Diede Wagner, The Netherlands
How can we decrease the quantity of homeless people in the USA? Well, that is actually a very good question and a quite important one. ”There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help.”~ Jan Schakowsky. Jan has a good point of view, but why is it so hard to help the homeless people?
America versus Europe
Are there more homeless people in America than there are in Europe?
The answer is yes. Not only because America is a lot bigger, but the percentage is also a lot higher.
One of the reasons is the financial crisis in 2008. Since that year, the number of homeless people has increased. In this period, the prices of the houses had increased, but the salaries did not. Therefore, a lot of families had to live on the streets. Also natural disasters and health problems are a huge factor that leads to people becoming homeless. Europe does not have as many natural disasters as America, and if there are, they are much less fierce. Another difference between America and Europe concerning homeless people is the health care and income. In most of Europe, people have to be insured, and even if you are not, you have the right to be helped. Because of the income unemployed people get in Europe and the health care they receive, it is much more unlikely for them to become homeless in Europa than it is in America.
Volunteers America works to prevent and end homelessness through different services. They reach out to homeless people by talking to them on the streets and mobile outreach services. Once they are in contact with the homeless people, they are going to make up a plan how their service can best help them. The plan can be for a homeless individual, a whole family or just a child. Helping homeless people is more than only taking care of a new home, it is also about giving support and advice on how to get and keep a job. They have to become independent again. It is a long and difficult process until independence can be achieved but with the help of volunteers, it is possible.
The state of Alabama has the highest number of homeless. Number two is Arkansas and third is California. Alabama has 6,080 homeless people with a population of 4,875 million. Arkansas has 2,712 homeless people with a population of 3,004 million. California has 113,925 homeless people, with a population of 39,45 million. California has the most homeless, but in comparison to the population it is the lowest percentage. In Santa Barbara, a city in California, there are 900 homeless people. The new council wants to built emergency shelters. In order to do that, Homeless Emergency Aid Program called (HEAP), will give the city of Santa Barbara 9.4 million dollars.
Although there are a lot of volunteers who want to decrease the number of homeless people, there are still too many. Once you become homeless, it is very hard to go back into society again. The number of homeless people is still increasing and there is not much we can do at this moment. Because America is so different in comparison to Europe, it is hard to use the same method to decrease homelessness.