Homelessness doesn’t discriminate
I personally feel as if there is still a significant amount of homeless people in most areas – more especially Gauteng. Every morning, on the way to school and on the way back home in the afternoons, I pass by 2 areas filled with homeless people. I live in the Kensington area, which is just down the road from Bedfordview and it is crawling with homeless people. In that area I see at least 3 homeless people daily and I only pass by there for a few minutes. Another area I pass through is the Johannesburg CBD, which is in central Gauteng. This place is known for its homeless people. I see at least 6/7 homeless people daily. One day I counted the amount of homeless people I saw and it came to 15.
They were all types of people: old, young, black, white, men and women. It’s because of what I have seen everyday for as long as I can remember, that makes me feel very strongly about homelessness. There are still too many people living on the streets without families or food in their stomachs.
Homelessness devastates me because it affects all types of people. The homeless people on the street corners are moms, dads, children who’ve been abandoned, teenagers who have been influenced by peer pressure to run away or to become some type of addict. There are gay men and people of every race.
Homelessness doesn’t segregate. It’s not restricted to race or to gender. It doesn’t matter what your religion is or your beliefs or your culture.
Homelessness doesn’t pick and choose who will fall victim to it. I believe that we, as a society, are aware of it – yet we still sit and do nothing. We have this voice in our heads telling us that, “If you give that homeless man money, he’ll go and buy alcohol” and that voice needs to go.
We, as a society, can make small differences which can amount to bigger differences. A place to start – in terms of raising more awareness about homelessness – is giving people statistics. Human need numbers to relate to when it come to these types of things. Another way to raise awareness is showing people scenarios that might be close to home. Remind people that it could happen to anyone they know in the blink of an eye. That will grab everyone’s attention. More NGOS that help the homeless should be advertised and helped out by everyone because it’s not only their job, but our job to care for the homeless too.
An existing NGO that I feel needs more advertising is “The Homeless Talk”- the Cape Town based newspaper that prints stories written by homeless people.
I think that this is one of the greatest ways to get people to understand the seriousness of this issue – through the eyes of a homeless person. The newspaper is circulated in Gauteng but, if more advertisers came on board, the newspaper could be circulated as much as your more popular newspapers like the Sunday Times and so forth.
This will cause the revenue of the newspaper to increase therefore increasing the funds for homeless shelters and soup kitchens or medical services for the homeless. This is what the newspaper is made for: to raise funds going towards places that help the homeless. We need to place many more soup kitchens in places accessible to the homeless. In my community we only have one soup kitchen and it is only for the elderly.
I also feel that places of worship could be utilized more to help the homeless. Not just churches but mosques and synagogues and temples. I feel as if all these things will make make a difference to the homeless.