“That’s the other thing about this; it would seem to me that homelessness is like greatness: you can be born homeless, you can achieve homelessness, or you can have homelessness thrust upon you.”
While I never imagined my words in 2007 would have done anything to end a persistent plague like homelessness, I also never imagined I’d find myself a married, working, productive member of this rank of homelessness a mere three short years later. Homelessness is more and more of a problem; just taking me and my wife’s families into account; of she and her siblings there is a cumulative rate of homelessness which hovers around 66%. For me and my sibling; we are checked in at 100% homeless with both my brother and I, as Ricky Martin would say, “living the crazy life.” Together with my wife, my homeless sibling and I are living in adjacent rooms with our significant others in our grandfather’s South Carolina retirement villa.
Of course these statistics are a light dollop on a serious sundae; the fact remains that homelessness is a growing problem in our world today. Homelessness in the United States has jumped out of the urban areas and is now infesting our suburbs; bedroom communities which once thought themselves impenetrable to the scourge of homelessness are now facing a growing brunt of the blow. How are we supposed to deal with this scourge? What can you or I do about our own individual situation when the jobs are slim pickings? What’s the key to this lock which can get our currently employed politicians working for us so that we don’t have to resort to bunking with grandpa or mom and dad or, worse, couch surfing among strangers and friends alike?
Statistics on Homelessness: While there are no accurately measured statistics on homelessness (I am homeless even though I have an address) the fact is that more and more graduates are moving back in with their folks after college, bunking with friends and dancing the dance of delay so that they don’t have to face the reality staring them down squarely.
How Do We Get People Talking About Homelessness: Among the folks I have met recently, many of them indeed fit the definition of homeless. Some are ‘staying with friends’ indefinitely; some have moved back in with family , some are doing worse; much the same way my wife and I lived out of our car for a period of time. It’s not the proudest fact in the world; that no one can find a steady enough job to make ends meet and keep themselves employed. What’s the answer to this quandary? I don’t think there is one. After all, colleges are producing more and more job ready individuals; unfortunately every Tom, Dick and Jane’s got a “communications” degree and there are only so many jobs out there. Jobs which are, coincidently, being held on to longer and longer by the aging population who’ve always been there.
Homelessness Stark Reality: While the stark reality of what homelessness is all about are somewhat shielded from me and my wife and my brother and his girlfriend’s situation, the fact remains that we are just one step away from the same fate of the common street bum. This modern definition of homelessness is a real problem for many of us in this modern America without jobs and opportunity. We all need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, remember that all good comes in the end, and hope that opportunity in American shines once more. The alternative, for what it’s worth, isn’t really looking all that great for any of us.