Posts Tagged ‘Poverty’

ImagePhoto by Donna Reeves Summer 2013

My Key West internship is drawing to an end as I finish the final three weeks of work.  Yesterday afternoon I sat at the  food pantry intake desk awaiting the next client.  I looked up to see an elderly lady standing in the lobby. At first it appeared her dress was ripped on the side. As she drew closer it became apparent the dress had a side zipper but was a bit too tight for closure. The Haitian grandma stood at the intake office door and pointed down at her feet. Her face screwed into something like a grimace as she explained to me that she had no shoes. I looked down at her bare feet and at the dress that was too small. I wondered if someone had hurt her or taken her things. We walked back to the clothes distribution area and she began trying on shoes. I looked through the women’s clothes hanging on the racks and showed a few of them to her. She found a  pair of donated shoes and three articles of clothing and left saying, “Thank You Mommy,” and smiling at me on her way out.

Where were her shoes?

Her rich open way reminded me of my Grandmomma and I love her very much.

Working at S.O.S. has given me a close look at extreme poverty. This sweet lady touched my heart. Seeing her standing there at the intake office threshold without her shoes renewed my focus. I want to work harder to help people. The Bible says there will always be poverty, but we can make things better for people. I want to understand and find strong viable solutions. God is watching us and waiting to see what we will do. -Love from Donna



The Right to Shelter and Proven Solutions to the Problem of Homelessness | Coalition for the Homeless.

This is a link to the Coalition for the Homeless Blog. They are addressing the needs of the homeless in New York City. It includes a report recently released by NYC Mayor Bloomberg explaining the 2013 homeless situation in NYC. This article outlines some history of rights of homeless people in the city.

Definition of Homelessness

Definition of Homelessness (Photo credit: homelesshub)

Street Sleeper 2 by David Shankbone

Street Sleeper 2 by David Shankbone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)










In my research I will be investigating many possible causes of homelessness. Some of the people who find themselves homeless say that drug addiction was largely to blame. “Substance abuse is both a cause and a result of homelessness, often arising after people lose their housing…Substance abuse is much more common among homeless people than in the general population…Substance abuse is often a cause of homelessness”(Homeless, 2009).

The Greensboro Voice offers accounts from members of the homeless community. “Reggie Johnson… ‘I was working every day at the Four Seasons Mall…I loved my job until I was introduced to drugs…It became so bad that I could not pay my rent, my car loan or keep my job’” (Gilmore). Another interview with Darryl Bowers offers, “I broke the law by selling drugs because I thought that fast money was a way of life for me” (Gilmore).

An article in the New York Times offers “The major role that drug or alcohol abuse plays in causing homelessness has emerged in recent comments by advocates for the homeless, who estimate that addicts constitute a higher proportion of the homeless than do the mentally ill or other identifiable subgroups” (Kolata).

In further discussions on causes of homelessness, I will investigate the drug abuse contributor.


Gilmore, A. (n.d.). Short takes with Anita: A collection of stories. The Greensboro Voice.

Homeless, N. C. (2009, July). National Coalition for the Homeless. Retrieved March 5, 2013, from Nationa Coalition for thel Homeless:

Kolata, G. (1989, May 30). Drug Addicts Among the Homeless: Case Studies of Some ‘Lost Dreams’. New York Times.

I think that a discussion of the solutions for ending homelessness should include assessing the abilities of the homeless population. Discovering ways to make these people able to sustain themselves will make an impact on their prolonged success. I have begun this portion of my research by looking at homeless art.

Here is a link to Art from the Streets. This organizations provides support for homeless artists. Watch the clip from the award winning documentary Art From the Streets: a feature length documentary.

This links it to a Huffington Post article about a formerly homeless man who supports himself by selling his art.

And EII EscapeIntoLife offers a look at the work of a homeless artist, Herbert Freeman.

These are only a few examples of talent of the homeless. Displaying these is a way of opening my mind and the mind of others to the potential of these people.

This blog is called NYC on the Streets. They offer a report about the increase in homeless people in New York City as a result of Hurricane Sandy. This article suggests a lack of affordable housing as a major cause of homelessness stating a rise in the average rent payment.

It continues by discussing the criminalization of homelessness as a greater expense than the price of housing people.-Donna Reeves

NYC on the Streets

Hurricane Sandy left many of its victims without a home, allowing an opportunity for the media to shed a light on New York City’s current lack of affordable housing and growing homeless population. The National Association of Realtors reported in January of this year that the nation’s average rent has gone up by almost 4% in a single year. New Yorkers are heavily affected by these changes, making it highly unlikely to find an affordable home in a safe community. The homeless population of New York City is rising at a fast pace with shelters housing 43,000 individuals on a single night, the worst case of homelessness since the great depression of the 1930’s. An increase in homeless individuals means a decrease in homes, in this case caused by cut government spending.

“The government rushed to help victims of Hurricane Sandy because they were so clearly marked as victims of…

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