Culture

Homelessness Forgotten

Homeless
Homeless
Lee Jeffries didn’t want to exploit these people or steal photographs of them like so many other photographers who had seen the homeless as an easy target.
| Photo: Lee Jeffries | Homeless, Poverty, Lee Jeffries,

How did a horrific American problem become so ignored?

Our fortieth largest state in America is the state of homelessness. Over 1.5 million individuals and families have found themselves homeless at some point in 2011, ranging from the chronic homeless to families without the resources to find affordable temporary shelter.

Why are over 1.5 million people and families ignored, swept under the rug, and never talked about in America? That's a complicated question, ranging from disgust to detachment to downright anger. The rich look at the homeless as some blight on society when it really should be challenging them to do more with their resources than pay for a trophy wife or exotic sports car.

The working poor and middle class sees the homeless and go into denial that the severely underpaying job, and lack of significant savings in their own lives could cause them to be homeless if they one day face a serious financial emergency (like paying for cancer treatments).

Our politicians don't even see the homeless, it would prove to them that cronie-capitalism ran by a corporate oligarch isn't making America stronger or better. It would challenge those politicians to rein in housing prices, and use community resources and land and volunteer workers to establish temporary homeless hostiles all across our great nation.

Those are just a few of the reasons why people ignore the homeless. But here are some reasons why you shouldn't. Over 60% of homeless families are single mothers with children. Homelessness does not mean you are what many refer to as a bum, sleeping in boxes and begging for a dollar to go buy alcohol with. If you had your house foreclosed on while being downsized and only have less than $1000 in the bank like 64% of Americans do, then you could end up homeless.

In our totally broken and corrupt society, if you are out of work for more than six months, corporations will not hire you. If you had financial problems and have a low credit score, corporations will not hire you, and when the majority of jobs offering benefits along with a mediocre wage are corporate jobs ' it's easy to see how someone can be ignored and left out to become homeless.

So the next time you see a homeless person or family, remember if you are in the majority of Americans that are one financial crisis or lost job away from being homeless yourself, at least offer your compassion. And if you are fortunate enough to have wealth, challenge yourself to lend a helping hand to the homeless families in your community.

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Updated Apr 22, 2017 9:06 AM EDT | More details

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