Fighting homelessness

Published 9:25 pm Friday, April 10, 2009

When the issue of homelessness comes up, most don’t give it much thought. To many of us, a homeless person is in such a situation as a result of his own actions. Sadly, that’s far from the truth. In fact, many of the homeless are children and hard-working people like everyone else who have fallen on bad times. The large majority of those classified as homeless started out as normal and active people.

Many homeless look and act like normal people, but they hide the fact they are living without utilities and often food. Those are not the typical “bums” eating out of garbage cans in broad daylight.

That’s part of the message Alecia Gregg wants to drive home. And she’s starting with the young people. “Homelessness looks just like them,” she said. “It looks just like their families.”

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Traditional families – with a mother, father and children – are the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population, said Gregg. She is the executive director of Our House Families, a nonprofit organization that operates several programs to prevent homelessness and loss of critical utilities for area families.

With the economy taking new victims every day, more and more people are finding themselves in unfamiliar situations. They find themselves in scenarios where the next meal is in doubt and the ability to pay rent or mortgage is far-fetched. It’s unfortunate, but the fact is that more and more people are finding themselves in an unknown predicament of homelessness.

In order to help address the tragic truth of homelessness, awareness must be conveyed. Those who are in position to help should consider partnering with organizations like Our House Families and other non-profit organizations that provide food and housing to those in need. After all, no one knows what fate may be waiting for them in the future.