No matter how wealthy a country is, we can hear and see the homelessness in that particular country. Some people choose not to see the homeless, or bother with them. Some people even ignore the existence of the homeless. Actually, homelessness has existed deeply in every society for a long time. It was not created overnight. It affects all races, all countries and all religions. It is not a disease, but every country can certainly catch it. So, I think it is a duty for every one to cure homelessness or to help minimize it. Although there are several ways to help the homeless, I strongly believe the effective way to solve the problems of homelessness is, using our money, donating basic necessities of life such as food and clothing and making contributions to shelters and churches which provide assistance to the homeless and needy people.
First of all, we will examine how people become homeless before we use our money in donations and contributions.
Contrary to popular belief, all homeless people are not drug abusers or the mentally ill that have been released from mental hospitals. Homelessness could affect us at any time if we live from hand to mouth, or week to week, or check to check. Some homeless people are decent ordinary people who simply have fallen on hard times. Fundamentally, the primary cause of homelessness is the inability to pay for housing due to inadequate income to meet basic needs. Surprisingly, the growing numbers of the homeless people today are women and children partly because of high divorce and layoff rates. The homeless are human beings and we should help them to live properly when they are not able to lead their lives on their own.
Undeniably, we can see that homelessness is everywhere as we drive along the freeways of our great country. Society can no longer ignore the problems of homelessness. We must combat homelessness. In a 1992 survey, conducted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the mayors found that 28 percent of the homeless populations in the cities were mentally ill and 41 percent substance abusers. Even if these numbers were true, the other remaining percentage is begging for our help.
Among a number of ways to fight homeless, the effective way is getting involved with some homeless programs through local organizations, churches and shelters. If fighting homelessness means donations and contributions to churches and shelters to prevent families living under bridges, living in cardboard makeshift homes, eating discarded scrapes, then let's donate. Usually, shelters and churches are in constant need of donations and contributions to provide help to the homeless people. Help includes food, clothes and job training. Nowadays, women and children comprise a significant portion among the homeless. Therefore we need to provide more family shelters, so the children get education and the parents regain some of their dignity and find employment. Employment of the homeless would not only take them off the streets, but also would strengthen the economy. There are success stories of homeless people who once received some assistance and now have meaningful lives again. Those once homeless people represent what a strong country like America can do for her own people, if we work together to solve the homeless problems.
Certainly, we can donate to the homeless on individual basis. Personally I usually give some cash to the homeless people. Although I know that my small donation might be used in buying illegal drugs, I do not hesitate to do so. My money might be used in buying food when they are starving. It might be used in buying clothes that make them warm during the cold weather. My small donation makes not only the receiving parties but also the inner soul of mine feel good. Being a devoted Buddhist, I have strong faith in donation for our own spiritual well being. In our Buddhist teachings, donations make you higher by leaps and bounds spiritually, feeling peacefulness in our hearts.
In addition to cash, we can donate clothing, household goods, and food and contribute services and useful materials to the homeless people through shelters, churches, and religious and local organizations. It is certain that donation organizations can give out what the homeless people really need. In this way, these homeless people can get their basic necessities orderly and systematically.
Definitely, we can reduce the problems of homelessness, overall, if we join our power of donations and contributions to organizations that provide assistance to the homeless. They are not able to afford a living as others can. Public shelters can provide temporary housings, food, clothing, and job training, giving an overall sense of personal worth and emotional support. Homelessness will never be eradicated, because some mentally ill and drug abusers prefer the independent life style, but there are other homeless people who need and want our help. We never know when will live from check to check. We have to be aware that today you are in a good position and tomorrow you can be homeless. To sum up, in combating homelessness, we should make donations and contributions to donation organizations to keep them active, functional and meaningful.