Getting to the root cause(s)

Since 2010, the tenth day of October each year has been marked as World Homeless Action Day. The concept evolved through online discussions between people from various parts of the world. Homelessness is a problem that is common to all the continents. It tends to stem from poverty and lack of infrastructure, as well as influential factors such as gender, class, race etc. A need was felt to draw attention to the cause, and activists decided that this day would be used every year to do so.

The purpose of World Homeless Action Day is to address the needs of homeless people at a local level, and to bring communities together through awareness, education and support. It is important for a community to respond to the homelessness that might prevail within it. In many communities, homeless individuals must suffer not only due to poverty but also due to the prejudice they face from privileged classes. World Homeless Action Day seeks to eradicate these boundaries and bring people together to solve the issue.

Some of the activities that take place on this date are as follows:

Activists or ordinary citizens contact service providers like NGOs, religious institutions and schools to create guest speaking opportunities or hold other kinds of fund raisers, so that the homeless individuals in the area may be benefited.

Politicians are urged to channel more funds towards the welfare of homeless individuals and to acknowledge the progress made by social workers on this issue so that more people join the cause.

Interacting with local homeless families to find out their needs, concerns and problems, and then coming together as a community to try to solve these issues. A local tree service in Cherry Hill managed to pull together a great group of employees and customers to help out in the 2014 gathering and will try to do the same this coming fall.

Having individuals who were previously homeless to speak about their journeys so that people are made aware and so that those who are currently homeless may be given some hope.

Health checkups organised for homeless individuals, since they get little or no access to beneficial healthcare. On this day, they may be provided with free healthcare, treatment and medication.

Spreading awareness about problems such as drug abuse or sexual violence suffered by the homeless

Formation of groups and advisory boards that delve deep into the issue to find the exact reasons behind this problem, and to come up with effective and feasible solutions to this issue and related issues.

Much more needs to be done to check this problem. It seems as if the world is becoming more and more insensitive, with spikes being installed on roads to prevent the homeless from taking refuge under bridges, even in cities such as London. The stage and exposure that an ‘international day’ provides can bring these issues to the limelight. In many countries, homelessness is so common that citizens tend to be blind to the suffering of these individuals and look at the condition as a fact of life. World Homeless Action Day emphasises on ‘action’, so that we shake off our slumber and do our part to help those who do not even have the very basic comfort of a roof over their heads.

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