Homelessness - An American Epidemic

Throughout the school year I have been conducting research and gathering the research of others on the subject of homelessness and homeless shelters. There are more than half a million people experiencing homelessness currently in America. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that only about half of the homeless population can be sheltered at a time. In my research I found that life in shelters can be almost as bad as living outside

, without shelter. In shelters the homeless can be subjected to racism, transphobia, and other types of xenophobia to harmful effect. My research on this can be found here and here.

In my agent of change, I partnered up with Tyria Brown-Smith, a classmate of mine also researching homelessness, to create a presentation to raise awareness for the national problem of homelessness in America. Her previous research can be found here. While this issue is huge and seemingly impossible to completely fix, we found it necessary to raise awareness. Many victims of homelessness suffer from mental health problems due to their physical environment and from being ignored by hundreds of people1, day in and day out. Hence, if we would be able to change that, even slightly, it would be positive growth for the cause.

Upon the class being assigned our Y&tW project last quarter, we were asked to observe our daily world to gain inspiration for a topic. Off the top of my head I had a few ideas, but the national epidemic of homelessness was the most prevalent in my mind. As a resident of Philadelphia, the homeless are seemingly everywhere downtown, many of whom are ignored by the probably hundreds of people that pass by them every day. While I don’t personally know anyone who has experienced homelessness, they are a big part of the city that I’ve lived in all my life. While our project does encourage donation to a few different organizations attempting to remedy the problem of homelessness, we mainly wanted to relay a message of sympathy and, fittingly enough, brotherly love. While there is no quantitative way to measure opened minds, we hope and believe we made a difference.

There were a few road bumps in the process of creating our agent of change. We intended for the project to be purely video, that which we had to edit under time constraints after poorly gauging how long everything would take. Despite this, the only problem we faced was poor communication with a representative from Project HOME that we were unfortunately unable to contact. Given our mistakes and restraints, I believe that our project still turned out strong and has as much of an impact as we possibly could have created. This project has been much larger in scope than any I’ve done before and so it was more challenging and overwhelming at times. If I was able to do the project again I would really use my time wisely and attempt to go into the community and make a physical change instead of something purely presentation based. Nonetheless, I am content with our work and hope that we have opened some minds along the way. All my sources can be found here, Tyria’s post on our Agent of Change can be found here, and you can donate to help the homeless here, here, or most importantly at any local shelter.

View our entire presentation at: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/12qIMb1ArxAJyIVRAt0wuTxmZCtEXICt16Y8FFT5SYW8/edit?usp=sharing