HOMELESSNESS AWARENESS WEEK PART II
There are as many reasons for homelessness as there are people living on the streets. Mental health issues, tragedies, abuse, neglect, broken homes, failed systems, addiction – more often than not there are several reasons, a vicious cycle. While working at a shelter for battered women in Vancouver I was told several stories that started with abusive and addicted parents, failing foster care, gaps in the system were children seemed to be swallowed up and disappear, runaways, more abuse and addiction – one thing led to another that upheld the cycle that led to homelessness. When looking at homelessness, we need to look deeper than the mere lack of housing – we need to take a good long look at the systems where people who need help fall between institutions.
“We’ve been in the shelter system ever since their father was murdered. We needed his paycheck to pay the rent. We had no choice. He had a good job at the Pepsi factory. We were engaged at the time, and we were about to move upstate. We were even planning to take a trip to Disney World. But when he died, a part of me died. I went into a depression. Everything was moving around me, but I was at a standstill. I didn’t want to do my hair. I didn’t want to be bothered with the kids. We used to go to the park and play, but after their father was killed, we were homebodies. I just wanted to stay at home and cry.”