We are a rich, strong country with resources, so why do we deal with third world problems, such as homelessness? What can we do to end homelessness? INTRODUCTION: My name is Mark Hedgepeth, a veteran and a Portland Community College student who resides in Beaverton, Oregon. This term I had chose to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. I feel strongly that everyone in this country should have a place that they can call home. It is my passion to help end the homelessness in the United States. I couldn’t agree more with President Obama, when he spoke these powerful words on June 18th 2009: “It is simply unacceptable for individuals, children, families and our nation’s veterans to be faced with homelessness in this country.”
Source 1: Batiaglia, Tammy. “Grand opening of Detroit Apartment Building Ends Homelessness for Tenants.” Detroit Free Press. Nov. 2013. Web. Nov. 2013
Commentary: In this peer reviewed article the author discussed how Detroit had used volunteers, builders and social service agency workers to renovate an apartment building for the homeless. The new tenants will pay 30% of their income towards rent. With this one project alone, they were able to end homelessness for 41 residents. This article also speaks about aftercare which is very important to keep families from becoming homeless again. In the aftercare, they taught classes for vocational and literary training to 12 step programs along with cooking classes.
This article gave an answer to the research question “What can we do to end homelessness?” It was a powerful and easy solution that helped 41 families. To charge only 30% of a families income would allow the family to be able to sustain living in a home. This article showed how compelling a group of volunteers from the community could make a positive impact in their community. It supports the idea that when citizens become involved in our nation’s problem we can make a change.
Source 2: Jones, Declan. “Action on Homelessness must be priority.” Irish Times. Sept. 2005. Web. Nov. 2013.
Commentary: This authoritative article is calling for a radical reform of our social policy because the number of homeless people is increasing at an alarming number. The article states that our country is one of the wealthiest countries, yet the number of homeless people continues to grow despite our prosperity. The author states if we want to really address the homelessness, then we must address the needs through targeted services that include: aftercare, access to education, community mental health services and drug treatment facilities. Without these supports experience has shown that a cycle of homelessness will continue to extend through generations.
The article supports the idea that we can’t just provide homes for the homeless but we must provide the aftercare. The aftercare is a key component to ending homelessness. This supports my quest on how to end homelessness. There is not a quick cure. There needs to be a shift across-the-board approach by the government to fully examine the inequality in society. By understanding this inequality, it would help them to create a greater understanding of the homeless issues and allow the government to facilitate the development of effective policies to tackle the underlying issues. Otherwise, the extent of homelessness will be deepened, exacerbated and prolonger and we can expect homelessness to remain a permanent problem. Source 3: Culverwell, Wendy. “Homelessness threatens to undo Portland’s economic progress.” Portland Business Journal. Nov. 2013. Web. Nov. 2013
Commentary: This authoritative story by the Portland’s Business Journal confirms that after a ten year plan that was adopted by the city of Portland, Portland has even more homeless people on the streets than back in 2006. They claimed the number one reason is due to the recession.
This report confirmed that the recession has caused more homelessness than before. This article explains one of the reason why we have homelessness in the United States. It also informs the public that the government has been working towards ending the homelessness problems. Unfortunately, despite their efforts, the problem is worse than ever.
Source 3: Kulongoski, Governor. “A Home for Hope; a 10 year plan to end homelessness in Oregon.” June 2008. Web. Nov. 2013.
Commentary: This is the official fifteen page plan that was adopted by the Ending Homelessness Advisory Council c/o Oregon Housing and Community Services. It gives a detail report on the goals and strategies to end homelessness. Needless to say, it has been nine years since it was initiated and our homelessness is worse than before. It is frustrating to see such a detail plan fail miserably.
Source 5: Lowrey, Annie. “Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive.” The New York Times. Nov. 2013. Web. Nov. 2013.
This was my favorite article. It actually gave an answer to my questions on how to end homelessness. It has a few niches to work out, but it could be the solution to ending homelessness. It has great potential. I hope that our government looks seriously into this option.
An Author’s Note:
My most significant learning during this process of writing the research collection and my public piece was how passionate I had become regarding the homeless epidemic. At first I felt overwhelmed with the facts and the alarming numbers of the homeless and what could one person truly do to help out with our nations crisis. I was feeling hopelessness and loneliness for our homeless. These feelings surprised me and I felt that I wasn’t doing enough. Yes, I could write a letter to the Congresswoman and volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, but was that enough? I started thinking how one small change, can snowball into bigger changes. Perhaps, one day the United States will be free of poverty and homelessness. The United States could become a place where we are all created equal.
Writing for the public makes me nervous. I am hoping that my piece will advocate for the homeless and stir up emotions in my readers so they will get involved in their communities to help end homelessness. I hope that my passion will come across my letter and inspire others to get involved.
The Public Writing
November 26, 2013
Honorable Suzanne Bonamici 12725 SW Millikan Way
Beaverton, Oregon 97005
Dear Congresswoman Bonamici,
To start with, I would like to say thank you for all of your hard work and the support in
our community. My name is Mark Hedgepeth, a veteran and a Portland Community College student who resides in Beaverton, Oregon. This term I chose to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. I feel strongly that everyone in our country should have a place that they can call home. It has become a passion of mine to help end the homelessness in the United States.
As you are aware in these difficult economic times, too many American families have to choose between paying rent or putting food on the table. Last year, over 20,000 school children in Oregon were homeless at least once during the school year and nearly one in four Oregon children lived in poverty in 2012. This crisis of homelessness also affects our veterans. Brave men and women that have have fought for our freedom and have no place to live.
It is because of these facts, that I ask what can we do as individuals, neighbors and communities to help combat the homeless epidemic? I believe that it is the responsibility of all Americans to help solve this chronic problem in our nation.
There are two programs in the state of Oregon, the Emergency Housing Account and the State Homeless Assistance programs that provide short term assistance to help fight homelessness. There needs to be more state funding to keep people in housing. As a leader for
our community, we look to you to make sure that these programs continue to be fully funded. These programs have proven to be effective in providing food and housing.
Thank you for your time in regarding these issues. I will end with these words that were spoken by our great President Obama on June 18, 2009:
“It is simply unacceptable for individuals, children, families and our nation’s veterans to
be faced with homelessness in this country.”