Every year that I have had the opportunity to visit my grandparents in Texas (this year we went to Las Vegas for a week as well), there has always been one particular thing that hits me really hard... Homelessness.
It is often joked about that Muncie is a horrible place to live. If you move to Muncie you will inevitably get asked “why on earth would you move here?” The city is nicknamed by the locals as “Methcie” because of the large drug problem in our city. Is Muncie really that bad comparatively though?
In the United States there is a reported population of 327,874,612 people as of July 8, 2018 (www.census.gov/popclock/).
There is an estimate of 553,742 people in the United States who are experiencing homelessnes (endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/homelessness-statistics/state-of-homelessness-report/).
Those numbers put together makes it not seem so bad right? Out of 327,874,612 people in the country, only 553,742 are without a home. That’s only 17% of the country. There are definitely countries with much worse off rates than 17%.
When I have visited El Paso, Texas and now Las Vegas, Nevada, the thought of homelessness is next to impossible to escape my mind. There are people begging on almost every street that you go on in Las Vegas and there are people begging on almost every stop light corner in El Paso.
You don’t see that in Muncie, it’s honestly pretty rare to visually see the homeless in Muncie unless you are actively seeking them out to volunteer at a local shelter or on the South end of town.
Why is it though that the 12th richest country according to Fortune (fortune.com/2017/11/17/richest-country-in-the-world/) out of 195 countries in the world has over half a million homeless people?
There are many people who will claim the homeless are just lazy. How are they any lazier than a person hanging out lounging on their couches watching tv for hours on end? Have you ever actually seen the homeless? They spend the better half of their day searching for ways to earn money while you play on your fancy phones reading this blog post. How can they get a job when they don’t have the resources to feel presentable enough for an interview to get a job?
Maybe you’re someone who just claims that the homeless are just addicts. Can you go a year without touching your electronics? How about caffeine like pop or coffee? Caffeine isn’t a narcotic, but it is a drug. Why are we not doing everything we can to help solve this issue in our country?
Everyone has a different path that they take in life, can you think of even one person who purposely chooses to ruin their life with the intent of ruining their life? Why are they punished from basic human needs of food, water, and shelter just for the mistakes they made in life or the mistakes that someone else forced into their life?
You might bring up the argument of, “why we do provide options! We have homeless shelters, and charities!” Those are great, but obviously they aren’t completely working yet, so why don’t we do more? We have flashy cities full of expensive items, money being thrown all around in the gambling slots, money being thrown around on so much more stuff than we actually need to live with. Why aren’t we using that money to actually do something good in life?
This is a little off the topic of homelessness, but I wanted to let you all know that I wrote this piece while still in Las Vegas, before we even arrived in El Paso so what all I said of El Paso was based on memory of previous years. I’ve been in El Paso for about a month now and I have not seen one single obvious homeless person. I would normally see them begging on the streets, but this year? I have yet to see any anywhere.
It begs the question, is this because of the current deportation situation happening? Were they taken to facilities or are they hiding in fear? If you are unaware, if you look up on Google Maps how close El Paso is to the border of Mexico, it will tell you that it’s only about an 11 minute drive. My heart is deeply concerned for the lives of strangers and I find it terrifying to watch how many connections are made with this current situation to the Holocaust
The Holocaust has always been an event that lives deeply in my heart. I visit the museums when I can, I attend events about it when it’s nearby and Eva Kor, a Holocaust survivor who forgave the Nazi’s is a very big inspiration in my life. Why? Because I have a big heart. Because I’ve had horrible things (nowhere near the Holocaust level, but still horrible things) happen to me that I have been attempting to forgive over the years. Because I don’t want such a horrifying thing to happen again.
History has a pattern of repeating itself and I have been curious on deciphering the pattern to know what I personally can do to either stop it, or the minimize the effects. That sounds ridiculous because not one person can stop something so big, but if you’ve been paying attention to social media and the news, you’ll see that there is a rising of strong individuals who know what they want to change and they are actively working on changing it whether it be with their words or actions. So, what are you doing to make the world better?
Even if it’s small actions, those small actions grow big with impact.
Hey there, my name is Ashley Martin! From several different class projects, this website has turned into a wonderful e-portfolio for myself and also a way to express my opinions on different topics, so check it all out and leave some comments!