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homeless shelters resources

HOMELESS SHELTERS AND RESOURCES

Up to 600,000 men, women and children go homeless every night in the United States. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Homelessness and poverty are tightly linked. People who are living in poverty often must choose between food, shelter and other basic needs. For the poor, an accident, a medical crisis, a lost paycheck can all translate into not having a place to call home next week. This site was added with the domestic violence sites because often the homelessness were victims of abuse as children or are presently victims. It is hoped the the information provided will be educational and useful.

 

Understand Who The Homeless Are
By Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff

 

Most homeless people are not drunks or drug abusers or former mental patients. Most are able or willing to work. They are not the perpetual social problem many people believe they are. So who are they?

 

Full-time workers

One out of four homeless is employed full or part-time, according to the United States Conference of Mayors. The arithmetic is simple and frightening: a person who works forty hours a week at the Federal minimum wage grosses about $1000 a month, takes home less than $900-- and is a prime candidate for homelessness.

I meet such people at a shelter run by my synagogue in Westfield, New Jersey. Two neatly dressed sisters in their thirties arrived one evening. One was a full-time sales clerk at Bloomingdale's; her sister was seeking a job. Two rent increases in a year had eaten their savings and caused them to fall behind in rent. Consequently, they were evicted. By using the Temple's hospitality program, they hoped to save enough for first and last month's rent and a security deposit for an apartment.

Disabled vets

One quarter of the homeless are war veterans, most of them from the Vietnam conflict. Do you remember Ron Kovic's story in the film, Born on the Fourth of July? It dramatized the fact that the veterans of that war were abandoned and discouraged, even dishonored, and in Ron's case wound up on our streets, some of them disabled, others mentally traumatized by their war experiences, others simply unable to find work.

Children

One out of four homeless people is a child. The fastest growing homeless group in the United States is families with children. Their number nearly doubled between 1984 and 1989, and continues to do so.

Even more appalling, many homeless children are alone. They may be runaways who left home because there is no money for food, because they are victims of rape, incest, or violence or because one or both of their parents is in emotional turmoil. Some are "throwaways" whose parents tell them to leave home, or won't allow them to return once they leave.

I was shocked to learn that in Washington, D.C., when a soup kitchen, Martha's Kitchen, was opened to serve destitute children, within three weeks they were serving thirty children a day.

The Elderly

Elderly people on fixed incomes don't fit the traditional image of homeless folk. But the fact is that a senior citizen who receives $450 a month in benefits and pays $350 for rent can't survive in any U.S. city. However, Social Security, Medicare, and other senior-oriented programs provide a safety net for many of the elderly, making their numbers disproportionally less among the homeless than other minorities. Although the elderly are not as likely to be found in shelters, it is true that some are afraid to go to shelters, or even a soup kitchen. Others are living in poverty, not homeless, but often homebound and without proper heating, water, or other amenities.

AIDS victims

Thirty-two thousand people with AIDS and their dependents were homeless in 1989. By 1995 over 100,000 AIDS related sufferers are projected to join their ranks.

Links

 Haven Of Hope: Homeless Shelter and Resource Information
  Privacy Rights of the Homeless
  Addiction Recovery & the Homeless
  Homeless- If you are homeless...   HUD website
  Homeless People and the Internet
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