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Indybay Feature
The Power of Kindness against Homelessness Bias
by Joselyn Saavedra (saavedraj [at] sonoma.edu)
Friday Dec 3rd, 2021 9:08 AM
Public education about homelessness is a key to avoiding stigma and discrimination and alleviating pressure against them.
How aware is the public about homelessness? When we see people in the streets, think about how we feel about them. Is there is a bias in you that prevents you from acknowledging a problem we all have as a society? The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported 161 548 homeless people in January 2020 in California. California is one of the states with the highest levels of homelessness in the country caused by a lack of affordable housing, unemployment, stigma, and very low wages for working families. Often low-income families fall into economic decline, leaving them without a house to live in. There are also more contributors to the problem, such as mental illness, drug addiction, or trauma. For many, untreated for several years, making it harder for people to get back on their feet again.

There is a need for the public to educate themselves before making a judgment about homeless people. It is a key to relieving pressure, avoiding stigma and discrimination against homeless people. As we face a pandemic, homeless people have even more challenges than those with a place to stay, like public bathroom access, for instance. Even though we count on outstanding programs that work daily, assisting the homeless with emergency needs and allocating people within short-term solutions. There is still a lack of funds to fight the problem and look at long-term solutions to house everyone in need.

No person should be homeless, but unfortunately, there is so much work to be done, and homelessness is far away from ending. Be mindful of other people’s situations and be kind to others that need a place to call it home.
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