Billionaires speed off in their Bentleys and Lamborghinis off to work. Millionaires are stowed away in the lovely Beverly Hills or in Hollywood. The rich live in their nice houses and send their kids to private schools. The middle class is content and are happy with what they have. The poor are making an effort to get by and living with the bare necessities. What about the homeless? Some argue that the homeless got where they are through drug problems and mental illnesses. Homelessness is a severe struggle in the United States in which not all of the people suffer from drug problems or mental illnesses.
Although some homeless people have drug or mental illnesses, some have had just plain bad luck or poor judgment. In the film, The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner struggles severely. He can hardly sell his machine for business, his wife leaves him, and he has to find places to stay at night. Despite these struggles, he is determined to succeed and has a positive attitude. This helps Gardner at getting a prestigious job and Dean Witter and finding true happiness. In Weltner’s essay, a girl named Adrienne used some poor judgment and ended up having no backup support system. There are many ways to become homeless other than drug addiction and mental illnesses. For this reason, we need to continue programs to help our homeless. I know someone in the same shoes as Adrienne and Gardner. Recently I learned that a cousin of mine, Jenny, had become homeless. Jenny became homeless not from drugs or mental issues, but through bad luck and poor judgment. Her first mistake was when she became in an unhealthy relationship with a man and had four kids. They struggled throughout the years, but our whole family was there for support. When about everyone had given up on their bad decisions, something had to happen. They tried to live with family members, but that would only last for awhile. The kids were eventually taken away and the father of the kids left. Jenny was left by herself to roam the streets and hope for a homeless shelter at night. This example of homelessness hits home and shows that not all homelessness is caused by drug or mental problems. Everyone has encountered the homeless at one time or another. I have a unique view from my experiences. Joseph Perkins spent the night at New York’s Grand Central Station where the homeless that he encountered were not “people like you and me”. Similar to Perkins, I have come across the homeless in New York and Kansas City and his view is absolutely false. In New York, I was on the subway late at night. Most people were just walking around or sleeping. Only one person that I encountered clearly had a mental illness. During the day, I saw multiple homeless people walking around with a shopping cart full of their belongings. Others that I saw begged or slept in Central Park. In Kansas City, the homeless that one sees are usually begging or just sitting somewhere. In both spots there was only one clear sign of a mental illness. Much of homelessness is behind the scenes.
There are many things we can do for the homeless as a government and as individuals. A place to stay is very important. Homeless shelters provide this temporarily, but are still helpful. If we have a family member that has become homeless, we can try to help by making room for them to stay with us. Food kitchens help the homeless eat and drink. I have worked at a food kitchen in Kansas City and seen the homeless that are “like you and me”. Canned food drives from schools and other programs help to donate to these food kitchens. Organizations like the Salvation Army and the Red Cross can help give other items to the homeless, such as clothing. There are many things that are being done for our homeless and these government funded programs are absolutely necessary to help.
Homelessness is a continuing struggle in America. Not all homeless people are where they are from drug addiction and mental illness problems. Many homeless got where they are because of poor judgment or just plain bad luck. Chris Gardner, Adrienne, and Jenny are three examples. Government funded programs are significantly helpful to the homeless. Homelessness is a huge problem in the United States in which there is much more than drug problems or mental illnesses.