World Homeless Day is observed every year on October 10. The purpose of this day is to bring to focus the issues of homelessness and inadequate housing. Activists raise awareness on the need to provide opportunities for communities to get involved in responding to homelessness. Contrary to popular belief, homelessness is on the rise. Inflated property rates coupled with poor wages and irregular work opportunities are the reasons why so many people find themselves without homes. In America, homelessness is more common among minority and immigrant populations. While this remains a serious problem worldwide, there are many ways one can help and also urge the government to act accordingly.
History of World Homeless Day
The first World Homeless Day was observed on October 10, 2010. The concept of World Homeless Day originates from online discussions among activists who have been involved in helping the homeless in their countries. Every October 10, World Homeless Day brings together like-minded people who are looking for ways in helping the homeless in their community. More than just raising alarm about homelessness, the day also addresses the need for building adequate housing that is safe, clean, and has all basic facilities. It also draws attention to the needs of the homeless and how this affects different aspects of their lives.
It is believed that there are about 150 million people around the world who don’t have a home. This means that almost 2% of the world’s population is homeless. More than just being without homes, these people also suffer infectious diseases, dental problems, and chronic pain; lack income and savings, leading to hunger and unattended medical needs; lack access to clean toilets and water; suffer prolonged exposure to heat, cold, rain, and snow; and experience starvation and poor nutrition.
Homelessness is pervasive and experts believe that it cannot be fully eradicated; nevertheless, it can be reduced. And a good way to start is trying to understand the causes of homelessness. The four primary causes of homelessness are lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty, and low wages. The mentally challenged people or people struggling with drug addictions and lack necessary care and service may also become homeless. For women, domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness.
World Homeless Day timeline
Homelessness is first documented in America, following the European invasion and colonization.
The non-profit organizations start soup kitchens to feed the homeless.
The American Revolution and later the Great Depression of 1857 lead to a dramatic increase in homelessness.
The U.S., following the Economic Depression, recognizes homelessness as a national issue.
World Homeless Day FAQs
What city has the most homeless people?
New York City, being the most populated city in the U.S., has 78,604 people without a home, according to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
What are the types of homelessness?
Homelessness can essentially be broken down into four categories: chronic, episodic, transitional, and hidden.
How can I help the homeless?
You can help the homeless by demanding that shelters for the homeless be opened; donating clothes, food, medicines, and other essential items; and volunteering your time and resources in fundraising.
How To Observe World Homeless Day
You can volunteer your time at a non-profit organization that works for homeless people. Habitat for Humanity and organizations like it are good places where you can volunteer your service; your local soup kitchen is another.
Host a fundraiser
Organize a fundraiser on World Homeless Day to collect funds for the homeless in your community. You can also donate to an organization of your choice that is involved in helping the homeless.
Write to your local politicians
Collect signatures on a petition and write to your local politicians, urging them to take action against homelessness. Ask your elected representatives about how they plan to solve the crisis of homelessness in your community.
5 Facts About Homelessness
At least 580,000 people in America are homeless
This number of people could occupy five football stadiums.
The overwhelming number of homeless kids
About 2.5 million children, representing one in every 30, experiences homelessness every year in the United States.
Homelessness leads to mental health problems in children
No less than 40% of homeless school-age children have mental health problems.
It reduces life expectancy
Being homeless could take 20–30 years off one's life.
Many veterans are homeless
Coupled with the lack of a place to call home, most of these veterans also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (P.T.S.D.) and substance abuse.
Why World Homeless Day Is Important
Everyone deserves a home
Every person deserves a secure and comfortable home. Shelter is a basic human need. World Homeless Day aims at putting a roof over every person's head.
It forces us to consider the awful reality of pervasive homelessness
We are indeed aware that there are homeless people around us, but we struggle to find ways to help them. World Homeless Day brings to our attention this reality and sensitizes us on the various ways in which we can help the community.
It aims to and works toward securing a better future for the affected
Although the crisis of homelessness is far from coming to an end, World Homeless Day encourages us to work for a future where every individual has a home to call their own.
World Homeless Day dates