A Closer Look
by Mavis Reed, Community Volunteer
We often imagine that the average homeless person is mentally ill or an addict. Invariably, most movies depict them pushing grocery carts full of their most cherished belongings while holding conversations with the invisible. In fact, the estimated 2.3 to 3.5 million people who are homeless are “ordinary” people: the middle and working classes, including 1.5 million of whom are children. Did you know that the average homeless parent has worked for decades or may have become homeless while earning minimum wage or less? Others are homeless due to uncontrollable issues such as an economic recession or the death of a spouse. Subsequently, homelessness is often a temporary condition or “transitional” period, not a life choice.
Our homeless remain primarily unseen, but they remain among us nonetheless. And they need our help to come out of the shadows.