Skid Row Turned Kids In Tow

938 words - 4 pages

It’s a bitter-cold night with a clear sky and stars glistening as far as the eye can see. A cutting wind blows throw the streets of a dark and dank downtown street lined with the day’s newspapers tossed aside without regard. Dry leaves blow through the gutter making a rustling sound that blends with the scampering of rats pillaging for food. In the doorway of the local druggist he reaches for every newspaper page that blows by to stuff into his shirt, pants, and socks in a feeble attempt to keep the wind and cold at bay. He sits on his knapsack that holds every treasured possession he owns as a buffer from the cold, hard, cement. One bottle. That’s all he needs to warm his insides and settle in for the night. A malnourished old man, with tattered clothes, a knapsack, and a bottle of cheap booze wrapped in a brown paper bag, is what most people envision when they hear the word homeless. Most people are unaware that there are actually categories of homeless; there are sheltered homeless, unsheltered homeless, chronic homeless, and doubled-up is a term excluded from the definition of homeless, but could surely be considered a homeless category. Thousands of shelters exist across the country and they all share one common goal, to shelter the homeless.
Sheltered homelessness refers to the category of homeless persons using emergency or transitional housing. “Transitional housing programs provide temporary residence—up to 24 months—for people experiencing homelessness. Housing is combined with wrap-around services to assist the individual with developing stability in their lives” (Topics). Transitional housing is typically utilized by families and battered women with children. In these facilities the homeless have access to private and governmental programs to assist them with job searches, welfare enrollment, and their search for permanent housing. “Almost one-third (29.0 percent) of individuals in families who used transitional housing in the past 12 months stayed three months or less” (Topics). While transitional housing has proven to be successful in assisting some of its residents get back on their feet, and into permanent housing in a timely manner, statistics show that homeless with children tend to stay longer. Staying longer in transitional housing beats the alternative, unsheltered homelessness.
Unsheltered homelessness categorizes those homeless living in locations not meant for human habitation, such as automobiles, parks, tunnels, and local druggist doorways. These are typically the people considered morally deficient or to have character flaws. They are your mentally ill, addicts, and degenerates, to name a few. “It was generally believed a good Christian, under God’s grace, would naturally have their needs met. People outside of that grace somehow were deserving of their plight as God rendered justice accordingly and fairly” (The History of Homelessness in America 1640’s to present). Fortunately, in modern...

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