As parent it is important for me to educate my children, that is why I take them to the library and encourage them to read. I take them to zoo to learn about animals and for us to spend time together. I take them to the history, art, and science museums. While we were homeless in Atlanta we frequented the library, CNN Center, public transportation, and the park. In Atlanta just like in St. Louis, they haves right next the have not’s. In the park across from Coca Cola corporate headquarters, homeless people live. A few blocks away in downtown Atlanta is the World of Coca Cola building. Not far from the World of Coca Cola is Woodruff park were homeless people spend time.
In St. Louis the place where homeless people spend time is Lucas park by the main library in the heart of downtown st. Louis business district. The homeless are in the heart of downtown. Now affluent residents of the St. Louis downtown community what to remove the homeless. They have started a petition to remove the emergency shelter located a few blocks from Lucas Park.
The St. Louis media focus on the homeless. The seem to always get where the homeless are, they never bring us the story of the why the homeless people are homeless or who the homeless are. I want to inform you about who the homeless people are. The statics I found are national and not regional but I am sure Lucas park is a microcosm
According to a U.S. Conference of Mayors the homeless population is diverse:
- 20% work.
- 22% are mentally disabled.
- 11% are veterans.
- 34% are drug or alcohol dependent.
11% of the homeless are veterans, these are people who have risked there lives for my freedom and my children’s freedom. Why would I not want to teach my children to help veterans if they are struggling.
22% are mentally disabled, I teach my children not to make fun of handicapped people, shouldn’t we all be concerned about handicap people and their welfare. Is that not part of our civic duty?
It’s funny Missouri use to be a slave state. When slavery was legal the owners of slaves provided food, clothes, and shelter in exchange for labor. Now employers are not responsible for ensuring that employees have shelter or make enough money to afford shelter. They are not even required by the government to pay a mimiun wage that is above poverty. There is no reason working people should be homeless.
Drug addicts and make up 34% of homeless. Drug addicts and alcoholics may possibly be involved in criminal behavior to support their habits. Emergency shelter is not the most effective resource for this group. Long term treatment would be more effective.
In conclusion, I would teach my children to help homeless people to help change government polices, and give to charities that make a difference in homeless people’s lives. I would teach my children that homeless is just one word to describe a diverse group of people.
For information about homeless check out these links