One late evening, I returned to work, opened the elevator and was startled when I saw someone lying on the floor, inside the elevator. I since found out that every night the homeless seek shelter overnight in the local buildings where there are elevators that open to the outside. Homelessness is not just a big city problem. Everyone in my building sees this as the norm.
Homelessness Is The New Norm
We all say, “This is a problem we just have to live with.”
The homeless problem is actually a series of problems, where every state in the nation offers intervention, collects and then disseminates reports to community service providers, with the idea this information will provide feedback on how best to manage the local issue.
Data is not what we need, particularly quantitative data. In a report by Brookings,
“Social workers bring homeless families into a network of wrap-around services available through d local agencies. They collect data about clients and update the system that loosely connects to that network of providers… However, the data entered in the system is often not used to produce the types of insights needed to help.”
Data doesn’t address the issues. Collaborations, alliances and partnerships are making an impact in our community.
Ways to Help
How can you help? Homelessness is a result of many issues and communities can collaborate to make a difference. There are many entities providing housing, healthcare, and food.
Here are some ways that our university has taken efforts to do so, both of which anyone can participate and join in:
- At the Claremont Lincoln University Food Empowerment program in April, several organizations came together to share how they work. Some of the organizations that came out and spoke were the Leadership for Urban Renewal Network, Food Finders, My Friend’s House Foundation, and the Food Policy Council. One way you can help is that you can attend our free Exchange events or participate in the many food drive events that those organizations host.
- Throughout June, ABC7 partnered with local grocery stores and food banks for the 5th Annual Feed SoCal Stuff a Truck hunger initiative throughout Southern California. Claremont Lincoln University staff and faculty participated by donating 40 bags of food and 2,250 meals. If you’re in the SoCal area, you can also join in the Feed SoCal campaign, or you can donate nonperishable goods and foods to your local food drive.
Beginning today, June 29, KCRW, along with 70 other news outlets across California, are working together to share stories, videos, websites to explore possible solutions. LA alone is home to nearly 20% of the US homeless population.
In an open letter, the “Beyond Homelessness” united group out of San Francisco states:
“Numerous noble, well-intentioned efforts by both public and private entities have surfaced over the decades, yet the problem persists. It is a situation that would disgrace the government of any city. But in the technological and progressive capital of the nation, it is unconscionable.”
The purpose of this effort is not to provide analysis but to provide useful information which could stop us from calling what we see on our streets as the new normal.
But it will be up to all of us to make a change. “Nobody can do everything but everybody can do something!”
Photo credit: © Mrdoomits | Dreamstime.com