This is concluding post about America’s struggle with homelessness. To express what the future looks like for America’s homeless I will start with looking at the homeless in America currently. The definition of homeless according to the McKinney-Vento Act is ‘individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence’. As of now, people, many of whom are children and youth, who are considered homeless could be in one of the following living situations, as cited by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, dividing a house with other people, residing in hotels or camping facilities, transitional housing, or living in an abandoned building, such as a hospital. The people who are in these situations are considered homeless, however there are other cases that also fall into the category of homeless.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is helping those who are homeless and in ‘near homeless’ situations. Those who are considered near homeless are individuals and families who are on the verge of being in a homeless situation. For example, they may be close to losing their home, because they have been laid off of a job. The National Low Income Housing Coalition has developed goals to ensure that people are being helped during these difficult situations. Their goals, which can be found at their website are as follows, to maintain existing nationally assisted homes and resources, expand low income housing, and establish stability in housing. 60571806_784af48d68_m

The Third Annual Homeless Assessment Report, completed by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (Office of Community Planning and Development) showed the statistics of American homelessness. In their 2008 report they stated that, statistically, on any given night 63 percent of homeless were individuals and 37 percent of homeless were families. Of these people those who were sheltered were veterans, making roughly 15 percent, people with mental illnesses, 28 percent, HIV victims, 4 percent, unaccompanied youth, 2 percent, and 39 percent of whom were suffering from substance abuse. These statistics reflect that those who are in homeless situations often need more help than just shelter. Often homeless individuals are facing physical, mental and emotional struggles.

Homeless individuals do not just reside in urban areas and around large cities, they can be found in many rural areas as well. The National Alliance to End Homelessness states that rural homeless individuals make up nine percent of the homeless population. Some of the most impoverished people in America live in rural areas. Recently, 20/20, an ABC News program, did a story on the Appalachia region of the United States. This is a rural area in the eastern United States that suffers from extreme poverty. The story highlights some of the issues and problems that the children and adults face that are growing up there.

The homelessness in America is something that saddens and quiets most of the American people. Ending homelessness and giving them hope for the future is something that is a priority. 

Today, there are some things that many American homeless can smile about. Lately the media has been talking about the Homeless World Cup. This is a organization where the homeless of the world play for their countries in street soccer. This is creating inspiration for a bright future of the players and other homeless people. The game and organization give the homeless who play something to live for. Those who are not homeless can also make an impact through this organization. The program offers places for people to donate, volunteer or raise money for the organization. The vision of the Homeless World Cup is for a ‘healthy, abundant, confident world where everyone has a home, a basic human need,’ (mission). Also, homeless individuals themselves can have a chance to play in the soccer game. 3091525029_d35473d61c_m

Although the national poverty level and homeless rate is at a staggering level and the economy is down the homeless of America have many organizations that advocate for them. Many organizations in the Twin Cities and around the country aim at helping those on the streets. Source Ministries is helping the youth of Minneapolis. Other organizations such as, Families Moving Forward, People Serving People, and Mary’s Place are all geared toward serving the impoverished people of the Twin Cities. Homeless Help in the Twin Cities (map of organizations that serve the homeless). The homeless of America are often overlooked by many Americans. However, they do need help from those who are willing to serve. This is a problem in America that can and should be fixed. It is simply unacceptable that some American live in multi-million dollar houses, while others live with no where to lay their head. 256934977_22d1187995_m

Poverty and homelessness are not just problems that  are exclusive to North America. In fact, poverty is often more severe and unforgiving in other parts of the world. Hunger impacts people daily, according to poverty.com someone dies every three and a half seconds because of hunger related causes, 25,000 people a day. Just after writing the first three sentences of this blog over 300 people in poverty have died. Many people in the world do not have the money to buy enough food for even one day. 

Many of the people who are living in poverty are from countries in Africa. Africa has some of the world’s poorest countries (world poverty). World Poverty.org says that the problem in Africa rises from poor land, education and short term aid. The short term aid provids help, but does not bring success in the long run for many of these poverty stricken countries. The poor people in Africa are suffering from starvation and are in desperate need of international long term aid. 2921851615_a5e616aef5_m

Asia, with such a large population, also is home to many of those who suffer from poverty. Countries like India, whose poverty was depicted in the movie Slumdog Millionaire, are in need of clean water and better educational systems to benefit toward their large and growing populations. 

Latin America experiences poverty, however, according to worldpoverty.org the cycle of poverty is showing improvement. The poorer regions of Latin America are often affected by the drug and political instabilities. 

These world regions could use more attention and dedication by the wealthier nations that hold much of the world’s money and resources. However, these wealthier countries are consumed with the current recession. The most important point is that the recession does affect these poor nations, because they started with so little when it began. It is crucial that America, who has many resources, focus on feeding the mouths of those who have nothing at all. 

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With the failing economy, Minnesota’s residents have been struggling to keep their jobs and their homes. Every night people in Minnesota, up to one thousand,  are being turned away from shelters around the state. These emergency shelters help and feed those who do not have a place to sleep at night.

The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless predicts that more problems will possibly arise once Minnesota cuts more money from the emergency shelter fund (website). However, some people in Minnesota are trying to help those in need.

1355042827_c9efe8e0fd_mSource Ministries in Minneapolis is taking steps toward helping the homeless, specifically young adults. The organization focuses on using creative arts as an outlet for troubled teens. This includes art exhibits, drum circles, and music. They also have transitional housing available (Source Ministries). Source has many opportunities for the public to become involved and contribute to the fight against homelessness. 

Here is a video about Homelessness in Minnesota…

Many people have grown up dreaming that they will one day go to college or have a family of their own. Some children just dream that they will have food the next time they are hungry. Too often many people in America do not realize that children are the victims of homelessness. The National Center on Family Homelessness reported that one in fifty children are homeless in America. That is about 1.5 million American children (website). Also, the problem is continuing to grow due to job loss and the economic downturn in America. 3072695541_bc75d7f1a0_m

MSNBC reported that the growing problems with child homelessness are due to the lack of state initiatives and planning. States like Texas, Georgia, and Louisiana received low ratings, while states like Connecticut, New Hampshire and Minnesota were in the top ten of those states that had received the highest ratings for addressing problems with homeless children. 

Children that experience homelessness suffer from many more problems than those who are sheltered. Homeless children are often more ill, and experience malnutrition. Also, these children often experience problems in school and many drop out before they even finish high school (MSNBC). Many cities have organizations that are geared toward addressing a number of these problems. 134391343_ca5b59da05_m

The National Coalition for the Homeless is an organization with the goal of ending homelessness. To find out more about recent articles and events regarding homelessness visit their website

To see the faces of these children check out this youtube video.

The President’s point of view on homelessness drastically affects the actions the government takes toward putting an end to individuals sleeping on the streets. President Obama can also be an example for the countries attitudes toward homelessness. If the President can go help the homeless, why can’t average American citizens? 2281266036_a6c7468d28_mThe President exemplified a servants heart by helping out at a shelter for at-risk youth and homeless earlier this year (The Caucus, NY Times Blog). President Obama spent time painting rooms and visiting with the homeless at the Sasha Bruce House in Washington.

Obama and his wife, Michelle seem to place a high importance on paying close attention to the health and wealth of the underprivileged. In the coming years, it will be interesting to see if the President and his wife make strides toward ending homelessness in America. In my last blog I mentioned that Obama spoke out against homelessness in his recent Press Conference. Here is the clip of Obama after being questioned about homelessness in America…

Although the President’s actions and points of view on the issue of homelessness is crucial, it is more important that America as a whole begins to tackle the problem. Example’s like the President can spur on a nation, but this is something that all people can do. Inspiring people to create change is just as vital. To learn more about changing America’s struggle with homelessness visit the website, Solutions for America. It is possible to save people from lonely, cold nights on the streets, but this requires action and determination.

Someone’s child, mother, father, brother, or sister is sleeping outside tonight. In the dark cold evening they will lay their head on a concrete pillow and dream about a roof that will not be there when they open their eyes. The biggest misconception about the people that live on the streets is that they got themselves there. This, however, is not the case. With the growing economic problems in the United States homelessness is becoming a larger issue. It has started to affect more and more of the population. According to nationalhomless.org (website) in 2005 13.3 percent of the population in America was living in poverty. Poverty and the struggle to find affordable housing results in millions of Americans spending their nights on the street. And to make matters worse the assistance from the public has dwindled (nationalhomeless.org). 

Tent cities have popped up all over the country. Many relate these small communities to Hoovervilles of the Great Depression (History of Hoovervilles).3380296017_8878742f39_m1 In the 1930’s many people lost everything when the stock market crashed and had to find shelter when they lost their homes. Thus, they began to create small cities out of scraps and anything they could find. Now in 2008 people are setting up their tents and creating small cities, now referred to, conveniently, as Tent Cities. Fresno, California is the site where many of these new homeless folks live in their tents. In an article by The New York Times, Jesse McKinley writes about these new tent cities. He says that at a recent press conference President Obama had this to say about the modern day Hoovervilles, it is “not acceptable for children and families to be without a roof over their heads in a country as wealthy as ours,” (article). The President makes a valid point, however, it seems that right now homelessness is growing rather than reducing. Truthfully, it is sad to know that some people in our country are living in mansions while others are living on the street. 2275892286_23d68c561c_m

The point is that everyone can try and make a difference. The most important step is deciding to help. The next is to find a place or venue in which you can make the most of your time and money. Reaching out to the homeless and helping them will make an impact on their lives, no matter how little it may seem.

The following video illustrates how some of the homeless are making it on the streets…

There are homeless people all around the world who are struggling every night. Every person should be aware of the problems and issues that are facing the world today, so that those who are inclined to make a difference can do so knowledgably.This blog is dedicated to shedding light on those who need attention the most. These people are those in poverty, living from meal to meal and sleeping without somewhere to lay there head at night.