Today’s guest post is from Catie Keeler.
Most of us will never know what it means to be homeless. To lose everything you own and to have no sense of what the future holds. To live every day in desperation and terror of sinking further.
Most of us assure ourselves that we will never face such circumstances so long as we work hard and make good decisions for ourselves. Yet many people who made the same assumptions found themselves suddenly out of options after losing a job, or suffering a serious injury, or getting a divorce, or any number of other circumstances.
Many programs are available to help the homeless, yet the ones that make the most impact for many are the ones that remove the very status of “homeless” with a singular act: These are the programs that provide new homes for the homeless.
Programs such as Habitat for Humanity and others provide housing for homeless people to give them a fresh start in life. This one act can make all the difference for these people, inspiring positive change in a number of ways.
Providing a Foundation
Think of your own home: What feelings does it bring to mind? You might think of it as your safe place. It is the place you return every night, the place where you can be yourself, the place where you can create a life. Now think about how you would feel if you didn’t have that place in your life. You might feel adrift. Lost. Unsure of yourself. Insecure about your future.
A house provides a person who was homeless a safe place — a foundation for building a life. No longer does that person have to worry about where he or she will sleep that night, whether it will be a safe place, whether it will be protected from the elements, and whether they will have to endure that worry night after night.
Instilling a Sense of Ownership
Homeless people have had to face one disappointment after another. Over time, those disappointments can feel like personal failures — like a reflection of personal worth. No matter what may have cause that person’s homelessness — even if they were uncontrollable circumstances — that person will feel responsible.
Providing a homeless person a home gives him or her a sense of ownership, which fosters confidence and pride. Those feelings help to cut off feelings of defeat and despair, helping that person to heal.
A Real Start for a Job Search
Many people cruelly assume that the homeless don’t want to work and that’s why they are homeless. Yet many homeless people wind up that way through circumstances beyond their control. Then when they are homeless, the odds are stacked even higher against them because they don’t have the things they need to conduct a proper job search — like clean clothes and an address and phone number at which to be contacted.
Providing a home to a homeless person gives him or her the chance to really start the job search again. They have an address to put on their resume. They have a place to install a phone to reach out to potential employers. They have a real chance to be taken seriously as a professional and to expand their opportunities.
One of the most profound ways programs that provide housing to the homeless help to transform these people’s lives is by restoring a sense of pride. These people can start to feel “normal” again — to have a shared experience with those in their community. They don’t have to feel like outcasts and rejects.
Programs that provide housing to the homeless also show them that other people care, and that helps them maintain a sense of hope and optimism. It also inspires a sense of philanthropy, encouraging those who have received help to reach out to others and help, as well.
The next time you consider what volunteer activities you’d like to be involved in, consider volunteering for a program such as Habitat for Humanity or another that provides housing for the homeless. You will be changing a life for the better, and your actions will have immediate and profound results.
Catie Keeler is the primary researcher and writer for mortgagerates.info. Her most recent accomplishments include graduating from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a degree in business and communications. Her current focus for the site involves mortgage insurance rates and mortgage rates california.