I wanted to take a few moments to tell all my readers about my next step in life. As many of you know, I have been very vested in the issue of homelessness that not only is rampant in Los Angeles where I reside, but exists all over the world. I believe it impacts all of us in some way, shape, or form whether we are homeless are not.
Many people are oblivious to and uneducated about these issues and the impact they have on society in so many ways.
For one, crime rates go up when there is more poverty and people are homeless. Homeless people often turn to crime to meet their basic needs for food, shelter and clothing. On the other hand, when people are not poverty stricken and their basic needs are met it is a fact that crime rates go down. Greater poverty and homelessness also affects health outcomes for all of us. When people are healthy they aren’t as sick, so it’s less likely that disease or illness spread. Less poverty is also good for the economy, as more people find work and even volunteer to help others.
Unfortunately the initiative of helping the homeless is met with strong opposition in many cities (like with the opposition to temporary shelters discussed here). Society attaches the stigmatism of shame to poverty and thinks that it is a reflection of the person, their values and morality, when in reality, poverty and homelessness is a direct result of society (us).
Individuals are not at fault or responsible for being homeless. Instead, too many people are uneducated about the mental health issues, substance abuse, poor upbringing, and sometimes just bad luck homeless people experience. Some believe that many homeless people would prefer to stay on the streets and remain homeless. But as a society, we must consider that this may be because that is all they have ever known. Maybe they are not truly aware of the alternative, which is a much better life than searching for food and shelter every day.
Sure, sometimes people make poor choices in life and do not help their cause much. But I can tell you that many of them I have worked with as a volunteer at Los Angeles Mission really care and desperately want to make a better life for themselves and their loved ones.
These people are truly grateful for the opportunity to start taking ownership of their lives again and live a life worth living.
They need our help and the tools and structure to do so. Not everyone has been afforded the opportunity, resources, values and tools that our parents gave us and their parents gave them.
At the same time, many of these individuals want to return the favor and give back in some way by volunteering or seeking employment in social services or drug and alcohol counseling. They want to share their experiences and provide inspiration and hope.
Why does it take painful experiences in life to realize these amazing things? I’ll be writing about this in the future as I share some of my own personal experiences and challenges.
Going forward I am going to focus my efforts on the issue of homelessness, substance abuse and mental health. All are reaching epidemic proportions all over the world affecting not only people from poverty-stricken communities, but also people we commonly refer to as the “middle and upper class.”
I am creating a new personal website and will be writing about these issues every week, and doing a monthly podcast as well. In the fall I will be attending UCLA to obtain a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling and pursuing a career to more directly make a difference for society and for people struggling with addiction, substance abuse, and homelessness.
I will update everyone with details in the next month. Thanks to all the hundreds of subscribers for your positive feedback and support. It all matters!
Talk soon and God Bless.