Understanding homelessness at an early age

A group of 7th and 8th grade students from The Logan School in Colorado recently contacted Coalition for the Homeless. The students chose homelessness as the topic for a school project, which required them to create a video and write individual articles. They requested we post their video on our blog to help them spread the word about homelessness.

Of course we’ll help them! We are so thrilled a group of youngsters is taking the initiative to promote awareness about the realities of homelessness. Take a moment to check out their video and a condensed version of student Molly’s guest blog post. You might learn something…

“[Homelessness] is not just the smelly guy with the backpack.” “It could happen to anyone.” “To help the homeless, we need to start in our heads. When the homeless are treated as invisible, inhuman, undignified…this is what hurts the most.” “We are trying to reshape people’s definitions of who is homeless, and why.” These are the words of four amazing individuals who are working hard to eliminate homelessness.

We asked each of them what we can do to help the homeless. In all cases, they told us that the solution to homelessness starts in how we see the homeless. According to Colorado statistics, only 10% of the homeless population is chronically homeless. The other 90%, says Justine, is a group of people “just like us, who have fallen on hard times.” The only thing that separates the homeless from the rest of us, she says, is that “When we stumble, we have a better safety net to catch us.” So why do we so often treat the homeless like they are invisible, or simply not worthy of our attention?

According to Tommy, we do realize, deep down, that the homeless are just like us. We see the hard times they are going through, and we know that it could be us. This makes us feel uncomfortable, and we thus start trying to avoid the idea. To help the homeless…All we need to do is, as Justine says, “Think expansively and humanely.” When we walk down the street and see a homeless person, looking them in the eye and saying a simple ‘hello’ can make all the difference in the world.

How wonderful that the younger generation is already taking an interest in the realities we see every day. We thank The Logan School students for sharing their new found wisdom.