The epidemic of homelessness dates back to before the implementation of unfavorable policy changes, financial depression, & the decrease of resources. In January 2017, the national estimate of homelessness in the United States was 553,742. Regardless of the political environment, homelessness is a pandemic that is not easily eliminated. Even though, since 2007, 36 states have reported an overall decrease in homelessness, it is still a pervasive issue that plagues the lives of others. Sadly, despite the assistance in place for these individuals, there is not enough supply for the demand. Regardless of the events that have led to their homelessness (drug addiction, abuse, natural disasters, etc.) it appears that the homeless, if not seen regularly or in large quantities, are an easily forgotten population. For instance, we all know that those less fortunate than us exist & we understand that this is an issue; however, many of us hold true to the “out of sight, out of mind” way of processing. We often become so overwhelmed by our own problems that we are oblivious or immune to the struggles of others. Unfortunately, since there are some beliefs (true & untrue) in regards to the lives of homeless people, many of us would rather help “model” people who we believe have “temporarily” fallen down on their luck before helping people who may have contributed to their lives turning out the way they have.
Understanding this, Nickkie&Co. pursued another philanthropic mission to help the homeless, despite their histories, their errors or their shortcomings. Instead, of trying to figure out why they got where they were, Conglomerates & I looked at the individuals & how it would feel to be in their shoes for a day. Though we understand that we cannot fix the problem in one instance, we understand the importance of seeing a warm smile accompanied with a kind gesture. Therefore, together we raised 31 blankets to give to the homeless living in tent city on Lehigh Avenue in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, there were more homeless people than blankets. However, their appreciation was evident. What surprises me is not just the amount of people living without roofs over their heads but the amount of impoverished people who struggle daily to truly make ends meet. The 2017 Census recognizes that 39.7 million people were living in poverty. So, for a family of 4, the federal poverty level was 24,600. There has been an increase this year, however, these numbers are eye opening.
Since I have started Nickkie&Co. I often hear different stories of people struggling & it baffles me. Some people truly wake up every day wondering how they are going to survive– unsure if they will eat that week or if they will have a warm place to sleep at night. It hurts me. We live in the “land of the free” that thrives off of materialism & self-preservation, however, we have people barely getting by; barely living. So today, I advocate that we begin to acknowledge a problem when we see it, spread awareness to teach others & if we cannot do anything else, we remain empathetic & kind to those in unfortunate situations. But I must say that the first step to making a difference is to acknowledge that a problem exists & that a difference has to be made. We cannot begin to contribute to eradicating a problem if we fail to recognize that it exists. In order to care for each other, we have to be willing to advocate, teach each other & speak up for those who may not be able to. We have to work together in love so that we can lift & build up those in less than ideal situations. Small strides in the community can go a long way because usually it takes one bold person to take a stand & the rest will follow. Advocating & being kind provides that glimmer of hope so many people need. So shine & make a difference. Make your imprint on the world & make it deep enough that it is not covered in dust long after you are gone.
**Statistics from endhomelessness.org, census.gov, peoplekeep.com***