I had a friend who once said to me “I didn’t know stuff like that actually happened.” By “stuff like that,” she was referring to people who were not financially stable, kids who had to couch surf or get food from a local pantry or soup kitchen.
Now, I live in a town just outside of Boston, we are known as the “poor town” by our rival towns like the Lexington’s, Wellesley's, Belmont’s, and Winchester’s of the state...a.k.a. the rich preppy kids who all lived in big single family houses not duplexes. Their towns don’t have projects. My friend mentioned above happens to live on the town border in a lovely single family by the lake, her father works most days but not all and her mother has not worked in years. She and her sister come home 3/7 days to a new piece of clothing on their bed. Their closets are filled with pieces that still have their price tags on.
In my friends charmed world, she has overlooked all of the homeless people holding signs at intersections and sleeping in doorways in Harvard Square, where we have spent many a day wandering.
Sadly, this mindset is one that a majority of Americans have. It is such a misconception that because we reside in a first-world country that there are no problems like those that third-world countries face. Thus, in America, there is no hunger, there is no homelessness, there are no problems.
“564,708 people in the U.S. are homeless.”*
Charleston, SC took a stand to raise awareness for homelessness in their city. The town hall hosted almost 200 plywood cutouts of humans (200+ others were scattered throughout the city.)
The cutouts represented the number of homeless people that were in Charleston at the time, most of them unseen.
This art project is unique because most people and local governments included would find homelessness easier to ignore than address. This is not how it should be. We, just the United States, have enough money to end all of world poverty so we could at least put some of our resources towards helping aid.
I am looking into more ways that we can draw attention to this issue through peaceful projects that get people to think. I also would like to create empathy, maybe people would be more willing to help if they knew how it felt to not have a roof over their heads.
To me, it is a no-brainer, every body deserves shelter, it is a basic necessity.
*"2016's Shocking Homelessness Statistics." Social Solutions. N.p., 09 Jan. 2017. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.