Americans wake up every day to face various challenges, especially those who are faced with a disability. There are many types of disabilities ranging from physical disabilities, mental disabilities, and sensory disabilities; all of which significantly impact millions of lives. A sad fact is that these disabilities can result in people becoming homeless. According to a report by disabilityscoop.com, “more than 40 percent of America’s homeless population are people with disabilities.” So, how does this happen? Consider these contributing factors:
Lack of Opportunity
In order to be able to pay your mortgage and bills you need a substantial income. For people with a disability, finding a job that allows you to work can be difficult if not impossible. Without a steady income, there isn’t a way to be able to sustain a lifestyle that allows you the pleasure of having a roof over your head and food on the table.
Another factor to consider is that many people with a disability simply do not have the means of being able to uphold a steady job. This unfortunate fact keeps their opportunity limited and prohibits any source of income from working.
Lack of Assistance
According to disabled-world.com, “programs such as SSI and SSDI are unable to keep people with disabilities from experiencing homelessness. The average annual payment to an individual on SSI for the year 2009 was $6,048, while the poverty rate of a single-person household is $10,830”. This leaves many wondering how people are supposed to come into their next meal, how they’re supposed to pay rent, how they’re to afford medicine they might require, etc.
Consider this scenario: someone with a disability who is unable to work and only receives the government assistance in which they qualify for lives with their primary caretaker such as a family member. If something were to happen to their sole caretaker, who is capable for providing housing, food, etc., they would inevitably be faced with challenges that could force them into homelessness.
According to knowledgeinitiative.org/mi-homeless-vets, “Veterans comprised an estimated 11 percent of the adult homelessness in our country between 2013 and 2015.” It is also noted that approximately one-fourth of active military members suffer from mental health issues. This is another surprising statistic suggesting that disability is a major contributor to the rate of homelessness in our country.
Depending on your location, many people come across a homeless individual on an everyday basis. This encounter usually results in someone overlooking them or kindly giving them spare change. The negative stereotype would suggest that they would use the act of kindness for drugs or alcohol; however, it would be unfair to stereotype all homeless individuals and assume that this would be the result. Take the opportunity to see if there is any means of providing someone with something they need such as food or a blanket. There are many ways in which you can help someone in a time of need.
Another way to assist the homeless is through volunteering. There are amazing organizations within communities that can use a helping hand to assist those in need. Consider becoming a part of your local food bank or soup kitchen. You can also contact your local shelters to see how you might be of assistance.
An easy way to help contribute is to donate. This can be done through monetary gifts, clothes, food, and more. You can even consider helpful care packages that can be appreciated by someone who has nothing.
Drawing attention to such a cause is a great way to get others involved. Raise awareness regarding the alarming statistics and seek the assistance from your friends, family, and colleagues. Take advantage of your network and seek to make a difference.