In The Beginning…

Posted: October 17, 2007 in Homelessness

I’ve been writing this blog for quite some time now.

Excluding what I’m writing at this very moment, I’ve written and published 185 posts, to the tune of just a little over 115,000 words.

When I started, I had hoped that the blog would turn out to be somewhat tongue and cheek, with a bit of facetious humor thrown in for good measure, but things didn’t turn out quite that way. In fact, when I re-read many of my posts, I can see just how dark and brooding it actually is. But then, I should have expected it, especially since homelessness is indeed a dark topic.  

Although I don’t get a lot of comments posted to the site, since my contact e-mail address has always been a located someplace on the site where folks can find it, I do receive my share of e-mail, both praising and/or criticizing something I’ve written or my viewpoints regarding homelessness.

I’ve also received e-mail that have linked to news articles about homelessness that others have thought I might find interesting. When I did find something there to pique my interest – or even irked me enough – I’ve written about it. And, of course, I’ve written a number of posts due to direct questions about homelessness that were asked of me. And boy, do I get the questions asked of me…

There are two questions that have been asked within the last month or so that I have yet to address:

"How does a person become homeless?"

and

"What are the effects of homelessness on society?"

Although the second question – to me at least – would be the easier of the two to answer, I’m going to put that one off for just a bit longer because… well, just because.

So, beginning tomorrow morning, I’m going to tackle trying to answer the question of HOW a person becomes homeless first because – believe it not – it is vastly different than WHY people experience homelessness. But because it’s such a complex question to answer, it’s probably going to take the next two or three posts to do so.

After that, if I have any brain cells left I’ll deal with answering the second question.

But in order to get YOUR brain cells primed for what’s to come let me give you something to think about in the meanwhile:

There are two types of homeless in the United States: "street" homeless and "couch" homeless.

Street homeless are those who live their day to day lives on the streets of cities all across the nation. They live in homeless shelters, their vehicles, tents, cardboard hovels, behind building, under bushes, vacant buildings, empty lots. Some of the get their meals from agencies and organizations that provide services to the homeless. Others find themselves eating out of trash cans.

There are approximately 3.5 million street homeless, with 1.5 million of them being children.

Couch homeless are those who have be able to thus far avoid having to utilize homeless support service agencies and organizations and living on the street by staying with family or friends and "sleeping on their couches."

There are approximately 4.9 million couch homeless in our nation, with that number growing by leaps and bounds daily.

All told, there are roughly 8.4 million persons in this country who are, by legal definition, homeless.

The vast and overwhelming majority of them want the same thing…

A place they can call "home."

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