do its job while we work to inspire people to do their jobs as human beings.

Bill said...

Homelessness is a very difficult issue to deal with. I know very well as I work with the Homeless and Poor everyday. I am the Director of a Charity to runs a Homeless Shelter, Homeless Outreach, Transitional Housing, and Food Bank.

When you say how can our government allow homelessness?

First, this current government has poored hundreds of millions into the homeless problem in the USA. They have set up entire government wings to deal with the issue. They instituted a nation wide database called HMIS to collect, analyize, and better understand homeless people and homeless issues. I could go on and on. So our government is doing a lot to help (we will have to see what the new government order does).

Some homeless don't want a roof over their head - or at least not at this time.

Some (not nearly as many as most people think) suffer from mental illness.

Some (we see around 15%) are veterans dealing with the horrors of war. Note: Our government/military does need to do a lot more in this area.

And the number one reason why women become homeless in the USA is domestic violence.

There is no "one face" nor even a handful of reasons for homelessness. There are hundreds. So solving this issue is no small task.

Here is a question to really consider:

What are you doing about it?

Are you getting involved where you live? Are you donating money, materials, food, and volunteering your time to help?

The next time you see a homeless person, don't look the other way. Look them in the eyes and smile at them, greet them, validate their humanity. For the most part, they are people just like you and me.

As I work with them everyday, I often remind myself: "There but for the grace of God go I."

Anonymous said...

while homelessness is an extream issue let us also look at the fact that some people are homless for reaosns like they just choose not to work. do not just point a finger at the govermentlast but not least what do you do when you see a homeless person do you give them money,food are a place to live acconanally you may give money but hardy any of the oter so if youo do not do so why the goverment

kipper said...

You are so right!You would have thought that this so called civilisation we live in would have taken care of the homeless, but alas we don't.
I used to help homeless people and know the hardships of what they go through on a daily basis
But who is to blame? obviously its not the homeless, after all who would want to live on the streets?
it's a mixture of bad political policies, and an ever increasing selfishness from us all!
thank you for such a great post!

Anonymous said...

It is a basic need for survival that we need a warm place to sleep and shelter from bad weather,
we need a diet that will sustain our body, and clothing to protect us from the elements.
I can not believe the selfishness from some of the other people who have left their comments.
no one chooses to be homeless and given the amount of taxation we pay perhaps it should be channeled into rehoming the homeless and not supplement the extravagant lifestyles our politicians live!