Homeless people are everywhere. They are in big cities, small, deserted towns and even on college campuses. I think lots of students are surprised, when they come to UT, that so many homeless people are so close to them. I frequented the downtown area of Houston, Texas when I was growing up, so homelessness is not a shock to me.
When I was growing up, my parents were very kind to homeless people. Instead of giving them money, my mom would often give them food. When I was about 8 years old, my mom was driving and saw a homeless man. We then drove to McDonald's and she got him a combo meal. She went and dropped it off to him on the street corner and told him there was a nice shelter a mile down the road.
Homelessness is a concern that unpleasantly reminds us that, in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, many peoples' most basic needs are not being met.Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic HomelessnessThat kind of selfless behavior seems to be what Matt Duckworth, soon to be 21-year-old visiting UT, believes is best. "I'd rather give them something they need, like food or clothing; maybe take them out to eat." Matt recently gave food to a homeless person during his visit.
UT student Deana Maiolo said if she had food with her, she would give it to them. "I'd rather give bums food instead of money because I feel like with money they would use it on something that is not a necessity."
I know my parents and I both fear that they may spend any spare change donated on alcohol or drugs, which is not necessarily the case. While researching online for information about the homeless, I found that mayors Bill Haslam and Mike Ragsdale have put together a "Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness." In Knoxville and Knox County, the mayors and various local organizations plan to help the homeless in many different ways, beginning with moving them into housing.
Some of the information I discovered in the plan was shocking. For instance, it said that chronically homeless people consume over 50 percent of resources allocated for services such as law enforcement and medical care. It is great to think that our mayors are noticing the prevalence of homelessness and are taking an active role in resolving the problem.
The plan also said, "Homelessness is a concern that unpleasantly reminds us that, in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, many peoples' most basic needs are not being met." I contemplated how very true this statement is. It's hard to realize the truth of such a statement, and even harder to figure out how this happened.
So what's my point? My point is whether you give the homeless food, clothing or money, we must recognize that they are here and people are trying to help them. Maybe there is a way you can get involved to help them too.