Sunday, May 22, 2011

Homeless Become Part of the Fabric of Society

If you live or work in a decent sized city, chances are you no longer see the homeless you pass every day. You've become adept at hurriedly walking past them, with your eyes staring straight ahead or averted in the opposite direction. Pleas for money or food are ignored as if we never heard a word.

Plainly and simply, we have become desensitized to the homeless population. 

Such was the impetus behind the ad campaign created for Samu Social in France.  Their goal was to raise awareness of the growing homeless population. Their poignant copy states:

"The longer you live in the streets, the less chance you have to come back."  

This campaign sent me to the web to do a little research on the homeless. 
  • According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, approximately 20-25% of the single adult homeless population suffers from some form of severe and persistent mental illness.
  • A 2005 Science Daily article revealed that investigators at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have determined that 15% of people with serious mental illness are homeless.
  • The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty estimates that globally, between 20 and 40 million urban households are homeless and that as many as 1.3 billion people live in inadequate shelter, largely because they cannot afford to do otherwise. 
  • In the United States, it has been estimated that more than 12 million Americans have experienced homelessness at some point during their lifetimes.

While it is true that some people are homeless for reasons that may fall under their own control, many do not have the capacity or ability to leave the streets.

So, the next time you walk past a homeless person, will you possibly look at them with different eyes?

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