By Dino Demetriou
Homelessness has been an issue in the U.S. for quite some time now and even more so since the economic recession of 2008. Millions of people experience homelessness every year and around 25 percent are children under 18 years of age. The worst part is that the situation is only getting worse. More and more people are experiencing being without home and every day is a new struggle for them. Thankfully there are relief programs set in place by the American government to help lift some of the burden from those who are unfortunate enough to be without shelter. However, is it enough? Many people might argue that the government needs to be doing more for these people but the federal government has done more than enough in my opinion.
There are many issues that the federal government must handle on a daily basis and homelessness is one of them. However, in all the years, there has never been a solution to end homelessness for good and it is because there is no way to do it without spending more federal money. If the federal government does not further assist the homeless, it then puts the responsibility on the people.
When people walk to their jobs or go to school on a normal day, occasionally they see some of the homeless in their area and many are happy to assist those who are open to help. I donate to the homeless every time I see one and I occasionally see others like myself donate spare food and anything else they can offer. It sometimes reaches a point where a homeless man will earn more than a minimum wage job by just sitting outside on the curb. Whenever I donate to the homeless, it sparks a chain of donations. Generosity is contagious. By constantly letting people think that its the federal governments job to solve homelessness, more people stop trying to help themselves and the more fortunate take the responsibility off of their shoulders. Rather than increase federal spending on the homeless, federal spending should remain the same or be cut so that the homeless will be forced to find different ways to survive and surely they will. It is a similar concept when the poor feel entitled for help from the rich and so they ask that the government tax the rich more heavily. It should be everyone’s job to also spare a little from their own wallet to help the homeless because even the lowest income families are more fortunate than them.
People need to know that they can put themselves wherever they want to be and that money is something very attainable. People don’t need to be given everything by the government because life is knocking them down. There are other people who can help and they walk around us all the time. By letting the homeless know that there are people willing to help, maybe we can end homelessness without extra help from the federal government. Asking strangers for help is not admitting defeat but a way to climb back on your feet. Finally, by involving the community in helping the homeless, a sense of accomplishment can be achieved and motivation that will help end homelessness better than any amount of federal relief can because not only will the donators feel better about themselves, but the homeless will feel that they can survive on their own and still federal relief will always be there to fall back on.
** It will also be published on print edition, 1/6/2014
**** Dino Demetriou is a student at Bernard Baruch College, CUNY