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The Toil of Physical Disabilities and Homelessness

By: Justin Bower

Among the 552,000+ homeless people that live on the streets, about one quarter of them experience some sort of disability that adds to their condition, as of a study from 2018. Not only does anti-homeless architecture seem to contribute to harsh living conditions for those on the streets, people with back problems or spinal issues have it even worse because of their predisposed conditions. Experts say that the most common day job for a homeless person is construction, and that seems to be adding to their physical disability. Others confirm that seven out of ten homeless people live in dangerous or harmful conditions such as, but not limited to anti-homeless architecture. It baffles me that the ADA can only do so much for homeless people with diagnosed disabilities. Anything from cerebral palsy is covered under the Disability Act in some way, and thus even the homeless should have full and easy access to treatment for their cause.

Yet, homelessness among the disabled is all too common. It would seem that the most helpful solution in this focus on homelessness would be to provide better physical living conditions for the disabled. This is not always the case, but it seems that a good bed might be more important than a good job to start. Of course, the process of getting out of homelessness requires both, but a way that the community can help the homeless with disabilities is by providing a place for them to stay and accessible help for them, such as wheelchairs, crutches, and other medical tools that would improve their living situation.

As someone who has a few relatives with severe disabilities such as cerebral palsy, I can attest that their living conditions are difficult enough without the struggle of sleeping under a bridge or on a mis-formed park bench. If you are burdened enough to truly empathize with such people, sleep on the floor one night. No blanket under your back, no pillow to rest your head on. This would still only be a glimpse of what the homeless with certain disabilities experience. If you want to even sympathize, you’ll contemplate this article. Let that drive you to do everything you can to help get the homeless off the streets and in a better living situation, especially those that have physical disabilities.


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