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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Day 475: No Money? Well then you're an Invalid

http://www.exposingthetruth.co/criminalizing-homelessness/#axzz2mbtylTMO

More than 630,000 Americans are currently homeless, based on recent data for 2012 that was calculated from the number of people that were sleeping rough or in shelters on a given night. So it is likely that far more people experience homelessness at some point throughout the year, and that number is expected to rise. One out of every 45 children, roughly 1.6 million total, in the U.S. is homeless, according to a report from the National Center on Family Homelessness. Since 2007, the homeless child population in 15 states has increased by more than 50 percent. The states with the highest percentages of homeless children are generally located in the South and Southwest, likely due to the warmer weather.
Banks have foreclosed around 8 million homes since 2007, and it is estimated that another 8-10 million homes will be foreclosed before the financial crisis is over. A study done by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty in 2007 states that 3.5 million people experience homeslessness in the United States in a given year, and that 1.35 million of them are children. These estimates translate to around 1% of the population experiencing homelessness each year. While there may be 3.5 million homeless people each year, there are still 18.5 million vacant homes in the United States. - Exposing the Truth

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homelessness#Global_definition

In 2005, an estimated 100 million people worldwide were homeless.
...
The number of homeless people worldwide has grown steadily in recent years. In some Third World nations such as Nigeria, and South Africa, homelessness is rampant, with millions of children living and working on the streets. Homelessness has become a problem in the countries of China, India, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines despite their growing prosperity, mainly due to migrant workers who have trouble finding permanent homes.
For people in Russia, especially the youth, alcoholism and substance abuse is a major cause and reason for becoming and continuing to be homeless. The United Nations, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UN-Habitat) wrote in its Global Report on Human Settlements in 1995: "Homelessness is a problem in developed as well as in developing countries. In London, for example, life expectancy among homeless people is more than 25 years lower than the national average.
Poor urban housing conditions are a global problem, but conditions are worst in developing countries. Habitat says that today 600 million people live in life- and health-threatening homes in Asia, Africa and Latin America. For example, more than three in four young people had insufficient means of shelter and sanitation in some Afican countries like Malawi. The threat of mass homelessness is greatest in those regions because that is where population is growing fastest. By 2015, the 10 largest cities in the world will be in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Nine of them will be in developing countries: Mumbai, India – 27.4 million; Lagos, Nigeria – 24.4; Shanghai, China – 23.4; Jakarta, Indonesia – 21.2; São Paulo, Brazil – 20.8; Karachi, Pakistan – 20.6; Beijing, China – 19.4; Dhaka, Bangladesh – 19; Mexico City, Mexico – 18.8. The only city in a developed country that will be in the top ten is Tokyo, Japan – 28.7 million." - Wikipedia

In comparison to other countries, the homelesesness in USA is small, yet it receives a majority of the media coverage. What is a global reality of homelessness is that those who are homeless are regarded as a nuisance, as vermin, scoundrels and generally not regarded as human - as equals. Essentially, they are non-persons, they are not claimed by any country, culture or family.

Our world is filled with social outcasts, not because of the unique nature of humanity, but because of our ability and willingness to discriminate and separate living beings into categories - with each category having it's own corresponding set of opinions and/or beliefs. Our beliefs and opinions are contrary to the very nature of life - that nature including diversity, uniqueness, equality, interdependence - we are the ones who have taken these aspects of the natural state of life and twisted them to be ugly, spiteful, hurtful, abusive and filled with hate. We are the ones who have taken it upon ourselves to determine that some variations of life and nature are inferior to others.

We do this even within our own kind - we inflate differences of colour, gender, culture and nationality into giants, misshapen and grotesque. We baulk at the idea of unity, giving the excuse that our differences are too many and too extreme - but we are the ones who made these differences matter so much. We are the ones who have decreed that if one has money, then one has status, and if one does not have money, then one is not a "one" anymore - what was once a human becomes a vagabond, hobo or vagrant and is automatically perceived as lazy, dirty and uneducated. We, who pride ourselves in our "humanity", pass and enforce laws that even further diminish the rights and services that those who are no longer regarded as "worthy" are entitled to having.

As if this wasn't bad enough, a large part of these "non-persons" are children - born into a life of vagrancy absent choices. No one controls when, where and to whom one is born. A child born into a life of poverty has very little chance of living a life of dignity at any point in their existence. Living like that, on the streets, malnourished, uneducated, freezing in winter and baking in summer - it changes who someone is on a fundamental level - it alters physical development, mental development, social development - essentially stunting the person in every area of development, practically guaranteeing that their lives will be miserable and hateful and that they have almost no chance of helping themselves into a better life.

This is a global issue requiring a global solution. Grassroots efforts may change the lives of a few people, but it does not address and provide solutions for the cause of the problems. We must be realistic - this doesn't mean that we should be pessimistic. We are, after all, the masters of our own fates.

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