A Glance at Homelessness from the East Coast to the West
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If you’ve been a volunteer or have contributed in some way to our mission at Trinity Café, then I think you will find this recent MSN article as interesting as I did. In a few short paragraphs, and with some very poignant images, the author highlights how record-breaking homelessness figures is pushing poverty onto city blocks and into public spaces like never before. Focusing on growing numbers of homeless throughout the state of California and along the west coast, it’s apparent that there are a variety of issues surrounding people’s opportunity to find shelter and affordable housing. For example, Seattle, Washington is currently considered to be the city with the largest increase in realty prices while the scarcity of affordable rental properties is pandemic across most metropolitan areas in the United States.
For me and my colleagues, understanding the face of homelessness and food insecurity is a complex problem that begins with a meal served at one of our tables. For those living in the greater Tampa Bay area, none of us are strangers to the trend of increasing numbers of individuals who resort to panhandling for change or sleeping out in the open near markets and on street corners. However, there does seem to be a silver lining to previous statistics that show that the Tampa-St. Petersburg area has been ranked among the nation’s highest rates of homelessness. A recent article from the Tampa Bay Times reported that homelessness may be down as much as 15% from previous years in Hillsborough County.
The lack of affordable housing is the main cause of homelessness and as housing costs rise, so do the number of those without reliable shelter. The next time you see someone who might be homeless or in need, consider how you might play a role in alleviating their burden and brightening their day. Consider writing and calling your local, state and government officials. Encourage them to support initiatives that will fund both transitional and affordable housing and to support organizations that feed those in need, like Trinity Café.
Although Trinity Café does not have housing resources, we do address the hunger issues that both homeless and food insecure people face. We provide a three-course, hot meal and are always in need of volunteers to contribute their time to help us alleviate hunger in our local community. Issues of homelessness and food insecurity are increasingly pervasive all across our nation and the most productive way to counteract these systemic problems begins right in our back yards. Going into 2018, I hope you might take the time to reflect and consider contributing your time, energy, or making a donation to Trinity Café.