First, who are the persons and families experiencing homelessness? Who stays at shelters? The circumstances which bring people into the shelter system range from mothers with children who are escaping domestic violence in the home to youth who’ve aged out of the foster care system with no concrete plans or supports during their transition into adulthood ad independence.

The homeless are individuals suffering with mental health disorders, many undisgnosed. These are usually the people we encounter on the streets in our cities. The homeless person can be a well-put together woman[or man] who ceased to afford monthly rent due to increase. Rental amounts have tended to increase as salaries and income stays stagnant. Even folks with jobs can find themselves in homeless shelters, living in their vehicles or on the street. Some people will ride subways all night rather than live out on the ‘street’. This is often true for youth experiencing homelessness.

woman in black zip up jacket with black backpack

The homeless are transgender persons feeling isolated, possibly rejected by family and loved ones. In similar category are kids who felt unsupported or unwanted by their loved ones, who misunderstood them when all they needed was someone to sit with them as they cried.

The general perception of families and individuals experiencing homelessness is that of ‘blaming the victim’. We look at them as though they are throw-away persons, and thus non-entities to us. What we do not readily acknowledge is that each homeless person we see and encounter or step over along our daily travels are human beings-with stories. Backstories.

No one wishes to be homeless when there are options for shelter, safety and support on the ‘inside’, so to speak. Life circumstances bring them to this point in their lives.Sadly though, is that it is you and I who are to blame for their present circumstances. We are partially responsible for their past circumstances, as well.

We, of sound mind and body, failed to consider the less fortunate, the persons who need our advocacy. The life circumstances, and the ‘what if’s’, the safety nets have not been put in place to the degree that prohibits individuals from falling between the cracks. Should we be of voting age, we have voices and can and do influence programs and policy.

people gathering inside white building

In the United States, it is estimated that  approximately 17 people experience homelessness per every 10,000 people in the general population. That is an estimated 553, 742 people who experience homelessness on a given night.

Those of us whose lives are filled with sufficient cushions, stability and readily accessible supports, tend to take our lives for granted. We rest on our access to resources and relative resourcefulness. In many minds, those who experience homelessness are in these situations by their own doing. What we may fail to realize is that at any given moment in time, there but for the grace of God….


Read this article for more information.


Published by JaDonnia B.

An education and counseling professional, I focus my expertise on diversity, inclusion and family engagement/empowerment Of particular importance is the partnership between parents and the community schools that serve their children. Highlighting strategies, tips and evidence-based best practices for family engagement, my aim is to alter mindsets, broaden perspectives, foster empathy, and build capacity. Offering 'food for thought' and inviting discussion, I also tell truths rarely explored. A holistic culturally-responsive approach to teaching, learning and engaging others begins with respect. I promote respect and fully integrating curricular diversity in formal learning settings! Collaboration with families is necessary, because parents hold the master key that unlocks doors to child health and wellness, academic achievement, and believe it or not, teacher excellence and stronger school communities.

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