Homeless For A Night 2020
September 16, 2020
On any given night, there are over 600,000 homeless people in the U.S., according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Most people are spending the night either in homeless shelters or in some sort of short-term transitional housing.
Homelessness is defined as the condition of not having a permanent place to live; only recently perceived as a societal problem. The problem exists in all major cities and a growing number of smaller communities. The leading causes of homelessness among unaccompanied individuals were (1) lack of affordable housing, (2) unemployment, (3) poverty, (4) mental illness and the lack of needed services, and (5) substance abuse and the lack of needed services. (The number of homeless people in the US increased in 2017, the first increase in seven years. In 2018 17 out of every 10,000 people were homeless.)
“Homeless for a Night” is an opportunity for students to take action on the homeless problem. Those who participate will spend a night in front of the Pioneer Museum to discuss, think, and learn about homelessness. Although one night outside can in no way simulate homelessness, this awareness-raising activity can promote advocacy, protest, and education.
Who: GHS Leadership Class students
When: Saturday, Sept. 19, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Where: Pioneer Museum
What: We will be sleeping in boxes to gain awareness of the life of the homeless.
All participants should:
Bring at least one blanket (new or gently used), which can be donated at the end of the night to the event. Blankets will be donated to the Montana Rescue Mission in Billings (a shelter for women and children).
Make and bring one cardboard shelter which they may use with their blanket to stay warm.
Find sponsors who would be willing to donate for each hour we are homeless (eight in our case). The students have decided to collect at least $20 apiece to be donated to the Community Thanksgiving Dinner to assist in covering costs of the annual dinner. Their goal is to collect $400.
Who is homeless and why?
The homeless population includes people from all walks of life:
In the U.S., more than 2.3 million people experience homelessness each year.
36 percent of the homeless population is families with children, which is the fastest growing segment of the homeless population.
40 percent are U.S. military veterans.
1.36 million are children under the age of 18 years.
30 percent of homeless have been homeless for more than two years
22 percent suffer from mental illness.
66 percent of homeless have problems with alcohol, drug abuse or mental illness
Average monthly income for a homeless individual is $348
Annual number of food stamp recipients who are children is 9.3 million
25 percent of homeless people are employed
12 million children in the U.S. live below the poverty level and 20 percent of the people in a soup kitchen line are children