Social Problems: Homelessness in the United States

Do You See Them?

Do you see them? Can you see them? Will you see them?

They are seemingly everywhere and yet they are the invisible people. They have become so common as to become a part of the landscape, of no more importance than the wall of a building they lean against, or the freeway overpass that serves as their bedroom ceiling.

They can certainly see you, sidestepping around them as you head off for a shopping excursion, or driving by them as they stand on a street corner with sign in hand. They are the unwashed, the disheveled, the forgotten people of the United States, where all men are created equal but some just aren’t too lucky, right?

Do you see them? Can you see them? Will you see them?

They span the entire spectrum of the population; white, black, Indian and Hispanic; men, women, and children. No race or creed is exempt; homelessness is an equal opportunity social issue, and it is alive and well in every major city in the United States.

Do you see them? Can you see them? Will you see them?

The numbers are staggering, especially considering this is considered the richest and most powerful nation on Earth.

The unseen in America
The unseen in America | Source

The Cold, Hard Numbers

  • In a given year, as many as 3.5 million people are homeless in the United States, or approximately 1% of the entire population.
  • During any given week as many as 842,000 people are homeless. The numbers will never be accurate due to the difficulty of finding all the homeless, a shifting population that is never in one place long enough to count.
  • The fastest growing segment of the homeless are families with children, which make up for 23% of the homeless population. 51.3% are single males, 24.7% are single females, and 5% are minors unaccompanied by adults. 39% of the total homeless population are children under the age of 18.
  • 49% are African American, 35% Caucasian, 13% Hispanic, 2% Native American, and 1% are Asian.
  • 22% of the homeless have serious mental illnesses; 30% have substance abuse issues; 46% have chronic health problems, and 58% have trouble finding enough food to eat.
  • 38% have less than a high school diploma; 34% have a high school diploma; and 28% have more than a high school diploma.
  • As many as 43% are veterans of the Armed Forces!

Causes of Homelessness

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the leading causes of homelessness are as follows:

  • The change in the mental health systems since the 1950s, a shift towards “community-based” treatment of mentally ill rather than long-term commitment to institution.
  • Redevelopment and gentrification of neighborhoods in cities, demolishing low-income neighborhoods.
  • The economic crises of the 1970s and the current economic recession
  • The failure of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide effective mental health care for veterans.
  • Natural disasters.
  • Women and children who flee domestic violence
  • Foreclosure of homes
  • Evictions from apartments
  • Difficulty of released prisoners to find gainful employment

Do you see them? Can you see them? Will you see them?

Do you see them?
Do you see them? | Source

Reflections from Olympia, Washington

Olympia is the capitol city of the State of Washington, with approximately 47,000 citizens. It sits on the Interstate 5 corridor, twenty miles south of a major army/air force combined base, one hour south of Seattle and ninety minutes north of Portland, Oregon.

Government is obviously the number one employer in this city, and in many ways Olympia is just your average American city. It has an interesting mix of people, two universities, average unemployment figures, and decent public schools. The surrounding area is filled with natural beauty with majestic mountains rising to the east and northwest, lakes and rivers aplenty, and an inland sea brushing up against Olympia’s shoreline.

It is practically impossible not to see the homeless in Olympia. At every major intersection they are there, holding their signs, asking for food or money. Walk the streets of downtown and you will definitely see them, sleeping on the sidewalks, walking the alleyways, finding shelter in the city library, and occasionally asking for handouts. Their tents can be found in vacant lots or nearby forests; their shopping carts, filled with all their earthly possessions, sit in parking lots or behind stores.

For the most part they are polite and extremely gracious when given food or spare change; they have become a permanent part of the social landscape of Olympia, and if one word could describe the attitude of Olympia’s citizens towards the homeless, that word would be tolerated.

Several years ago I taught at a school down in Beaverton, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. When I first moved to Beaverton I was confused at first; I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was missing. It took me several weeks to realize that there were no homeless there. I finally inquired about it and I was told that Beaverton in effect “zoned out” the homeless with a zero tolerance decree by the city officials. It turned out that the homeless were considered “bad for business” and presented a negative image for Beaverton. Heaven forbid...bad for business!

Zoned out human beings? Zero tolerance of homelessness and suffering?

Do you see them? Can you see them? Will you see them?

An Open Letter to Mike

The other night a homeless man (we will call him Mike) died on the streets of Olympia. He was found under some newspapers on a park bench and had died during the night when the September temperatures had dropped to an unseasonable 36 degrees. Perhaps he died of exposure; perhaps malnutrition, or AIDS, or any of a dozen other possible causes. Most surely he died alone, without family, without any means of contacting family if they do exist. His shopping cart was next to the bench, and all of his worldly possessions, the sum total of his life, were in that cart...a couple blankets...a thin cotton sweater...a roll of duct tape and his sign...”Homeless, need food or change…can you help me?”

I find myself needing to write a letter to Mike; nobody saw him while he lived; maybe this letter will help you all see him now.

Dear Mike,

I’m sorry! I still find it hard to believe that deaths like yours happen in the richest nation on Earth. I still find it hard to believe that a veteran who served his country could die in such a fashion. I still find it hard to believe that there are people among us who are neither seen nor heard. It would be inconceivable to me if I did not witness it with my eyes daily.

I’m sorry your country was not there for you the way you were there for your country. I’m sorry that the promises given to every citizen did not apply to you. I’m sorry that trade agreements and foreign aid were more important than your well-being.

I’m sorry that by ignoring you we all share in the blame for your death. “There but for the grace of God...” Well, here I am, healthy, happy, and loved, whether it be because of God or some random roll of the cosmic dice. I live, you die, and life goes on, right?

Maybe I’ve been a naïve fool, Mike, but I believed those words about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Hell, Mike, you fought in the army defending those words. So what went wrong? How does this happen? You are dead my friend, but I need answers

Rest in peace now, Mike! I, for one, will not forget you!

Bill Holland

How Does This Happen?

I struggle with that question daily! I want to know how this happens in the United States of America. I want to know how people become invisible to the rest of us. I want to know how people are asked to serve their country but the country is not required to serve the people. I want to know why the playing field isn’t level for everyone.

I want to know how sex slavery happens in this country. I want to know how abuse happens in this country. I want to know how poverty and homelessness happen in this country.

Evidently we cannot count on the government taking care of its citizens. Evidently we cannot count on the corporations feeling any civic responsibility to those who line their pockets with cash. I can, however, count on myself, and others like me, who have compassion and empathy for those who suffer.

And so that’s where it starts...with me! In all honesty, I wish it did not start with me. I would love it if the government would handle all of this so I could blithely go about my day not thinking about social problems. Unfortunately, that’s how this whole mess started in the first place. 300 million people blithely going about their day, paying little or no attention to the suffering and injustice all around them, and trusting that the government would handle the situation.

The funny thing is that the government is blithely going about the business of big business and hoping that we will handle the problem on a local level.

And so it starts with me!

Do you see them? Can you see them? Will you see them?

I was one of them at one time, back in 1989. Was I worth caring about? Was I worth seeing? Was I worth saving?

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

One Success Story

Was I worth saving?
Was I worth saving? | Source

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Comments 132 comments

Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

Billy, we understand your concerns, and it's sad that our Government is worried about foreign policy and leave its citizens to their own. We made this country and we deserve a beter way to retire as we should. There are so many homeless, that we have helped some ourselves. Thanks for taking the lead in this issue. Take care and have a nice Sunday!

Curiad profile image

Curiad 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

Bill, This is an awesome exposure of the way society looks at (or does not look at) the homeless on our streets. And you are right, it starts with each of us on a personal level!

Made profile image

Made 4 years ago from Finland

Great and important hub as usual. I don't see many homeless people where I live. Maybe it's because I live in the countryside. When I lived in Stockholm, Sweden, I saw many homeless people. It was so sad. It is sad that people are homeless today. You are a very caring person, and you know it. You do good things. :)

Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

Wow, Bill your ending got me (That you were indeed one of the homeless) and was literally crying as reading this. This is so sad and such a travesty that this would occur at all in this great country of ours. Thank you literally for being such a caring and compassionate human being who puts himself out there for others. Have of course voted, shared and tweeted as always.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Joseph, naturally you and Mark were the first two to comment. Talk about preaching to the choir! I could write about this stuff every day but then I'd be a stark raving lunatic and that would not be a good thing. I will have a nice Sunday and you do the same.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Mark, it breaks my heart to see a vet homeless and un-cared for; talk about lack of empathy on the part of the citizens. We love them when they are protecting us but then can't even see them when they need us.

Thanks buddy! I hope you are doing well in that new home of yours.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thank you Made! It takes a caring human being to recognize another one. I have no knowledge of homelessness in other countries, but I would be amazed if it wasn't happening in every major city in the industrial world. The numbers are staggering.

You are special!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Janine, compassion comes, in part, from having walked that is a rare human being who is compassionate without ever having suffered....I believe you are one of those human beings, although I'm sure you have your share of pain as well. Thank you my dear; have a great Sunday with that family of yours.

midget38 profile image

midget38 4 years ago from Singapore

We certainly take lots for granted. And, like the rest, your ending got me too. A powerful hub, and the use of repetition made its point. Thanks for sharing, and I share and tweet.

CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 4 years ago from New York City

Bill our 4 fathers, those giants you spoken of in a previous hub, that we all lean on it may appear to be, were the cause of this entire global calamity of sorts, so we are facing social doom of epic proportions today.

As your hub states here the name of the game is hide and go seek, or rather hide the issues, and go play. So this is the premise of our democracy for the most part, and the only time they seem to have a lick of care is when these corporate juggernauts want to raise taxes, or act as if the economy just went bust again (So as we witnessed in 2008 when it so-called took a dump or shall I say they stole all the reserves we had left to spend, well the bailout came, and went plus much of our hard earned monies, and tax dollars went with it, and they cared less if it was wrong).

That is the bat signal to me that they are ready to pull the rug from beneath all of our feats once again, and when the day comes for it all to seize, like a huge choking engine, I will be the only one laughing, because you and I both know that their silly games can & will not last forever Bill.

The end of all this madness shall come swiftly, like a thief in the night, and lets hope many of us are prepared which most of us are not, for the onslaught. I do believe that's when God shall send his angels down to earth to slaughter much of the demonic entities that exist on this globe, both the seen as well as unseen.

This is ordained in the bible as judgement day, final judgement, the second coming, so on and so fourth, and I learned all that in college and not in church.

Your concerns are definitely worth reading about, as well as supporting, and trying to help others world wide wake up for once. I like how you pore it all out here onto the screen bro, nice job!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Michelle, thank you so much; it is heartbreaking to me and I can't ignore it. I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror if I did ignore it.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Mike, great comment for a Sunday morning (or for anytime now that I think about it). I do believe we are approaching a meltdown; I am of the belief that this recession we are in is just a warm up; that a much worse recession/depression is about to follow, and then all hell will break loose. Then we'll find out who our true leaders are, won't we? If in fact we even have any leaders; most of them will be in Bolivia retiring on their corporate windfall.

I'll be ready, as will you and a few others....then we will teach more, buddy, because compassion knows no limits.

Thank you brother; have a great day!

Justsilvie 4 years ago

Very heart wrenching Hub!

I think the world is in such a turmoil that many people are in self containment mode. If it does not affect me or my family I will not see it.

The issue with the vets lies closest to my heart. I remember as we were sending troops to Iraq Congress was cutting the VA a budget for those already served.

I think they forgot and continue to forget the Mission Statement of the VA.

To fulfill President Lincoln's promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s veterans.

Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 4 years ago from Hawaii

Wow, I wouldn't have guessed that much of the homeless population is families with children! Thanks for the stats - this is a lot of people and, you're right, they aren't usually talked about.

Curiad profile image

Curiad 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

Bill, as you know I am one of those vets that the country "forgot" but I have a roof over my head in great part to you and Joseph and those here at HubPages that care!

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida

Not so very long ago I was one of these. It is a scary, lonely, frightening place to be. Thank God my family and I overcame it.

My heart breaks for our vets who give so much and then come home to nada. I think of the words...'you do it unto the least of these my brethren, you do it unto me.' It is our purpose to reach out and help those who are in need. Not to analyze and try to figure out how they got in the position they are in but to step up to the plate and make a difference in our communities.

I wrote about us being homeless a few weeks ago; it helps me to think of that time once in a while. It has a tendency to keep things in perspective.

So glad you shared this in your social issues series, Billy. Because of this article, may more will see them... One voice at a time....

prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 4 years ago from Canada

Beautiful hub, Bill. And you are so right: it does start with us. Jesus said that the way we treat "the least of these" is the way we treat him. Those without homes, without families ... the "undesirables," how we treat them is the test of our own heart.

It is funny how we see all these pictures of foreign places on t.v. but allow starvation and homelessness here in our own countries.

My husband and I helped out last year at the homeless shelter for Thanksgiving. Thank you for the reminder that we want to do it regularly, but just don't get organized enough to get it done. You have written a powerful reminder.

As a single woman, I used to live downtown and saw it everyday. Now that I am married, and more into the suburbs, it's not as "in my face." I needed this little reminder that it's still there. Blessings to you, Mr. Bill Holland!

Johnkadu123 profile image

Johnkadu123 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Thanks for a very touching hub. The plight of homeless people in a developed capitalist nation is likely to be overlooked. We should all be concerned about our neighbors rather than seeking ways of hurting them even more. Great hub and sentiments.

Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Hi Bill,

Such a powerful piece with staggering stats. The letter you wrote Mike was truly heartfelt and will touch everyone. The Homeless are, as you quite rightly point out, the forgotten ones by society which is so wrong.

Congratulations Bill on a great social issues article which will hopefully make everyone stop and think for those we don't see or choose not see.

gmarquardt profile image

gmarquardt 4 years ago from Hill Country, Texas

A worthy and important topic that we too far overlook. This country's "I've got mine so up yours" attitude will injure all of us in the end.

lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 4 years ago from Central Virginia

Raw! Hard-hitting! Honest! This should be sent to every person holding a government position. Bill, you are such a warrior; a champion for those whose voice would be silenced. As I sit here tars running down my face, I am so touched that there are people like you in my world. You may never know the impact you are having but I'd just bet that today, some homess person, somewhere, will be the benefactor of someone's kindness. Wow! That's huge.

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 4 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

hi billybuc! I am so glad that when you got to the place to write about "causes of homelessness," your first points on the list, for several points were systemic details! I am soooooooo tired of seeing "causes of homelessness" lists by people who don't really understand homelessness that begin with "alcoholism/addiction, mental illness, domestic abuse, behavioral problems." It's time people realize that many issues that CAUSE homelessness are in the ENVIRONMENT, not in the individual. It's just plain HARDER to reach the "average bar" in society with income, housing, wellness, etc. As well, I believe you present a really clear picture that several factors combined can cause homelessness and that the situations are COMPLEX for those who become homeless. Almost nobody just becomes homeless solely because they drink too much or because they experience mental illness, domestic abuse...

billybuc, you mention that Government doesn't take good care of people... I agree and this isn't just a fact in the USA. In my experience, many excellent programs come from the community and from religious institutions - only these programs lack stability and resources. They can only help a limited amount of people. What do you think would happen if people mostly just forgot about Gov't programs and focused on supporting (donations of cash, donations of resources, volunteerism, etc) the community and church programs?

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

Pretty scary statistics. There has to be a solution. Though you mentioned only the homeless but what about those just barely able to keep a roof over their heads and go to bed hungry. I read this hub and it all came to light. We all get caught up in our daily issues and challenges and often do not take time out to reflect and maybe help.

poetvix profile image

poetvix 4 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

I have seen large numbers of homeless in the Houston urban area for years. I'm now seeing it in the surrounding small towns. We were blessed to have so many churches and charity groups that dedicated themselves to helping, to feeding our brothers and sisters. Now, locally, laws have been passed that are greatly hindering said efforts. Now, any group or individual wanting to feed the needy has to get permits, go through inspections and the like. It's making the situation so much worse. It's a sad day when government not only refuses to help but is actively hurting. Of course, they say they want to make sure the homeless get "good, quality nutrition." As someone who has been there when much younger, they want to eat. Period.

God bless you! They need voices like yours for so few are willing to speak up for them.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

bill....although I must travel some 40 miles in any direction to come upon the horrendous visions of homelessness, I am painfully aware. Your question, "HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?" rocks my foundation and I have repeated this question to the point of ridiculous. Because, as you present to us, bill.....what comes after this question? An enormous heartbreak for me, as well as source of outrage, is how we do NOT treat our Veterans....I am so ashamed of our country, as an inhabitant....and though I may do what I can, when I can, I would say, BIG DEAL....THIS shame cannot and should not be covered with a band-aid.

Your hubs get me too worked up to say what I feel....and say it right! Proud of yourself? You should be! LOL I'm getting more and more serious about that hub on gnats, bill................UP+++

ananceleste profile image

ananceleste 4 years ago from California

Intense rendering of a plague in this country. I was homeless for ten months with my kids. We are still invisible Billy! This ulcer in America may never heal. Specially today. Even though, we found some sort of stability; our fear is to go back to the soup kitchen anytime soon.

People still don't believe that we where digging in a pile of coats in the corner of a sidewalk back in the winter of 2008 just to find something warm to wear. Ironic isn't.

Peanutritious profile image

Peanutritious 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

This is such a tragic situation. There are huge amounts of homeless people here in the UK too. Society is so selfish with the 'i'm alright jack' attitude and people don't want to think about bad things they'd rather bury their heads in the sand and pretend it isn't happening. I can't do that but sadly, most people can.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Justsilvie, the quote at the end of your comment pretty much says it all. We are, as a nation, only as strong as our weakest link, and right now we are not looking very strong. Thank you for your compassionate words.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Natasha, I doubt many people know this; it is not something the government advertises. Thank you for taking the time to read, what for me, is an important message.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Mark, I do know that, and you were part of the inspiration for this hub! It is inexcusable in this country that vets go without assistance or the care that they need. Thank you for serving this country and I'm ashamed of the way you have been treated.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

PS, I get frustrated....I want to reach more...I want to grab people by the throats and shake them until they understand that this country is not functioning like a super power. I want the little guy, and gal, to be on a level playing field and have a chance to make a life for themselves. Not be handed stuff, but given a chance to earn a living for themselves.

You and I share a great deal of personal history and I respect you greatly.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Sharilee, thank you my friend. Whenever I am feeling discouraged I hear from people like you, and I am hopeful again. We will reach people with this message, and it's going to happen one person at a time. There must be change or our nations will not recover. Thank you so much for being who you are.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Johnkadu, thank you for your comment, which is so accurate. Strong nations cannot allow this to happen; we can not base our governments on principles of freedom and yet have citizens who are not economically free.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Suzie, right now, that is my goal....just to get people to stop and think for a moment. After awareness we will hopefully see some programs instituted that bring about change. Thank you my Irish friend.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

gmarquardt, the attitude you mentioned will be the downfall for all of us if it does not come to an end soon. Worse days are ahead for the nation, and major changes need to happen. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment, and for your awareness as a citizen.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Irc, if that happens then I will be happy. It starts with one, then more, then many.....that is my hope. I have found my calling and my voice; now it's up to me to carry on the fight. Thank you my dear friend!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Myth, my hope is that we see a groundswell of community programs. I have no faith in government; I do have faith in communities. Change happens individually, and then as a group, and then as a community. I'm just going to keep on fighting for those who have lost the ability to fight. Thank you for your great comment; homelessness is a misunderstood social problem, and we need to change that perception and then fix the problems, one person at a time.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Carol, your point is well-taken, and the numbers of homeless will be increasing drastically in the next five years. There is no solution in place; I believe each community needs to step up and make change happen. It's certainly not going to happen at the national government level.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Vix, thank you for your excellent points. They need to eat....then they need shelter....and then they need a way to make a living. I do not believe in continual handouts; a human being wants to take care of themselves, and we have to make that possible. Roosevelt understood that during the Great Depression, and this country is fully capable of doing it again.

You are appreciated, Vix, and a guiding light for me and many.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Paula, you always find a way to make me laugh. The situation with the veterans is a national shame and we all carry the burden. I know about getting worked up.....I can only do one of these every few days or I'll be a raving lunatic....or more of one than I already am. :) I'm looking seriously at the gnat issue. :) Thanks for caring, Paula.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Ana, people look at me today and I get the same reaction...."you couldn't possibly have been homeless"....well, yes I was, and it was only because of a few people who cared that I am now able to write about it instead of live it. Thank you for sharing your story so openly and honestly; bless you!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Tara, what you mention may be my biggest disappointment in society today....the selfishness and uncaring attitude that is pervasive today. I know some on HubPages who will not read my hubs when they are about issues like this, because it makes them "feel bad" and brings them "down." Well, too bad!

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

billybuc, This is very much a concern of mine. I have lived in a tent for awhile with my family, by choice, while hunting for work. I wrote a Hub on helping the homeless and I would like to link to this, if you don't mine. It is one of my top Hubs and I won a Hubbie award for it. I hope that it would bring more attention to both Hubs, which are very important.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Becky, thank you and please do link this; I will do the same. This topic needs to be shouted often!

Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

Bill this is a powerful hub. I had no idea so many children were homeless in the US. I don't know what the figures are for the UK, but I know we have many homeless. My daughter wrote a report about the issue for school, and discovered that in the UK mental health problems was a major cause of homelessness. Her view (and I agree) is that if more funding was put into supporting people with mental health problems, homelessness might be reduced.

One figure that surprised me was how low the substance abuse numbers are because over here I've seen estimates as high as 90%. How accurate that is I don't know, but way back in the 80s a television reporter went "down and out in London" for a month, living only on what a homeless person would get. He said that by the end of the experience he was close to turning to drink - and he knew he could leave it all behind. Reading his book had a profound effect on me, and I can still remember much of it 30 years later.

He also found that authorities treated the homeless with indifference and disdain. In one hostel he was made to strip naked and then was interrogated. We had a particularly harsh government at the time, but I don't know honestly know whether things have improved or got worse now.

As for your question, "How does it happen?" Bill, that reminded me of this from Pastor Martin Niemoller, (you probably know it, but it is worth repeating.)

"First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me."

Fear is what stops people from speaking out, not selfishness. Some people are so afraid they just can't bear to see suffering - it overwhelms them. I know I've felt that way sometimes. I couldn't possibly give money to every homeless person I see or I'd become one too, and so I have to decide, who do I support? What we tend to do is to give money to the charities who support the homeless or to those who sell "The Big Issue," a magazine sold by homeless people who are getting back on their feet.

aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

We turn a blind eye to everything that isn't to our standards, do we not? Yes, it is pitiful that our veterans STILL live like this, that the dirty guy that we might be working with doesn't yet have enough money for a down payment for a rental. There is so much that we don't understand, yet we will complain about it and hope that it goes away. Uh-huh...

Mama Kim 8 profile image

Mama Kim 8 4 years ago

"Do you see them? Can you see them? Will you see them?"

Wonderful line you used throughout. Eugene, OR is also a city that "tolerates" the homeless. My husband and his parents own/run a convenience store. Homeless and college students are what keeps the store running, how is that bad for business?

I especially liked your letter to "Mike" it brought me to tears. If only everyone had a quarter of your compassion, this world would be a much better place. Thank you for another fantastic hub Bill! Voted and shared!

tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

This is a very sad story and all too common. It makes me sick that so many Veterans are betrayed by our country like this and end up on the street. That should not happen. Great hub to raise awareness about this problem in our country.

Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland

Hi Bill, you give words to so many who get lost in the shuffle of day to day life. These homeless are out there and they are alone and sometimes they have children with them - and they have feelings. They arent invisible and they shouldn't be treated like they are. I hate seeing the homeless in this area during the winter. It breaks my heart because the temps can be so cruel. There's a "camp" in Akron (my area) where the homeless put up lean-to's and tents and they gather for safety. The police patrol the area but pretty much leave the people alone. There's a local group here also and they collect winter wear and blankets for this "camp". I always offer what I can. Sometimes it only takes a little to bring someone back up. The dollar stores carry hats and gloves for a dollar (I know - a dollar at the dollar store?! hehe). Spend a 5 if you have it and help someone. Excellent topic.

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Hi Ardie!

We have two of those "camps" in our area. Do you know what they remind me of? The Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. That's quite a commentary on the economic times. Thank you for your comment and for reminding people about the Dollar Store during the winter; it could be a trip that will save someone's life.

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thank you Tammy! That's exactly what I'm trying to do....raise awareness. I can't move mountains but I can move people, one at a time. I appreciate you taking the time on a Sunday to comment, and for your caring spirit.

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Sasha, great point about the convenience store. I owned one at one time and if I kicked every "undesirable" out of the store I would have had no business. Thank you for your kind words; greatly appreciated!

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Deb, as you well know, these problems are not going away. They are cancers that have been treated with bandaids and now they are spreading and will affect us at some point. I can't stay silent! Thank you!

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MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Such a sad course of events! Looking at the list of causes, surely the Government is able to make amends. So why don't they?

We have the same problem. Informal settlements - shelters of corrugated iron - pop up overnight in open spaces like mushrooms after rain.

What disaster is going to rectify over-population on our planet?

Thumbs up, Billybuc :)

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Martie, thank you! My guess is the disaster will be man-made, and I sure hope I'm wrong.

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vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

This is another beautiful, poignant hub and especially touching because of your personal experience with homelessness. Your letter to "Mike" is very touching. This is definitely a social issue. Interestingly, although Peru is such a poor country homelessness is not a big issue. We've rarely seen homeless people (except maybe in the capitol city Lima), and it's usually due to mental illness. It's the same scenario over and over: the family wants to care for the mentally ill individual, but the person refuses help. And since healthcare for the mentally ill is so lacking in this country, some cannot be helped. So they live on the streets. But the point is: families are close knit and the community won't tolerate a person living on the street for lack of work. They move in with their closest relative whether a cousin, aunt, uncle, etc. Of course, there are many other issues here. Poverty is a big one. But many houses here are fashioned out of mud bricks and it's still better than living on the street. Again, this is very moving and so nice that you want to make a difference. : )

kelleyward 4 years ago

Thanks for shedding light on this sad reality. I use to volunteer at the day center for the homeless in Tulsa and remember how difficult it was seeing the harsh realities these homeless families face. Voted up! Blessings, Kelley

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rcrumple 4 years ago from Kentucky

Bill, great awareness issue to bring out. One never knows when they might have their entire world turned upside down and become one of the homeless themselves. Sad, but in this world of rich vs. poor, there's not a lot of hope at times. Makes one wonder about what big business is thinking... sorry, what the government is thinking at times. Great job, my friend.

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bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida

So very powerful, Bill! Not only does the government not care, but business doesn't care either. Employees are not seen as people. They are seen as commodities, if in sales and produce, or liabilities - those who run the day to day functions of business.

People are no longer appreciated for their worth or contributions. Those who live high on the hog refuse to see the struggles those who helped them onto that hog face on a day to day basis.

There's a saying that has been around for generations, but you no longer hear: Money is the root of all evil.

When will we see? When will we speak? When will we refuse to succumb to the game no one can win?

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Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Bill, This is certainly not a new problem. It is growing, however. No one can claim ignorance. There isn't a city in the states that doesn't have a homeless population. I was chastised by my co-workers when I gave a homeless man a cig or a buck. I was blamed for contributing to the problem of panhandling. Yet, there is no real help for the homeless. Like one co-worker told me "there are places for those people." The frickin shelters are full. A local minister who has an old building downtown and offers the homeless a bed, is being squeezed out by the local bigshots who don't like the unsightly, motley crews of homeless people that leave city officials with the fear downtown becoming a ghost town, with decreased buying power for local merchants and lackluster tourism. I'd say its the marauding gangs with guns that take care of disappearing tourism. The sidewalk near the homeless shelter is now barracaded, with officials herding the homeless in the direction of the Mississippi River. New York bought one-way tickets to Hawaii and at least sent their homeless to a warm climate where there are now tent cities on the beaches. Government in action; just ship the problem somewhere else. The bitter irony is that without an address, you get no help, meaning those that need a hand remain conveniently invisible. The "problem" of panhandling will never go away. It's the only comfort many homeless get.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

The number of homeless people is growing with the downturn of the economy. It is sad to hear and to see. My husband and I volunteer at our church shelter and we get to hear their stories. Interestingly, most of the ones we serve are business people who have lost their jobs or are divorced. Depression plays a big part of their story. We have a responsibility to help our fellow man, like the good Samaritan, we must not look the other way. Voted up.

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Julie DeNeen 4 years ago from Clinton CT

You bring to light a serious problem in our country, where homelessness abounds amongst so much decadence in other areas (like perhaps the amount of money americans spend on clothes for their animals?!). It is all out of whack for sure. Great job.

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

Hi billybuc - Hmmm, sounds familiar - as I have written on this very subject here on HP, a couple of times, as that is where my heart is to help the downtrodden or homeless, and as Lord de Cross commented, we are doing so right here to glorify the LORD not ourselves. Each of us should actually get out and do that act of kindess to help another person. When the Holy Spirit convicted of this some years ago, He opened my eyes back then, that these are human beings, not just garage on the side of the street. That is when I got about my Father's business in being the hands and feet of Jesus. Large corporatins are so wasteful, as I stated on CloudExplorer's hub this morning. I am so passionate about this, as I know all too well the pangs of hunger in one's stomach and what that looks like, and I will never forget that feeling. Although one may not be homeless, one may still be hungry, and it could very well be your next door neighbor. In His Love, Faith Reaper

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Yvonne, I was honestly surprised that the numbers were so low for substance abuse. I would have thought they would be much higher. I know that the homeless are generally ignored by authorities's a see no evil, hear no evil mentality, like the problem will just disappear of its own accord. Ridiculous of course but there you have it.

I totally agree that fear is the underlying emotion in many nowadays, and at times the fear is almost palpable.

Thank you for a great comment. Much appreciated my friend!

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Vespa my friend, I hope in some small way to make a difference. We have the "head hidden in the sand" mentality here; as long as it doesn't happen to us then everything is okay, and fear is the reason for that. People in the U.S. know how bad the social problems are but they don't want to really see it up close because it is too frightening.

Social services continue to be cut in every state as budgets dwindle; the problem will only get worse.

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and show your concern.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Kellye, I have done the same volunteer work. I wish more people would so they can see firsthand how bad this is. Thank you for your caring spirit.

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Rich, I think you got it right the first time...big business/ and the same.

Thanks buddy; I greatly appreciate you taking the time to toss in your comment, and for caring.


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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Sha, you have taken a huge step in distancing yourself from the control of big business and the government. I am so damn proud of you young lady! Thank you for being the compassionate human being that you are.

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Amy, you pretty well summed it up. Make the problem go somewhere else and everything will be alright. This kind of myopic thinking makes my blood boil. Only when we call the problem what it is, a cancer of this nation, will we be able to take steps that make sense in solving it.

Thank you as always for caring.

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Dianna, the numbers of college grads who are homeless is astounding. This problem goes across the entire spectrum of society and it is not a 'they" is an "us" problem. There but for the grace of God....I was one of the lucky ones, but for every one of me out there, there are thousands who are not as lucky.

Thank you Dianna!

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thank you Julie! Unlike the homelessness of years gone by, this particular problem is made up, in part, of people who once had good jobs, of families who once had what they thought was the American Dream. That, my friend, is scary.

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Faith, I can tell you in all honesty, I will never forget the lessons I learned in 1989. I will never again take life for granted; I will never again treat someone as if they are garbage. This is my should be the battle of every single citizen in this country.

Peace and love to you always,


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

This made me cry i'm not ashamed to say. People dying on the street today is a travesity. And it makes me mad. we must do something, but what? The only thing to do is give, give to the food banks, don't give to organizations., they skim off the top, only a small sum goes to the needy. I know Ive been there. The only organization i give to is the clinton foundation. He matches every dollar given..

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Ruby, I am convinced that the solution lies in the individual communities; I don't believe for a second that the Federal Government is going to fix this problem. I love your suggestion and I, too, have faith in the Clinton Foundation. Thank you my friend!

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Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this. One of the mason youth favorite charity was SF's food bank. As part of the experience was: we all got to be "homeless" for a day. It was just a day's simulation but, "...imagine those who have live it everyday."

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Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

billybuc, thank you for putting such a huge link up. I hope it helps many more people to help and get help.

unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

it's sad to think that these situations happen everyday. Used to passed by hundreds of homeless in the city alone, munching small bites of food, dirty and dotn have even warm clothes to wear. they're sleeping under train stations, under the bridge, sidewalks...anywhere. babies look so thin and sick.

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bdegiulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Bill. What a shame that this happens here everyday. Your letter to Mike really got to me. What have we become that we can walk by someone in need and just ignore them. Hopefully your message spreads and more people decide to take action. Thank you for giving all of us a wake up call!

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Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

Awesome hub Bill! When I graduated college I lived in NYC for 5 years and sadly became immune to the homeless. Barely scraping by I got on and off the subways with head down and my job to go to. Now I live in a rural community and I don't see any homelessness at all. When I back to the city I really see it now and I regret not seeing it more 25 years ago.

Not sure if this is the right quote or not, but here goes anyway...."There, but for the grace of God go I". It doesn't take much these days to end up on that road.

Voted up and shared so others may be inspired.

jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

Bill, it is a great Hub on a sad topic. Here in India also many people are homeless. This is a world problem, even for many people in economically advance countries.

I have shared this Hub with my followers.

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tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone should be homeless in this isn't about the money, its about caring. We care for people all over the world and we can't care for our own??? Oh, and can bet your bippy every legislator and senator is set for life once THEY serve their government in cushy Washington, but we can't help our veterans who put their life on the line?

I really don't understand how people in government sleep at've touch a nerve for me Bill, it just breaks my heart to see this injustice. All the donations we give...are they helping? Sure, in the short term but we need a long term solution and people like you and articles like yours will make a noise in the wilderness that may one day be heard!

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Mike Spain profile image

Mike Spain 4 years ago from USA

Thanks for sharing

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

It is beyond my comprehension how we as Americans can allow our veterans to be homeless and hungry! We would all be homeless and hungry if not for them! We spend billions of dollars creating fancy shopping malls and monuments. We need to use this money to take care of our brave men and women who have fought to keep us safe! Our veterans need jobs, understanding and compassion! Shame on us for not doing more for them! Voting this up, awesome and sharing! You keep writing Billy Buc! If everyone had your determination and compassion, we could change the world! :)

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Martin, I don't have to imagine....been there, done that.....thank you Sir!

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Becky, you are welcome! Thank you!

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Spy, it is, indeed, very sad, and it is unnecessary in the States! Thank you my friend!

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thank you Bill! It was as much a wake up call for myself as anyone. :)

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Glimmer, your quote is correct in many ways! All it takes is the right set of circumstances and we could be there....I know from firsthand experience. Thank you my friend!

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Jainismus, thank you for the share and for being a compassionate man.

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Mary, thank you for this comment. You are right....we need a long term solution. It's beyond me why leaders don't see that and act accordingly. I agree with everything you said, including touching a nerve. I am incensed that this government turns its back on the people who served.

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thank you Mike; I appreciate you stopping by and reading.

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Sgbrown, it is just my opinion, but I believe most out there have the level of compassion that I have.....they just are so frustrated and frightened that they don't know what to do. I'm not sure my writing will accomplish anything, but I can't stay silent. Thank you for your compassion!

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Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

An important and moving hub, Bill … I read it with a lump in my throat.

And everything you say about the US also goes for the UK …

As a person who counts her home as her most treasured item after her family this piece really got to me.

Well done … voted up and shared.

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Angie, thank you! I am always encouraged when compassionate people respond. Thank you very much!

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Some of the most rewarding feelings in my Nursing career have come from my work with the homeless in Philadelphia.

I was humbled on a daily basis by the general beauty and strength of this population. I served former social workers, teachers and many vets, who led honorable lives... And then their worlds changed dramatically for a myriad of reasons.

You writing is meaningful and from the heart. You relay your messages to us like a prophet, with much wisdom and decency.

Voted UP and UABI, Hugs, Maria

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Maria, I will gladly accept the hubs and your words humble me. I, too, have worked with the homeless, and it is a wake-up call that many should experience. Thank you dear lady!

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

You covered this sensitive subject brilliantly.

Here's to so many more to come Billy and enjoy your day.


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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thank you Eddy! This one was near and dear to my heart. Hugs to you my dear!


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

Thank you for such a wonderful hub Billy. It is very sad that we are not helping the people who need it most. What you wrote to him was wonderful. Many of our politicians are rich and say that they understand the problems poor people are having, but they are just lying. And that makes it even worse.

Voted up.

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Michele, I'm not sure how a rich politician could ever say they understand the problems of the poor. It's a bit silly of them to even suggest it. Thank you my friend; have a wonderful evening.

Sueswan 4 years ago

I see them everyday. I will give them money sometimes or if they ask and I don't have anything to give , I just say sorry. They say thank you and God bless. Giving money to street people is not the solution though . "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Voted up and away


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

I completely agree, Sue; giving money to individuals does not solve the problem. This is a societal issue concerning employment and counseling......the economy needs to be fixed before we can hope to help these people. Thank you for caring!

Abundant old soul profile image

Abundant old soul 4 years ago from united states

I am working as a training person at the homeless shelter where I live. I meet wonderful people each day. I really believe "give a man a fish and he eats for a day....................teach him to fish and he eats for the rest of his life."

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Abundant, I believe that as well, and bless you on your journey. Thank you for the comment.

Dancing Water profile image

Dancing Water 4 years ago

Homeless people and animals are a message to all of us: we are failing in our basic humanity, as a nation and as a people. We have worshipped the bitch goddess success far too long, and it has blinded us to the plight, pain, and suffering of others. This is a time that tests our true humanity. We can put our money where our mouth is and can step up and do all that is humanly possible to reach out to, love, and help others, or we can turn away and pretend that the less fortunate are invisible. The good news is that they are not, and if we betray them by ignoring them, they will embed in our consciousness and conscience, and cause us endless pain.

We must love or perish.

Thank you for a beautiful, heartfelt hub, dear Bill. I pray that it spurs people to action.

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Dancing, that was eloquent and passionate and I thank you! I hope this spurs action too, but I am getting more cynical by the day.

Thank you my friend!

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phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Billy -- Such a powerful, moving, and important essay. It is unbelievable that this happens in America with our wealth. I don't really have anything to say, you said it all perfectly and with righteous outrage, which is a sit should be. I am crying and I think I will be crying for a while, but that is a good thing. When our hearts are tender, we reach out to and care for others much more. Thank you, your hub is a gift to all of us. Thank you for speaking from your heart. Theresa

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Theresa, this may sound strange, but thank you for crying. It speaks volumes about you as a person, that you would cry reading this. I cried writing it...and that is as it should be. There is so much pain out there, and I refuse to turn my head and pretend it does not exist. To do so would be beneath me as a human being.

Thank you for caring!

adrienne2 profile image

adrienne2 4 years ago from Atlanta

Billy thank you for writing this hub! Homelessness is an issue I see when I walk the street. This is a social issue I plan to do my part to help. Currently I am working on putting together a program which will serve homeless woman, and give them a safe place to live. Your story and facts is heart wrenching, I would have never thought your picture would be at the end of this hub.

Guess what I was counted as one of the homeless due to health challenges.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Adrienne, God bless you for trying to start a program to help the homeless. With a few thousand more like you we could make a huge difference in this country. Keep up the good work and thank you for your compassion.

Turns out some very good people were once homeless. :)

BlissfulWriter profile image

BlissfulWriter 4 years ago

One of the problem is that the income gap between the rich and the poor is very large and getting larger.

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Blissful, that is a huge problem and reason for this situation. Thank you for the insightful comment.

dwachira profile image

dwachira 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

Hi my friend billybuc,

Am sorry to say this a worldwide problem, here in Africa it is worse and slum dwellers are increasing in numbers day by day. All these is happening while governments and corporations are shying away from their civic responsibility. Voted up and useful.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Dwachira, you are oh so right; I"m fully aware of how much worse it is in other countries. I'm afraid this whole global economy thing is going to come crashing down on our collective head sooner rather than later.

Thank you for a great comment and insight.

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Ann1Az2 4 years ago from Orange, Texas

Billy, this is all very sad, and unfortunately, true. I used to work in downtown Houston and I saw the homeless every day. They begged at the bus lines. It was so sad to see people reduced to begging on the streets. Many of them were not "right." You could tell by their actions that they were probably released from mental institutions.

I think it's horrible that veterans, especially are allowed to be homeless. I was alarmed at the statistics you gave.

Homelessness, as you say, is a problem for all of us. It has to start with us.

Thanks for bringing the problem to light.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thank you Ann! Not a pleasant subject and I suspect that's why many people just ignore it, or turn their heads, because it is not a pleasant subject. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

bn9900 profile image

bn9900 2 years ago from Alger WA

I am aware of the homeless, however I still remember something my father related to me when I was a teen, not so long ago: He would be driving to work and see the same 4 "homeless" beggers on the busy street corner. Didn't think much of them, because he gave through his church, well one day he saw a van that dropped them the same 4 people off and they scattered to their corners signs and cans in hand. He saw this a few days in a row, and began to wonder if they were indeed homeless. Most towns have shelters or missions that help these folks out. The mission in our town has it set up where you can use them as your address for employment applications.

If you believe in yourself then you must take care of yourself, for those few that are truly in need then there is help.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

bn9900, your comment was fascinating but I'm not sure what you are saying. 1/3 of the homeless are children; are you saying that all of those kids are faking it? Or that they are a natural by-product of a capitalist system?

Well, I thank you for your opinion.

bn9900 profile image

bn9900 2 years ago from Alger WA

Billy What I am saying is that the homeless, I see are NOT children and I wonder if the Adults are faking it. The children you are referring to are not natural byproducts of a capitalist system, they are by products of lazy parents. I am tired of seeing signs reading "Family of Three Homeless". I see a gal outside our local Fred Meyers, been there since at least March.....9 months on the sidewalk....wonder how much she makes per hour, through hand outs. Sign reads "mother and son homeless anything helps", and yet FM has hired a few times since she was standing there, AND a LaQuinta being built right next store, she looks like she could clean up and work at either place, don't if she has tried to look for a job, but she is at that corner every day when I drive by.

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billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thanks for your thoughts, bn9900!

bn9900 profile image

bn9900 2 years ago from Alger WA

Welcome Billy

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billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

bn9900, one other thing...i want to thank you for stating your opinion in a respectful way. It is not necessary that we agree with each other but I do believe it is necessary that we treat each other with respect when stating opinions. How can there ever be agreement on issues if both sides are trying to shout down each other and refuse to thank you!

Shyann 2 years ago

ok so i read this and i enjoyed it, i also want to say since im able to type on this page lls :) im 18 im single im 4'11, i have purpe hair right now but soon to be blond and brown again, i go to greenville tech and i live in greenville SC. anyone intersted plz call..


My name? Shyann Evett

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billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thanks Shyann....good luck with that dating thing

bn9900 profile image

bn9900 2 years ago from Alger WA

Billy- Update on that woman i posted about three months ago, she moved to a new corner where there arent any jobs (Intersection of the freeway and major road). Really makes me wonder.

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billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thanks for the update, bn9900....I do a lot of wondering myself. :)

Kathleen 2 years ago

What a statement. I am proud of you billybuc. I am trying to do a dissertation on homelessness and am having a difficult time on a research question, as there are so many issues to cover. Was wondering if you have any input on where the focus should be?

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billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Kathleen, finding a home for the homeless is like putting a bandage on cancer. We need people working in this country, and we need a government focused on doing just that...improving the work opportunities so that people do not fall through the cracks when another layoff happens. Of course that won't cover all homeless...there are those who are too addicted or mentally ill who cannot work...but we have to stop the leak and get people back to work.

Barb Selleck profile image

Barb Selleck 2 years ago

I found you're article while looking for some resources for a paper in my Social Problems class. I picked the subject of homelessness because it's something that weighs on my heart. Although I've never been homeless, I do have a friend that that is currently homeless...although he is not on the streets. I have to say that the words Do you see them? Can you see them? Will you see them?...brought tears to my eyes. I do plan on including some of you're article in my paper (with the link to you're paper cited)...and although I've just scanned through you're paper...I wish there was a way to share you're paper. I have to hope that papers like yours will open people's eyes and the forgotten people...the people that "we try not to notice". I try to not take what I have for granted...always aware that I'm just a paycheck, job loss etc. away from being homeless myself. You wrote a very beautiful, moving, and informative article. Thank you for sharing. Barbara

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billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA Author

Barbara, what a lovely thing for you to say. We are kindred spirits if you feel strongly for the forgotten people. Thank you for caring so much about the. Good luck with that paper, and thank you for including a link to my article.


Big E 13 months ago

The safest thing to be if you are homeless is a black male. Black skin is like a tatoo that says do not F with me.

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billybuc 13 months ago from Olympia, WA Author

Thanks Big E. I might amend that to say "big black male." :)

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