Thursday, July 24, 2014

Is this what you picture when you think about someone who is homeless?

My dad worked for the railroad, so as a kid we'd go  to New York City once a month (mom loved bargain shopping, but that's a whole other story). I can still picture the rows of homeless people on the grates outside the train station, in the heat of summer and just as many shivering on the concrete in the winter. Adults often just walk by homeless persons without paying much notice. Maybe it's because we're busy and we've learned to not notice; but  I wonder if kids take more notice  because they're shorter and homelessness is literally more in their face.

Homelessness in upstate New York looks very different from street  homelessness in a major city. It's more invisible. Folks without housing often: couch surf (stay with friends for night  or so then find someone else who can put them up for a few nights), sleep in their car, or sleep in out of the way places. In more suburban areas, homelessness may not be as apparent.

But we do have homelessness... even if we don't see it every day. And it's not the only stereotype single male;  we have homeless families and teens who are living on the street or getting  by somehow day-to-day ... they may even be folks we interact with every day and don't realize they're homeless. Back in June, Diane Davis, the homelessness liaison for the Saratoga Springs School District said,
"Saratoga Springs City School District
had 157 homeless  students this year.
At graduation, 6 students will walk across the stage
and get their diplomas.
They will  blend in with the senior class, but at the end of the day they will return to a campground, a motel, or  a friend or relative's house not knowing how long they will be able to stay."

How can there be such an incidence of homeless families and teens, and we don't see it? Here's a video of a teen that help us us understand.

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