Aluwet D. Utah

Homelessness in Americam

This is a letter to the next president in America.

Dear Future President,

Imagine walking down the street in your local downtown area and seeing a homeless man lying on the ground . Do you think he’s just crazy ? Or do you think that he's just one of those people who screwed up their lives and is now paying the consequences ? Think again because answers to any of these questions are wrong. Homelessness is one of the most leading issues that is facing America. It is also an issue that most citizens and the government have failed to truly combat and effectively aid. As a U.S Citizen living in Salt Lake City, Utah , it breaks my hearts seeing homeless people. It’s just a terrible reinforcement that the government is failing to take care of local Americans. I want this to change .

Homeless is a problem that is often overlooked and as a community, we need to know join in coalition to combat this issue. According to the National Alliance to Endless as “ January 2015, 564,708 people were homeless on a given night in the United States,” and of this number “206,286 were people in families, and 358,422 were individuals.” In addition to this, 15 percent of these homeless people are “chronically homeless,” meaning that they “experienced homelessness for a year or longer, or have experienced at least four episodes of homelessness over a course of three years (must be a cumulative of 12 months), and has a disability.” The number of homeless are alarming. The fact that people who are living in families are homeless is especially concerning; picture a family of five, in which there are two parents and three children. They will not be able to have a stable sleeping place, food, and security. The children will not be able to properly focus in school because they don't have a stable home environment. The parents won't be able to provide three meals a day for their children. In essence, homeless is not only negatively affecting our communities , it also affecting the basic unity of society, the family.

I am a volunteer at the St. Vincent De Paul Dining Hall in downtown Salt Lake City. It is a program funded by the Catholic Community Services that serves daily meals to the hungry. The people who show up to eat are not only those who can’t afford food , but they are homeless. As I hand a homeless person a plate of hot food, I can't help but notice the look of joy on their face, and their genuine happiness when they exclaim “ Thank you !” This experience serves to show that these people are just in need of help. They are need of their community, us the people of the United States. This is why I emphasize that we must help the homeless. We must come up with a solution.

I hope as president of the United States you can work towards the complete eradication of homelessness in the United States. You can start a federal homelessness aid program that provides more public houses and food banks that will aid the homeless. Although I know homelessness is circumstantial and differs in level from state to state, it is reflects the American society as a whole. It reflects that we are society that is divided and class driven. The question we must ask ourselves is : do we want to be reflected as a divided society in which our own citizens are marginalized? Well, as a believer in democracy, I don’t. I hope you share this sentiment.

With best wishes,

Aluwet Deng