Published: Apr 17, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Apr 17, 2012 07:13 PM
A homeless-free future
Have you ever wondered what it is like to be homeless? Most people in Chapel Hill dont have to think about it, but others do every day of their lives. Homelessness is a serious problem, and the homeless population is growing every day. According to the N.C. Coalition to End Homelessness, this year there are 110 homeless people in Chapel Hill. The rise of homelessness is caused by the recession. Many people have lost their jobs and their homes. Some who had no family and no one to turn to have been forced to live on the streets, begging to eat and survive. As an idealistic high school student I demand a future where everyone in Chapel Hill has a home. Every time I walk down Franklin Street I see a new beggar or panhandler, which makes my heart break. I imagine losing my job and my home, encountering the same daily obstacles homeless people go through, and struggling to eat every night. We are not doing enough for the men and women in our community that do not have a home. We need to stick our necks out a little farther to help. This is a college town that does not have as bad of a recession as other cities in North Carolina. Chapel Hill should have fewer homeless people because more of our residents have the ability and the money to reach out to others. Our society should come together as one to donate canned foods and clothing to the homeless shelters in our area.For the people who are eligible to stay in Chapel Hills shelters, they have a place to lay their heads and receive a good, hot meal every night. This lodging can only accommodate so many people each night. In addition there are many rules and regulations that men must follow to sleep at the mens shelter. For homeless people with mental health issues it is hard for them to follow the shelters guidelines. I recently interviewed a couple of college students and asked them how we can change our community so there arent as many homeless people. They said there should be a graduation program almost like college but for the homeless. This program would have several steps leading up to graduation and finding a job. There is a program just like this in the works for the IFC Community House.I asked a homeless person on Franklin Street a couple of questions that relate to the situation. I really like his idea: A town or community where no one is hungry or homeless. No one deserves that life. Everyone has a home and a good job, and they dont have to worry about losing their jobs or homes. The town would be just like Chapel Hill, but no one would have anything to be mad or worried about. The people in this town would have a reason to look forward to waking up every morning with a smile on their faces. By starting in our community we can make this vision come true by donating clothing and canned foods to is the IFC, Orange Congregations in Mission, the Shepherds House of Durham, and the womens and mens shelters of Chapel Hill. My experience two weeks ago collecting cans for my civics class made a deep impression on me. When we began our project no one in my group wanted to help me organize the food drive. I sat and collected cans for five days during my lunch and collected $40 worth of cans. All the cans I collected went to the IFC to donate to the shelters in our area. When you have a good cause, you only need one person to make an impact. In addition when you do good deeds for others, it makes you feel good down inside in your heart. Thats why I want others to donate food or clothing to the homeless so that they can experience the feeling I had when I organized the food drive. Sometimes in life you need a second chance. Give others a chance by assisting the homeless.
Karron Armstrong is a participant in the Blue Ribbon Youth Leadership Institute. He is in the 10 grade at Chapel Hill High School.