While the general stereotype is that most homeless people are thrust into the life due to mental illness or drug addiction, studies show that many people become homeless after a life changing event or series of events. For the vast majority, an unplanned situation happened that may have led them to be homeless.
Events such as the loss of income, a loved one, domestic violence, dysfunctional families, and mental illness are among the top reasons for homelessness. Other impairments like physical disability or post-traumatic stress disorder can also contribute to being homeless. It is also not uncommon to find people resorting to the street as a way to deal with grief. Often unable to cope with significant trauma in their lives, some people will give up on life and stop caring. Acknowledging that a myriad of factors can push people to the streets is often a good way to start figuring out how to help people.
A homeless person is one who has gone through deep emotional pain and suffering. By the time they show up to a homeless shelter for help, they’ve probably burned every meaningful relationship they’ve ever had. Close friends and family are unable (or unwilling) to give a hand, leaving the individual to fend on their own. In some ways, their situations are more about being unwanted than being homeless. Restoring trust and hope then becomes a big factor on the road to recovery.
Bethany Kludt is studying to become a registered nurse at Ohio Northern University. She is a kind-hearted person who loves to help people and hopes to use her career to aid the homeless in her community.