I have heard much talk from many talking heads about the homeless problem here in America and really throughout the world, but much of the talk has not been about the root of the problem. Most of the time the talk never really gets pass the point of “we have a homeless problem.” In actuality it goes deeper than that and the root of the problem is often overlooked or just not known to many. There are many reasons why someone finds themselves homeless and much of the time it is just bad circumstances or “bad luck” as some would say. Before I get into the root of the problem I want to give some statistics that would make the hardest of hearts melt.
According to National Alliance to End Homelessness, “While circumstances can vary, the main reason people experience homelessness is because they cannot find housing they can afford. It is the scarcity of affordable housing in the United States, particularly in more urban areas where homelessness is more prevalent, that is behind their inability to acquire or maintain housing.”
By the numbers:
- In January 2015, 564,708 people were homeless on a given night in the United States.
- Of that number, 206,286 were people in families, and
- 358,422 were individuals.
- About 15 percent of the homeless population – 83,170 – are considered “chronically homeless” individuals.
- About 2 percent – 13,105 – are considered “chronically homeless” people in families.
- About 8 percent of homeless people- 47,725 – are veterans.
These numbers come from Point-in-Time Counts, which are conducted, community by community, on a single night in January every other year. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities to submit this data every other year in order to qualify for federal homeless assistance funds. Many communities conduct counts more regularly.
In a recent survey conducted by Forbes Report more than half of Americans (56 percent) half less than $1,000 in their checking and savings account, combined. Nearly a quarter (24.8 percent) have less than $100 to their name. Meanwhile, 38 percent said they would pay less than their full credit card balance this month, and 11 percent said they would make the minimum payment—meaning they would likely be mired in debt for years and pay more in interest than they originally borrowed.
How does the richest Nation, the world’s superpower find themselves in this situation? High unemployment, underemployment, price of housing, and many factors play into the equation as we will go over. The heart breaking fact I have seen is that we have irresponsibly increased our foreign aid to other nations and perpetuated global wars at the cost of trillions, but can’t help those in our backyards. Our own people are suffering daily and the money flows to other nations.
One example I want to talk about is when I met a gentleman that was a welder by trade. He had a very good paying job and was skilled in his trade. Let’s call him John and let me tell you the story he told me. His story is not uncommon and has been the cause of some to find themselves homeless.
John was working at a fabrication plant as a welder and had been employed at his job for nearly 18 years. Having started off as an entry level laborer he was able to learn the trade of welding on his own time and with the help of some of his co workers. Eventually he was able to secure a job as a welder because of his tenacity and hard work. Just two years after starting with this company he went from laborer to welder and the quality of his work was recognized by many. So much so that went out of town jobs would come up he would often times be chosen to go to the job site and was even lead welder on numerous occasions.
After much rumor and conversation it was confirmed that the company he worked for would be closing and they would be opening a plant in Mexico and closing the fabrication plant he was currently working at. Outsourcing of jobs to cut higher taxes and trim payroll was the reason and with only 60 days notice he was losing his job. This is where the story gets shameful. He was selected to travel to Mexico and train his replacement and help set up the welding department in the new plant that was being constructed. Hesitantly, he accepted as the consequences for not doing so would have been an early exit.
John loads up his tools, tells the family goodbye and takes a flight to Mexico to start the process of training his replacement on the company standards and quality of work. Since John was in Mexico and working 14 hour days he was unable to find new work to replace the job he was about to lose. The company said that because he was part of the transition team he would be taken care of and helped in finding new employment. While John was sad about losing the current job, he felt somewhat comforted that the company would help relocate him to a new job, or at the very least, help him find something else.
John and the transition team was in Mexico the entire 60 days that the plant here would have left to operate. While he was there he not only taught the job specification and quality requirements to the new employees, but was involved in writing safety guidelines and other duties that went above his job title and responsibilities.
When John came back from Mexico after the allotted time he was immediately told that he would be let go with two weeks pay as severance. Two weeks severance for 18 years of service and dedication. Not only that, but John also found the window had close for him to get assistance from the company to get new employment. Just like that, John was without a job and even help in finding another job. He and his family had managed to save some money in their savings account, but only enough for a couple months. After that time had elapsed and an exhaustive search for a new job, John found himself taking care of his family in shelters and not being able to provide for the kids like he once had. The state stepped in and instead of offering help, they broke up the family by placing his kids in the care of the state. No fault of his own, John lost his home, job and his family.
This is an example of many situations that go on here in America and around the world. Tax dodging corporations seeking opportunities to fatten the bottom line at any cost or care. I could give hundreds more examples of this happening and each one is as heart breaking as the next. John was able to rebound and get back on his feet again after 13 months of being homeless. I am not sure what came out of the family situation as I had moved away and lost contact with him. To this day I see his story reverberated in the faces of many I see in his same situation.
One of the most disgraceful examples of homelessness is how many Veterans find themselves on the street on any given night. Regardless of how you feel about the wars, and I have my opinions as well, we can not continue to just accept our men and women being neglected by the government and turned a blind eye by the American people that they swore to defend. We lose 22 Veterans a day to suicide and 8 percent of our Veterans are now homeless. We have lost more to suicide than we have lost in the Iraq War. That is unacceptable and still the government refuses much of the time to provide them the services they need to get back the lives they were willing to lay down.
Mental illness is another issue where the existing system is failing. Tight regulations and a willingness to correctly diagnose the problem or properly fund the programs in place is the Achilles heel of our medical system. The programs that we do have in place are understaffed, underfunded, and ran by agencies, not doctors. That is a sign that the overall system is broken from start to finish. Our medical industry is ran by Big Pharma that peddles their pills instead of promote their cures. Healthy and dead people aren’t paying the profits for Big Pharma, it is the medicated they keep on their “products.”
The Central Banks and the greed that the corporate welfare recipients at Wall Street steal from us is staggering. Banks are to big to fail and man is to expensive to help. The Military Industrial Complex has boneyards where their once shiny toys proudly displayed to now collecting rust by the thousands. Trillions spent on foreign occupation of lands we were said to have liberated, yet, continue to occupy. Foreign aid pouring out of this country like a child who left the faucet on after washing their hands before dinner. Corporate lobbyist buying laws from politicians to make it a crime to feed the homeless with the army of the police enforcing it. Benches on the streets now built with dividers to keep those who seek a decent nights sleep from them. Concrete spikes going up faster than a new Starbucks to keep the homeless off the streets without a place to properly lay.
The vacant homes to homeless ratio is 6 vacant home to every homeless person, but because of greed and a fraudulent economic system operating under Keynesian economics those vacant homes continue to go vacant and nature eventually consume them again.
The economy is hanging on by a bubble and at any given moment will burst as the market has been hit with a loss over the Brexit vote along with manipulated market controlled by the Central Bankers. This is important because if we do not do something the homeless problem will continue to grow and get out of control.
We need to get back our moral compass and reign in our overseas programs and aid and take care of our own. We have the resources and means to do so and we need to act now. With a 19 trillion dollar national debt and growing, the high unemployment numbers and outsourcing jobs to help bring in globalism, many of us unprepared and barely surviving now could find ourselves in this sad situation.
The community has a role to play in helping bring awareness to this problem. When your city passes laws that makes it illegal to feed the homeless like we saw in Florida then speak up and act. While there are some very corrupt organization that say they help, do your homework and find a shelter or some other way of addressing the need. And always, fight the global bankers that are out for profit over humanity.
Written by: Michael Howell
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