Topics: Occupational therapy, Homelessness, Occupational science Pages: 5 (1747 words) Published: October 30, 2013

The homeless stand down was an eye-opener experience for me. I had the opportunity to interact with several individuals, and one family. Initially I conducted some interviews with them to help complete the questionnaire; and the remainder of the time, I escorted the individuals and helped them choose items that were necessary for them. As I talked to each of them, I realized that the present state of these individuals were a product of the current economic situations. According to the National Homeless Coalition (2009), work factors are one of the many reasons why individuals are homeless. One of the individuals that I spoke to informed me that he was working a regular nine to five job at a construction site, but now due to the economy he is only working a couple of shifts and even those shifts are inconsistent. The information provided by the National Homeless Coalition (2009) regarding “why are people homeless” confirmed my notion that the increasing struggles in our economy has resulted in an increase in homelessness. The surprising factor that I neglected to visualize was the impact it had on children and families. When people think about the homeless, they often envision older adults on the streets. It is too painful to imagine that children are on the streets without food, water, or shelter. One family that I had the chance to work together with was with a mother and her three children. She had two daughters, ages 11 and 9 and a boy who was 2 years old. She is currently without a job and lives with her mother temporarily. She is one of the fortunate ones that have family members supporting her, but there were other stories of families living in cars and streets because of no support. The decline in jobs, low-income, and rising cost of homes and healthcare are all factors that lead to an increase in homelessness (National Homeless Coalition, 2009). The risk of individual who may currently have a home, but are at the brink of homelessness is high. It is often easier to ignore people who are homeless or even ignore that homelessness exists in our society because it is easier for society to blame the individual rather than society itself. It is important to advocate for those who are not able speak up for themselves. The article by the National Homeless Coalition (2009) states that there is a decline in public assistance for individuals who are homeless; therefore it is integral that we as a society seek assistance for these individuals and help promote awareness of the rise in homelessness. Individuals who are homeless or at risk for becoming homeless may experience various occupational issues, such as the following examples, but are not limited to these: difficulties maintaining a job, transportation, and emotional or regulation skills. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) (2008), work is an area of occupation and defined as “activities needed for engaging in remunerative employment or volunteer activities.” Individuals that are homeless have difficulty in obtaining a job due to a deficiency in certain skills sets. Other problems regarding work opportunity is the lack of trust employers may have regarding individuals who are homeless. Society often views people who are homeless lower than themselves and often disregard their talents and needs. People fail to inquire about where they came from and what elements in life caused them to become homeless. Another concern that individuals that are homeless may endure is a lack of transportation. This problem falls under the occupation areas of instrumental activities of daily living (AOTA, 2008). Individuals succumbed to homelessness do not have the means to go to one place from another. Individuals at the stand down stated that they have difficulty attending scheduled appointments, such as doctor’s visits, due to lack of transportation. Often times, individuals are left with panhandling for assistance for bus fares. These individuals do not...
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