The last time a global survey of homelessness was attempted by the United Nations (in 2005), statistics showed that homelessness is on the rise. In fact, it was estimated that more than 100 million people worldwide are homeless, and at least 1.5 billion people lacked housing that was adequate. It is with this in mind that World Homeless Day is observed.
World Homeless Day was born out of discussions between aid workers around the world, all of whom were helping the homeless in their own countries. The aim and slogan of the day is ‘locals act locally on a global day’.
The emphasis is on giving hands-on aid that is sensitive to local needs, while being aware of the global problem of homelessness and feeling solidarity with other charity workers around the world.
Unfortunately, data shows that homelessness has been steadily rising over the past ten years or so. Learn about ways to observe this day that might make a difference in the life of a homeless person:
On this day, many people can honor the day by helping to raise awareness for the homeless in your own community. Grassroots campaigns and fundraisers work at the local level, while taking advantage of the increased publicity and solidarity that a global platform has the ability to provide.
Use this Day as an opportunity to educate people about the homeless in your local area, the infrastructure that already exists to help them and how it can be improved.
Homelessness is a particular problem in Western countries and is one of the most pressing social issues today. Some of the problems with homelessness have to do with increased housing costs, particularly in very high cost of living countries in Europe, such as England, Ireland and Belgium.
But in most places, there exist risk factors that keep people from being able to sustain adequate housing on a long-term basis. Knowing this can be helpful for those who have a relationship with someone who might be at risk. Some of these risk factors for chronic homelessness include:
When people have a severe illness, whether chronic or unexpected, they often have trouble paying their medical bills which compound and make it difficult for them to have the finances to pay for housing. This is likely less of a factor in countries where the cost of medical care is included as part of the social well-being of the general public.
Mental Health. Various problems with mental health, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorder, can limit a person’s ability to hold down a job, be responsible for housing and manage relationships related to housing.
The use of drugs, whether illicit, prescription or alcohol-related, can be predictors for homelessness because this affects financial responsibility, personal care, and relationships.
Those who have been without housing in the past (perhaps as children) or who have experienced frequent moves and housing transitions are considered vulnerable as they have less connection and stability.
The Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley is supporting the new building project at Bridge to Home. Please support our club, so we may continue our partnership and help curb homelessness in our valley.