Solutions Center Calls Attention To National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

What would our city look like without Solutions Center?

Solutions Center attempts to answer this question by displaying a dramatic exhibit portraying the homeless in Fond du Lac during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week (Nov. 16 – 24).

The exhibit features 50 life-size silhouettes, which represent the average number of people Solutions Center serves per night. The plight of those without a home can be lonely and difficult. This exhibit helps people realize the difficulties that homeless persons face daily.

Why are people homeless? Homelessness is unique for each person experiencing it. Homelessness is both the cause and effect of other problems, ranging from chronic substance abuse, financial instability caused by unemployment or underemployment, mental illness, domestic abuse, and more. Most often, it is a complex set of circumstances, choices and traumas that lead a person to this point, as the following points illustrate.

Foreclosure. Recently, foreclosures have increased the number of people who experience homelessness.

Poverty. Homelessness and poverty are inextricably linked. Poor people are frequently unable to pay for housing, food, childcare, health care, and education. Difficult choices must be made when limited resources cover only some of these necessities.

Eroding Work Opportunities. Reasons why homelessness persists include stagnant or falling incomes and less secure jobs which offer fewer benefits.

Decline in Public Assistance. The declining value and availability of public assistance is another source of increasing poverty and homelessness. Federal and state cuts have affected those in our communities without other resources.

Domestic Violence. Battered women who live in poverty are often forced to choose between abusive relationships and homelessness.

Mental Illness. Mental illness is becoming a rapid reality in this country and our community as well. It is a significant contributor to homelessness. Serious mental illnesses disrupt people’s ability to carry out essential aspects of daily life, such as self-care and household management. Mental illnesses may also prevent people from forming and maintaining stable relationships or cause people to misinterpret others’ guidance and react irrationally. This often results in pushing away caregivers, family, and friends who may be the force keeping that person from becoming homeless.

Addiction Disorders. The relationship between addiction and homelessness is complex and controversial. While rates of alcohol and drug abuse are disproportionately high among the homeless population, the increase in homelessness over the past two decades cannot be explained by addiction alone. Many people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs never become homeless, but people who are poor and addicted are clearly at increased risk of homelessness.

Solutions Center is committed to shedding light on this very important issue. Local awareness and support is vital to creating a healthy, positive community for everyone.

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