Helping the Homeless

Letter to Editor
Thursday, June 5th, 2014

To Editor:

            In January of 2012, there were an estimated 633,782 Americans who were projected to be homeless. (The State of Homelessness in America 2013, 2013) This is said to be a rough estimate, in that there is probably a higher number, because the majority of homeless people accounted for were living in shelters and only 38 percent of those accounted for were living on the streets. There are three main reasons why this issue needs our utmost attention: 1.) Almost 70,000 people that are homeless are retired Veterans; 2.) The number of homeless people increased from 2011 to 2012 due to minimum wage and the rise in ‘cost of living’; and 3.) Because we are considered to be one of the wealthiest Countries in the world and yet we use our resources to help other countries instead of our own. (The State of Homelessness in America 2013, 2013) (Fairey, 2011)

            The number of homeless people who are retired Veterans is incredibly high for people who served our country. I’m not saying that they deserve special treatment because they fought for our nation, but the fact that statistics show that most Veterans who are homeless are homeless because they could not readapt into society is something we should change. The government needs to implement new programs that help the men and women who have served be able to transition from an active duty lifestyle back into a productive lifestyle. This alone could cut down the number of homeless Veterans substantially. Also, the government needs to give financial assistance to these men and women as well as classes on how to manage their money. This would help them manage the money they do have, from being over-seas, until they can find a steady job and have a steady income. These two things should not be too costly and will have a dramatic impact on the number of homeless people that we see who are retired Veterans.

            “The general minimum wage is too low by any objective measure such as the poverty line or measures of a ‘Living Wage’.” (Fairey, 2011) The fact that even people who had jobs lost their homes and could not afford the ‘standard cost of living’ is a show of poor government attention to this issue. Minimum wage should not be under the poverty line, which shows that whoever determines minimum wage has no common sense or understanding of what it cost to live or support a family. The government needs to do something to increase minimum wage, accounting for people who are single, families, and single parents. If we can increase the minimum wage based on family size and account for the standard of living, we can decrease the amount of working Americans who become homeless.

            The United States of America is considered to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and yet we have 633,782 Americans, and rising, homeless. (The State of Homelessness in America 2013, 2013) The numbers don’t lie, we need to take action as a country if we hope to stop people from having to live on the streets and starve. I understand that there are third-world countries that have the same issues that we are having and that we are sending American resources to help those people. I am not opposed to this idea, I believe that we should help other countries in need, but I do believe that we are not paying attention to our own problems here at home and on our streets.

 The government needs to use some of the resources we are using to help other countries, to help our own. There needs to be more shelters financially supported by our government. At these shelters there needs to be staff that can help homeless people find jobs and teach them how to manage money. Advantages such as these can give homeless people the opportunity to support themselves and lower the amount of Americans that we have that are homeless.

            Not all homeless people are addicts of some kind, some were soldiers who defended our nation and came back home to a world they could not adapt too, some were working class Americans who the system of minimum wage failed, and all of whom are just looking for an opportunity to turn their lives around for the better. We need to step up as a nation and help these people, after all this is the United States of America.