Take proactive measures to change homelessness


Lucy Sandeen

Tent city grows on Hiawatha, occupied mostly by Native Americans.

Jenny Ries, The Rubicon Editor

The recent deaths at the tent city in Minneapolis have brought more attention to homelessness in Minnesota, causing many Minnesotans to ask themselves what they can do to address an enduring problem that often seems beyond their control. It is important for SPA students to join this movement. In terms of working to minimize homelessness, there are two options: taking reactive measures and taking proactive measures.

Most people tend to be drawn toward reactive measures, such as volunteering at soup kitchens or homeless shelters. For those interested in helping reduce homelessness in this way, looking into volunteering or donating money to organizations such as Loaves and Fishes or Neighborhood House is a good course of action.

While these actions are incredibly important and beneficial, they ultimately do not build towards a world with less homelessness, instead working to improve the quality of life among people who are currently homeless.

The other option, which is significantly more difficult, is to take proactive measures, in an effort to reduce the number of homeless people in the long term. According to a 2015 study on homelessness in Minnesota, some of the main causes of homelessness here are racial bias in housing, chronic health problems or mental illness, domestic abuse, job loss leading to a loss of housing, and the fact that Minnesota does not have a sufficient amount of affordable housing to accommodate all of the people who need it. These problems cannot be solved in an afternoon. Too often, young people who do not have to worry about homelessness in their daily lives simply acknowledge that these are complicated issues and write them off as too much for high schoolers to fix. But if this continues to occur, how will solutions ever be found?

This is not to say that it is up to them to solve each of these issues single-handedly, but rather that students shouldn’t ignore them. It is important for young people to examine their own biases and prejudice, as well as that of the people around them. Doing so is the only thing that will allow society to evolve, reducing homelessness in the long run.