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Understanding Homelessness

Understanding Homelessness
Posted on 05/08/2017
desmondMatthew Desmond, author of the adult best seller, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City visited on Friday, March 31 to talk with the students about homelessness as part of our reading challenge. Matthew's book profiles both landlords and tenants through the eviction process in Milwaukee during 2008 and 2009.

Homelessness is important for us all to understand and is an urgent issue facing America today. When you have a home, you feel safe, comfortable and relaxed. Families without a home may not have a bed or a place to keep their things. They may not feel safe. Matthew asked what a homeless person looks like. A homeless person may look just like you and your family. The average age of a homeless person is 9 years old.

Why are people homeless? He spoke to the students about a budget and how families have to prioritize their money. When you have to pay for rent, heat, electricity, food, health care, car or transportation, clothing, Internet and toys and fun, sometimes there is not enough money to pay for it all. Rent is more expensive than anything else a family has to pay for. 1 in 4 poor families pay 3/4 of their budget on housing. That leaves little funding for everything else. What if you don't have money for health care and you get sick? What if your car breaks and you don't have money to fix it? Families have to come up with some very hard choices of what to spend their money on.

desmondWhy are people homeless? They have a tight budget and they have to make very tough decisions and sometimes that means not paying the rent. What can we all together do to help? We can donate clothing and toys. The students at the Baldwin are helping right now by getting pledges for their reading during the reading challenge to raise money for the Salvation Army Daycare Center which services children without a home.

Does everyone deserve a home? Of course. Some families can get emergency assistance to help pay rent or the electricity or heat bill. There are housing vouchers that help families with the cost of housing. justshelter.org is a place to learn about resources to help with homelessness. Thank you Mr. Desmond for coming to our school and helping us learn about this important social justice issue.