My new company values the importance of volunteering SO much so that they actually schedule a day when all of us can leave work early and go volunteer together at a variety of events throughout the area.
LOVE the idea!!
I went with fellow coworkers to a homeless shelter (of sorts) and was reminded once again of how fortunate I truly am. The issue of homelessness is just accepted in our society and it's one of the worst injustices of our time. There are people who definitely do not do their part to make their life successful, but there are a LOT of people who are just beat down by the system. Once you get down, for whatever reason-a medical illness, a domestic violence situation, or just really bad luck-it's VERY easy to get stuck on a downward spiral.
As of 2001: nationwide, 20-25% of homeless people suffer from serious mental illness.We don't have adequate medical services to help those with mental illnesses. It's a hidden disease that no one cares to fully address.
Two trends are largely responsible for the rise in homelessness over the past 20-25 years: a growing shortage of affordable rental housing and a simultaneous increase in poverty. (more info here)
Let's face it - our economy is going to shit. (what an odd phrase that is....)
We are in a recession, on the edge of another depression - why can't we admit this? Because the affluent people who control the government are still affluent. The poor are getting killed.
And the nearly homeless are becoming homeless and the organizations that typically serve the homeless population are losing funding all across the board - government funding has decreased (because lawmakers have other priorities) and private donations are down (because people feel the crunch of living in a recession). Housing costs are outrageous, not to mention electric and food costs. You just can't live off minimum wage-it's just not possible.
It's a very sad state of affairs going on around us.
If you were to see a small child helping his mother carry in all of their belongings in four suitcases into a homeless shelter, where they will only have six weeks of relief before they must leave and make room for someone else - you would understand the sadness of it all.
If you could see the sadness in a teen boys' face as he comes "home" from school to the homeless shelter and know that he feels anger, sorrow, and shame of having to be there, sharing one room with his parents and sibling, but grateful that they no longer have to live in their car...you would understand.
It's just a sad time for so many.
There is so much more we should be doing.