There are more than 4,000 homeless people in Wake County alone (Raleigh Rescue Mission- Local Statistics 2017). This is a problem because these people don't have a safe place to live or certain resources that they need to survive, like food and hygienic products. This affects us because the homeless may be less fortunate than others, but they are still people and they deserve to have a healthy and safe life like other people. It also affects us because they are living in public areas that aren’t equipped to be used as shelter. We could all be much kinder and make others happy by showing homeless people that we care about their quality of life living on the streets or in a shelter. Life expectancy on the streets is less than 46 years (Raleigh Rescue Mission- Local Statistics 2017). People that live in shelters still don't have the best quality of life that they could if they had a home. They don't have all the resources they need on a daily basis and they can't provide those resources for themselves.
Our group is interested in the issue of homelessness because we have all seen someone that is homeless and have wondered how we could help them. We know that they aren't as fortunate as others and we feel the need to help them in some way. It’s hard for us to put ourselves in a homeless person's shoes and understand what it's really like to not have a place to sleep at night. We imagine that it's really hard to go through life without the resources we use every single day and couldn't even think about what life would be like without those resources. This is why we want to help them out.
Not many people are aware of the struggles the homeless face, and even if they are they don't really care. We think everyone should care about homelessness because anyone who is homeless is still a human, regardless of if they don't have the products for good hygiene or enough money to buy food. Most people just forget about them and don't understand that they don't have anything or anyone to help them. If we all ban together and help them get their lives into a better state, we will make others happy and make the world a better place.
Homelessness is a big issue for people all over the world. In Wake County, the Raleigh Rescue Mission recorded 4,000 homeless people in total (Raleigh Rescue Mission 2017).That’s 4,000 people that can’t obtain shelter, food, water, and education with ease. For the 2,700 children that are homeless, this means hunger and an unsafe environment. Eighty three percent of children that are homeless are exposed to violence and are four times more likely to get sick than children that aren’t homeless (Raleigh Rescue Mission Local Stats 2017). Homelessness has been a prominent issue in Wake County and especially Raleigh for multiple decades, ever since the 80s, when “contemporary homelessness began,” (Covert 2014). In 2005, Raleigh adopted a ten-year plan to end homelessness, but over ten years later, people are still homeless.
Homelessness is caused by many factors like unemployment or drug/alcohol abuse. Homelessness is an issue in Raleigh because not only does it affect the people who are homeless, but it also affects those who aren’t. Homeless ex-offenders who are caught by police get their IDs checked and are written a ticket, which costs additional money because it has to go through the local court system (SLO Homeless 2008). Additionally, public services are very costly to taxpayers. “Homelessness is an economic problem. People without housing are high consumers of public resources and generate expense, rather than income, for the community,” (Homeward Bound 2012).
If we don't do anything to help, homelessness may or may not get worse, but if we help, the situation of homelessness will improve drastically. For example, Congress created the National Housing Trust Fund to build affordable housing all over the country, but it was never funded. If funded, an estimated one million affordable homes could be built (Covert 2014). Homelessness could be easily solved if we put in the work to end it.
In Raleigh, there are over 30 homeless shelters, as well as low income housing, and programs dedicated to getting homeless people the help they need (Suntopia 2012). At the Raleigh Rescue Mission they serve about 384 meals per day and have helped over one million homeless people get back on their feet since opening in 1961 (Raleigh Rescue Mission 2017). There are also many other homeless shelters in Wake County that have been helping homeless people. The Salvation Army is a worldwide shelter that has been opened since 1865 and has 7,456 shelters opened across the United States. There are three Salvation Army shelters open in Raleigh. South Wilmington Street Center and Family Promise of Wake County are two local homeless shelters opened to people with no place to go. Although there are several shelters in Raleigh that are opened to kids, Wrenn House is the only homeless shelter in the Triangle for youth. Wrenn House is available to any youth from the age 10-17 and provides these children with “counseling, temporary shelter, case management, and referrals and also teaches them a variety of life skills that they may have been deprived of (Haven House 2016).”
Even though there are many shelters open to helping homeless people in Raleigh, 2014 PIT (Point In Time) data suggests that there are still 1,170 people in Wake County without a safe place to sleep (UNC Carolina Demography 2014). Even with the amount of shelters opened, you still occasionally see someone standing on the side of the road with a sign asking for help. This is a well known stereotype for the homeless, but there are many other people that you may know that are homeless. Statistics show that 2,736 Wake County students are homeless (Raleigh Rescue Mission 2017). Someone you may care about could be homeless and you would never even know. Volunteering and donating to a homeless shelter could affect somebody close to you in a very good way. Helping people in need is very important, because you could be saving the life of your classmate or the person walking by you on the street.
Our service project is centered in helping homeless people that live in our area. Something anyone could do to help is giving a homeless person some money or food. You could also volunteer at a local homeless shelter. Lastly, you could collect donations to give to a homeless shelter or to a homeless person. They could really benefit from us giving them certain things they need to live.
We are planning to volunteer at Raleigh Rescue Mission, a local homeless shelter. We are planning to make care packages, and give them to the homeless people staying at the shelter. Then we would like to volunteer at Raleigh Rescue Mission by organizing clothing or anything else that the shelter would like us to do. The requirements to participate for children is to be older than ten, but they have to be with an adult or a person over eighteen to volunteer. To get to the shelter, we plan to have a few parents drive the people that are volunteering in groups. Raleigh Rescue Mission is open from 9a.m- 5p.m on weekdays. We want to advertise that we are planning to make care packages so that people will donate things that could be put into the packages. We would like to put toothpaste, toothbrushes, and other hygienic products into the care packages. We would assemble the packages at school in the morning and later leave to volunteer for a couple hours. Our goal is to make at least 20 care packages for the people at the shelter.
If we were trying to do this as a class we would need to discuss all points of the project. You would need to know about the transportation to get to Raleigh Rescue Mission. You would also need to know the qualifications you need to be able to volunteer there. We would also need to discuss the donations that would need to be made to the class so we could make our care packages. Lastly, we would have to look at the number of people that could volunteer at once and what we would do to go in groups.
Our goal is to help people at the shelter, the workers and the homeless. We want to make the homeless people happy by giving them things that they could use, but don't necessarily have easy access to. By volunteering, we would make the jobs of the workers easier by taking some of the workload off of their hands. We will know if we accomplished this when we have helped the people at the shelter. We will also be accomplished if we get a good amount of things to donate. Helping the homeless is very important to us and we hope that we will be successful in this community service project.