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What If You Had No Home?

November 7, 2014

800px-homelessVeteransA Twitter conversation recently resulted in someone saying they’d do without a home so they could afford their preferred food. Most who say such things have never been homeless.

Homeless is not an adventure. It can be a struggle for things most take for granted. Even with a vehicle to sleep in, it’s often not safe. It can be cold, and simple needs like a shower, a meal or sitting up late reading become challenges. Add a pet or a child and their needs also are a consideration.

According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network 1.6 million children are homeless at some point in their lives.

Far too many veterans are homeless in America—between 130,000 and 200,000 on any given night—representing between one fourth and one-fifth of all homeless people. Three times that many veterans are struggling with excessive rent burdens and thus at increased risk of homelessness.

This. Is. Inexcusable.

It’s true that some ‘choose’ their way, through addiction or preference. Many don’t. Many are in a temporary bad situation that need a hand up. Over 130,000 people who signed to give their life for you if need be have nowhere to sleep, shower, eat. 1.6 million children who don’t have a say in the choices their parents made, or don’t have parents.

Meet Me Halfway draws attention to this and I challenge everyone reading to order and read Walk to Beautiful this holiday season. Written by Jimmy Wayne, if it doesn’t get you thinking about solutions make a journey to find some. It’ll be the best $15 get-you-in-holiday-spirit book you can get.

430px-Homeless_-_American_FlagAs the weather gets colder, it’s harder to find warm places to sleep, a hot meal. Added to that is a lack of safety – the vulnerability of attack when sleeping is the same for men, women and children. The kids in foster care who age out who have to focus on survival, not school, compounds the problem.

People see a dog or cat that they think is homeless and help. What if people were helped too? Take a 2 for 1 meal coupon and share with someone. Don’t like the offer? Buy for two homeless folks who can use a meal. Get a $5 pizza for someone or a $5 buck lunch at Dairy Queen. This is surely worth losing a single serving of Starbucks or a single drink on a night out. It’s almost painless.

If you’ve ever gone 2-3 days or more without food, there’s a bigger appreciation of a hot meal. A month without a shower (and the judgements of folks who don’t understand) makes a “crappy home” a palace. A place out of the cold with a reasonable chance of a few possessions still being there later is a small stress relief.

Many don’t want a handout – they want a second chance. Today’s world means putting up walls from a safety standpoint as well as users, but how many second chances are shut out? Here’s to a better day. A better way. And no one being cold or hungry in the holiday season. Give a meal, a blanket, a coat. A shower or washing clothes for someone who needs help dealing with their situation. Sometimes a safe place to park to sleep is a huge thing.

No one holds the key to all homeless issues. We’re a nation that helps others around the world. It’s time to help our own. One meal. One change of clothes.

One hand up. One spark of hope. 800px-US_Navy_101106-N-7061S-004_Sailors_and_civilian_employees_assigned_to_Fleet_and_Industrial_Supply_Center_(FISC)_San_Diego

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