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A Teenager’s Opinion

The value of a teenager’s opinion is questioned almost daily. Oftentimes, it’s value matters most when it aligns with the opinions of the majority, or the person in power. However, if said opinion goes against the major opinion, it’s often criticized alongside a teenager's lack of “a true understanding of how the world works” and “ignorance.” It’s reactions like this that lead to the overall belittling of a teenager, and increases the stigma that a teenager’s opinion is nothing more than clay ready to be remolded and fixed. Something a lot of people have a hard time grasping is that the thoughts of minors are much more complex than having fun, sleeping, and eating. They often think that, unt

Feeding the Hungry: Why Volunteering is Crucial

Written By Preston Saunders Food insecurity is one of the foremost struggles of homeless and impoverished populations. Despite the increase in physical locations of food pantries, soup kitchens, and other distribution centers, it is still difficult to provide full daily meals for the homeless due to lack of food availability. This, coupled with the issues of insufficient nutrition and lack of manpower because of inability to compensate workers, creates a large demand for volunteers that is very rarely met. Social institutions are the main provider of food for homeless individuals in the United States. However, meals provided by food kitchens are typically small and low in nutritional value.

Feminine Hygiene in Homeless Communities

We all know what “the time of the month” is, and most people have easy access to hygiene products that let that time pass by easily. It’s easy for us to walk into the nearest CVS and get a few boxes of pads, and a bit of pain medication for issues like cramps. If days get too overwhelming, we have the privilege of staying home and waiting for discomfort to subside, and we can make ourselves comfortable as we do so. We often take our easy access to feminine hygiene products for granted, but what do people that can’t afford these products do? More specifically, what do homeless people do when it comes to their period? To many homeless people, feminine hygiene products become a luxury as many a

Domestic Violence/Abuse and Homelessness

Andrew Stahl On one night in 2015, 31,500 people (adults and children) fleeing domestic abuse sought shelter in a domestic violence emergency center; 12,197 of those requests were denied due to lack of funding, space, or staffing. 63% of those unmet requests were for housing. They were thus faced with a choice many victims of domestic violence encounter: return to the abusive home, or be homeless for an uncertain amount of time, often with their children. The connection between domestic abuse and homelessness is well-documented by advocates and researchers. Over 80% of homeless mothers with children have experienced domestic abuse at some point, and between 22 and 57% of all homeless women r

Obsessed: How OCD Can Make You Chase Friendships

By: Katherine Brown Recently, I listened to a very thought-provoking podcast. The topic of the podcast was reaching out to people vs. chasing people. The speaker recounted his experiences as a church leader, struggling to learn the difference between healthily reaching out to attendees, or recklessly chasing them down with no real purpose. As I listened, I related to many of the things he said. Honestly, we’ve probably all chased a friendship at one point in our lives. Perhaps you reached out to an acquaintance to hang out, and they just weren’t receptive to you. Or, maybe you tried to uphold an old friendship that had clearly become one-sided. These occurrences are probably quite common amo

The Problem with Hostile Design

Hostile design, also known as defensive architecture, is an urban-design strategy that deters and restricts people from ‘abusing’ certain public spaces. If you’ve been in an American city-scape, you’ve probably come across something akin to this. Examples would include park benches with awkward handles in the middle of them that make laying down uncomfortable and bolts and sharp edges attached to steps of a building also to discourage sleeping and loitering. In the case of hostile design, architects work to deter homeless people from loitering and sleeping in public places. Imagine being homeless, and every night, you sleep on a bench in a park. You’re unable to gain access to a shelter and,

Creative While Quarantined: Using Art to Uplift Humanity

By: Ava Framm Art has always been utilized as a form of expression, whether that be an escape from reality, or a release of emotion. But during these unprecedented times, people are finding different creative outlets to keep them occupied while maintaining healthy practices. For some, this including making homemade bread, painting, singing, or handmaking masks. For artists who are normally working on commissions, all of their deadlines have been put on hold. What this leaves room for, however, is public art. In an interview with Northeastern, local artist Silvia Lopez Chavez stated that the beautiful part about public art (besides the art itself) is that “It has this capacity to bring joy,

Homelessness and Felons: A Layered Issue

By Preston Saunders Eight percent of the US population are convicted felons, nearly 27 million people, with African American men making up 33% of that total. However, not all of them are guilty, and of those that are, many find that the title of felon is a far worse punishment than they deserve for their crime. Not only does a felony limit job opportunities and lead to poverty or homelessness, but a felony conviction is a major tool of disenfranchisement and disproportionately destroys the livelihood of minorities in America. With around 2 million African Americans currently disenfranchised, as well as 13% of African American men excluded from voting due to felony convictions, the judicial p

Few Healthcare Resources for Poor People

By Karah Lindsey Poor people do not often have a lot of resources, financial or otherwise. Combine that with healthcare providers that are often a long car or bus ride away and the result is poor people dying 10-15 years earlier than their counterparts that do not live below the poverty line. Imagine you live in Imperial, California, which is in a county with a 23.8% poverty rate. You make less than $20,000 a year, and suddenly, one day you wake up with a massive headache and chills. Luckily, it’s your day off of work so you have time to visit a doctor. You’re very thankful because if you were sick on a work day, you would have to make the decision between working while ill or sacrificing in

The Homeless and the Census

by Andrew Stahl With the 2020 census upon us, taking a look at the track record of the census for counting the homeless, and examining this year’s plan. First, however: why is the census important for the homeless population? It is easy to see it as a low-priority issue when basic needs such as food and housing are consistently failing to be met, but an accurate census count is crucial for many of the problems the homeless face. Census data on the homeless population is used in policy decisions regarding the homeless, such as funding for many programs providing basic needs. If accurate data is not provided, these programs risk being underfunded or misguided, and therefore ineffectual. For ex

One Hidden Effect of COVID-19 on Homeless: Nowhere to Use the Bathroom

by Andrew Stahl On Skid Row, home to an estimated 8,500 homeless, city officials installed a mere 6 hand washing stations following the closure of public bathrooms due to coronavirus fears. Homeless advocates reported hours-long waits. In Washington, D.C., only 9 portable restrooms have been installed in homeless encampments; city officials feared adding them would legitimize the illegal encampments, and worsen the spread of COVID. In Sacramento, 51 portable restrooms have been installed for the city’s 5,570 homeless, but hours have been limited to dawn to dusk. Many homeless have complained that there is nowhere to go at night and early morning. Since 9/11, Reuters reported, the number of p

Mental Illness in Homeless Populations

It’s obvious that homelessness is a difficult part of someone’s life. It’s a point in someone’s life full of uncertainty and turmoil. The issues of homelessness are only increased if someone enters homelessness without a support system of any kind, whether it be financial, mental, or otherwise. I’ve stated in my previous articles that issues like this are why many homeless peoples resort to drugs and alcohol to numb issues they have in their daily life. It also may be an explanation for why mental illness rates in homeless populations are so high. “About a quarter to a third of the homeless have a serious mental illness — usually schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression — and th

College Bullying: The Wrath of Mean Girls in College

By: Katherine Brown *Names have been changed Think you’ve escaped the wrath of mean girls once you graduate high school? Think again. If you think mean girls disappear in college, you’re dead wrong. Bullying can and does happen in college. A report finds that, “15% of college students report being bullied” (Dimmer, 2016, p.1). I was one of those students. I was bullied during my freshman year of college. When I first entered college, I was shy, socially awkward, and a bit insecure with my new environment. This made me an easy target for bullies. In fact, one article notes that, “Bullies often focus on those who are different in some way. For example, targets of bullies might dress differentl

Join the Fight against Hunger

Written By Ashley Stalnecker It’s not easy staying home or cancelling vacations but there’s other ways to stay engaged with your local community or the broader community. For example, there’s a long list of organizations working to help feed the homeless that you might be able to donate or volunteer with. The Feeding America Network has 200 food banks as well as 60,000 food pantries and meal programs across the United States to support the homeless. It’s the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization that strives to use surplus food to fight food insecurity rather than create food waste. By donating to the Feeding America Network monthly, you sign yourself on to receive information

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