WORLD HOMELESS DAY
Every October 10th, World Homeless Day brings individuals together to find ways to change the lives of homeless people in their community. It’s also a time to draw attention to the needs of the homeless on a local level.
Approximately 150 million people around the world don’t have a home. This equals 2 percent of the world’s population. Homeless people face many issues, including:
- Health problems, such as infectious diseases, dental problems, and chronic pain.
- A lack of income which makes it difficult to afford food and rent.
- Not having access to basic needs, such as dry clothes and clean water.
- Prolonged exposure to the elements, such as heat, cold, rain, and snow.
- Hunger and poor nutrition.
- Many homeless people in large cities live in areas called slums. These slums are overcrowded and have very poor living conditions.
Because of the complexity of homelessness, some experts believe the issue will never be solved. Others believe a great place to start is right in your community. It’s also important to understand the causes of homelessness. The four primary causes include lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty, and low wages. Those who have a mental health disorder but lack the necessary services also often become homeless. For women, domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldHomelessDay
Communities from over 100 countries gather together to observe World Homeless Day. Some cities hold World Homeless Day Summits that include speeches, presentations, and educational workshops. Many faith-based organizations hold fundraisers to help the homeless in their community. Faith communities also take special offerings to donate to advocates for the homeless, collect goods, make and hand out survival kits, and offer prayers for the homeless.
Here are some ways for you to observe World Homeless Day:
- Educate yourself on the issues causing homelessness in your community
- Volunteer your time or donate money to a local homeless shelter
- Host a fundraiser for the homeless in your community
- Get involved with a church or other place of worship that ministers to the homeless\
- There are many books that can help you better understand the homeless crisis. A few of these books include Evicted by Matthew Desmond, Tell Them Who I Am by Elliot Liebow, and Rachel and Her Children by Jonathan Kozol. Movies about homelessness include The Soloist, The Public, Time Out of Mind, and Lost Angels: Skid Row Is My Home.
Share a book, movie, or your experience helping the homeless on social media with #WorldHomelessDay.
WORLD HOMELESS DAY HISTORY
The first World Homeless Day was held on October 10th, 2010. The concept of World Homeless Day came from online discussions amongst aid workers trying to help the homeless in their countries.