Let’s Get Started

Posted: February 17, 2013 in Donna Reeves' Research and Insights on Homelessness

Children sleeping in Mulberry Street (1890) ArtChildren sleeping in Mulberry Street (1890) Art

I am a student at Berea College and the first parts of this blog journal discovery will be part of my English 380, Professional Writing for the Web class. In Phase 1 of this assignment I will begin to explore the causes of homelessness and perceptions of why people are homeless. This phase will take place in Berea, KY. I will attempt to interview homeless people in Berea and ask them to complete a survey.

I will also be working on an idea for the Appalachian Ideas Contest hosted by Berea College in April that will address the homeless issue in Berea, KY. During this process, I hope to speak with city officials and organizations in the area to help understand how homelessness is effecting Berea, KY.

In the summer semester, I will complete an internship with the St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Foundation in Key West, FL, helping the homeless. I will interview homeless people and directors of several homeless outreach facilities in Key West and volunteer in my free time at the St. Mary’s soup kitchen. This blog will become a weekly journal during the internship.

Findings of the study will be posted here at the end of the internship. I will continue the blog after my work is finished as a student on these projects, volunteering and offering other insights.

Let’s get started. “One of every 50 American children experiences homelessness, according to a new report that says most states have inadequate plans to address the worsening and often-overlooked problem” (Today, 2009). According to an article in the American Journal of Public Health, “ Approximately 2 million Americans experience homelessness each year.”(Park, 2011). How many people are truly 2 paychecks away from homelessness? Is it likely that you or someone you know will suddenly become homeless? How do homeless people make their way to the street?

In the first phase of my study I will examine the causes of homelessness and explore how people perceive homelessness and its causes.

I will attempt to answer these questions:

What is the public perception of how people become homeless?
 Are people homeless because of lack of jobs?
 Do you think people are homeless mostly because of mental illness?
 Do you think homeless people are mostly substance abusers?
 Do you believe most homeless people could help themselves out of their situation?
 Do you think there are a large number of women who are homeless because they were abused?
 Do you think people are homeless because of their social standing?
 Are most people homeless because of the lack of affordable housing?

Here is the link if you would like to take part in the study: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TPXRWT3

 What role does substance abuse play?
 Is age a contributing factor?
 What is the incidence of battered women suddenly becoming homeless?
 How do long term incarceration and homelessness relate?
 How does mental illness contribute to homelessness?

Today, U. (2009, March 10). 1 in 50 Children Endure Homelessness. Retrieved Febuary 17, 2013, from USA Today: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-03-10-homeless_N.htm?csp=34

Park, J. F. (2011). Phisical and Mental Health, Cognitive Development, and Health Care Use by HOusing Status of Low- Income Young Children in 20 American Cities: A Prospective Cohort Study. American Journal of Public Health, 1.


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