How many times have we walked around the city and noticed someone sleeping on the sidewalk? For most, it’s easier to look the other direction and pretend you didn’t just see someone who clearly needed help. The harder thing to do is question why or how that person got there. Even in “the land of opportunity,” homelessness is an ongoing issue that effects hundreds of thousands of people each year. Just last year 578,424 people experienced homelessness, which translates to 18 out of every 10,000 people in the nation. As one can see, the statistics speak for themselves, and homelessness remains an issue that needs resolving.
From 2013 to 2014, homelessness had overall decreased among every major subpopulation, which is made up of unsheltered homelessness, families, chronically homeless individuals, and veterans. Despite the decreased number of people suffering from homelessness, 7.8% of the homeless population is comprised of youth and children. It is no secret that the environment one is raised in can greatly affect one’s future. Those who experience homelessness during childhood or adolescence are more likely to become homeless as an adult compared to those who don’t experience homelessness at a young age. In addition to children who face the hardships of homelessness, lower income households are also at great risk of falling into homelessness. Families who cannot afford independent housing often chose to live with other families or individuals. This is known as doubling up, and this is usually the last living situation people go through before experiencing homelessness. As the U.S. economy continues to suffer, so does the homeless community.
It’s evident that homelessness is an overwhelming, national problem, so you might wonder, “What can I do to help?” Many people tend to turn to finances when they think of aid, but the reality is not everyone has funds to donate. Don’t let that stop you. Think outside the box. What if the next time you see a homeless person, you ask them how they’re doing? The simple act of reaching out to see how someone is doing demonstrates care, and to some, that’s more than a few bucks can offer. Next time you walk by a homeless person, try not to take the easy way out. Instead of walking past him, I challenge you to ask the hard questions. Who is that person? What did he do before he was homeless? What happened in his life that led him to be homeless? Sometimes, you may not get the responses you want, even though your intentions are good. However, there will be times your good intentions meet a willing attitude, and those interactions are truly priceless.
Out of 578,424 homeless people in America, there were 177,373 individuals who were unsheltered. In other words, roughly 30% of America’s homeless were living outside in unfit conditions. Realizing this problem, Yea.Nice created a 1-for-1 donation program called Beanies4Life. For every beanie sold online and through select retailers, Yea.Nice donates a high quality, polar fleece-lined beanie to one of many partnered shelters across America. Last year alone, Yea.Nice was able to donate 24,000 beanies to its partnered shelters, and that could not have been done without your help. A big thank you goes out to our customers and retailers who have made this possible. Help us reach our goal of donating 650,000 beanies, and let’s work together in fighting homelessness in America.