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HOMELESSNESS How can we help people get into warmer beds?

Why are there so many homeless people? “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”- Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Issue Homelessness is everywhere in the world. Homelessness is the absence of living in a home. There are many people who live their lives under bridges and other unsafe environments. People may think these people become homeless because of choices that they made. This is not the case for all of them. Some people become homeless because of reasons they can’t control. We, as people, need to help them. Some want to get off the streets and get into warm beds that others get to sleep in.

Causes of Homelessness domestic violence- get away from abuser but no home drug and alcohol problemsspend all money on it Illness- no money to pay bills job loss- no job=no money low wages- don’t make enough to support himself/herself natural disaster- destroys home Fire- destroys home Tragedy-death in family not being able to find a jobno job=no money

Did You Know? Almost 40% of the homeless in the United States are under 18 13% of Americans live in poverty 14.6% of family households struggle to put food on the table More than one in eight people live under the poverty line A person who works full time on minimum wage earns less than the poverty line

Did you think you were the only one? “We have come dangerously close to accepting the homeless situation as a problem that we just can't solve.” In France,

-Linda Lingle

anywhere between 50% and 80% of those using homeless services are immigrants; in Germany, it's just over 10%.

A recent Toronto task force study showed that 29% of those using the emergency shelters were women.

More than 50,000 residents of northern Colombia remained homeless Monday after the rainswollen Magdalena River broke through dikes and flooded towns and surrounding areas.

China estimates that the number of children under 16 living on the streets in China has risen 50% in the past decade to 150,000!

17% of homeless Australians are Aged over 55 – that’s almost 18,000 people. It is quite normal to see women sleeping with children amid ashes, in the open air, desperate only for their government to help with housing.

Did you know? 22% of homeless persons are children and teens through the age of 18. Nearly half the sheltered homeless are adults age 31 through 50. 50% of homeless people do not go to shelters. 25% of former foster children become homeless within two to four years after leaving the system 57% of homeless kids spend at least one day a month without any food at all Every year an average of 2 million kids will go through a period of homelessness

How has Yemen’s economic history affected the country’s homeless rate?

Country Information


Location: Yemen Capital: Sana’a Population: 24 million

History Ancient Yemen was a prosperous place in which the Romans had called it Arabia Felix, “Happy Arabia.” Yemen’s wealth was based on its trade in frankincense, myrrh, and spices. Overtime, however, decades of wars and battles over the land left the country battered, vulnerable, and manipulated by foreign powers, leaving its citizens mistreated and blown into poverty, illiteracy, and tough social conditions. Even though the country is still considered the poorest country in the world, the Yemen government has been attempting to reform water its water management and increasing agricultural output. Yemen is now importing food, livestock, and machinery to help out its dire need for outside help. The country also exports qat, coffee, seafood, and crude oil, which, with the spike in oil prices, may help alleviate Yemen’s economic distress.

Size: 555,000 square kilometers Languages: Arabic, Mehri, Soqotri, Bathari, Hobyot Child Mortality: 60 per 1,000 live births Life Expectancy: Overall population - 63.74 years Male: 61.7 years Female: 65.87 years Religions: Muslim, Shaf’I, Zaydi, Jewish, Christian, & Hindu Access to Clean Water: Average person has access to 5 liters of drinking water in rural areas Literacy Rate: Overall population - 50% Male: 70.5% Female: 30% Doctor to Patient Ratio: 1:3000 Population living on less than $2 day: 40%

Did You Know? Poverty is mainly found among the young, and 53 percent of poor people are children under 15. Health services covers only 50 percent of the population, and many children under the age of five are at risk of dying because of low birth weight, not being vaccinated, or not having access to clean drinking water and hygienic toilets. An earthquake, measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale, occurred in North Yemen in 1982. Thousands of people were killed or injured and many more were made homeless.

While we drink


they drink dirty water… While we at fancy places, they look for something that is not laced with toxins…

Meet the Faces of Poverty :

Here is the Low-Down :

This family, a family who lost their mother, has survived in a place that has very little clean water, little clean food, and more people per square mile than the entire United States. While we are off gallivanting our new car, or filling up at $4 per gallon, these children are starving. “My mind is a prison,” the man in the white said. “I can hardly provide. My children go to bed hungry- that is not right. But what can I do?” Before his response, he broke down in tears, stating, “I suffer a little more every day, so my children can suffer less. That is what a real man does.”

Yemen may be a distant country, but they are not as much different than you and I. They have basic human needs; needs that cannot be sufficiently met on only $2 per day. Today, we cannot find a cup of coffee for less than that price, but these people are living off it. With over 45% of the population living on less than US$ 2 a day, poverty is a key challenge to Yemen’s development. According to the 2004 census, Yemen’s population has reached almost 20 million people, with an annual growth rate of 3.02%. With the constant population growth, more and more families are going hungry. We can help feed more people.

The next time you drive through the Starbucks drive-thru, or return your steak because it is not cooked enough, think of this man- unable to provide for his family. Appreciate those who give you everything, think of how much we have, and how much they suffer because we have to have a $25 steak. We can stop this suffering by being less greedy; we can raise awareness through education. We can have fundraisers and eventually build buildings in Yemen to educate them, provide them with more than suffering and hopelessness. They deserve more than dirty rice and filthy water. Through education, Yemen children will have more to live for, the educational tools to provide for a better future. We can give more by sending funds, or non-perishable foods. It is as simple as sending a care package of bread. You can save a life, what is stopping you?

-Daniel 16

Will you be the next one to become Homeless?

I had a good life. I lived with my mother in Michigan. I was going to school and was hoping to go to college. My sophomore year things went very wrong. My Mother had a massive heart attack and passed away. I was devastated, I was left with no family and not knowing what was going to happen to me. I lived with a friend in Texas for a few months then Iowa, California, Ohio, and then back to Michigan. I ended up out on the streets of Detroit alone. I wandered the streets and decided I could not take the pain and suffering anymore. I got a knife and began slitting my wrist. Everything hit me all at once: my mom died, I had no home, no education, and no help. I staggered to a phone and called 911. The medical team at the hospital saved me and referred me to where I am now. I am now with the Covenant House Michigan Crisis Center. I am looking to save enough money to go live on my own and finish school.

-James 19 -Sam 17 When I was nine years old I did not know my father, my mother could not take care of me, so my older brother raised me. He was in a gang so I had gotten blessed in (meaning I did not have to go through the initiation process). When I was 18 I had gotten the courage to leave. To leave this gang I had to receive a beating for 15 minutes without fighting back. After that I got on a bus and went across the country. I had nobody and no money. I would stay at 24 hour diners and, when they kicked me out I would go sit on the park benches. At night I did not want to sleep there, it was a nightmare. I would try to stay up all night so I would be safe. I do not know what is going to happen but I do know I will not give up I will stay strong.

My name is Sam. My father has just died. I keep telling my mom we will get through it, we will be ok, but she says she will not be ok. A few months later she tells me awful news. She has AIDS. Shortly after that she dies as well. My father is gone and now my mom is gone. Nothing is going right. I am now stressed and have no home to live at. I now spend my time walking up and down the streets, sitting in coffee houses and bus stations at night. One day I will live a normal life, but for now I will do what I have to do.

You can help make a difference!

Do you care enough to?

-Michelle 15

At age 15, Michelle decided to run away from her grandmother’s house when her grandmother’s boyfriend started beating and sexually assaulting her. She hopped on a bus hoping to find a new life and a place to start over. When she got to the big city, she found herself to be alone, hungry, scared, and belonging to a pimp. He made her a prostitute. Being from a violent house moving to an even worse situation Michelle needed help. One day she got up the courage and ran from her “pimp” Lavon. She found a place that took her in gave her food and clothes and agreed to help her start a better safe life.

-Ashleigh 15

When I was 9 I was forced to live with one of my family members I did not like. Their boyfriend raped me. I bounced around to different foster cares and nothing was going right. At age 15 I was on my own on the streets. I had no family I could go to and no money. I was homeless for 3 months. A man one night gained my trust and then beat and enslaved me. I could not run away. If I left I would have no roof over my head. He made me a prostitute. After a couple months of prostituting and beatings, I decided I had to get away. I ran until I found a kind man on the street. He told me it was going to be ok. He brought me into a church. He saved my life. I am now in a crisis center trying to adapt to normal living, soon I will be able to live on my own.

Ways to help the homeless 1. Respect them as individuals-give them the same respect you would give you family. 2. Develop a list of shelters-hand out a card with all the near shelters listed so they can find one. 3. Bring food- when you go out bring a few extra sandwiches to give to a homeless person. 4. Donate to nonprofit organizations- this is one of the best ways to help; these organizations need more money to help more people. 5. Volunteer- at a shelter or soup kitchen

We all need to do our part as citizens and help the people in need.

How You Can Help or Find More Information

Focus on Homelessness  

A resource to raise awareness about homelessness in the United States and around the world

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