Homelessness is the culmination of every systemic failure that our society has created.
Homelessness is the result of the highest levels of income inequality ever recorded in U.S. history.
It is the result of a broken healthcare system.
It is the result of a broken criminal justice system.
It is the result of a broken foster care system.
Homelessness is the result of too many kids and adults with significant childhood trauma.
It is the result of marginalized communities.
It is the result of generational trauma.
Homelessness is the result of not confronting the everyday realities of our most at-risk community members.
It is the result of failed policies that institutionalize people and perpetuate harm.
It is the result of “othering” people that are considered different.
It is the result of pushing problems out of sight, out of mind.
It is the result of band-aid solutions.
Setting people up for failure by not meeting their needs, and then blaming them when they lose their home is cruel and unethical. Homelessness is on the rise as a public health crisis, both locally and nationally. And yet, too often, conversations about this crisis are presented through the lens of people with homes.
For someone with no place to call home, each day is a matter of survival as they navigate where to sleep, eat, or collect their belongings. The life expectancy for someone facing long-term homelessness is only 50 years of age–25 years lower than someone with a home. Many people are only a tragedy away from losing their home. Tragedies happen every day: losing a job, fleeing abuse, receiving a life-altering diagnosis. When tragedy strikes, frontline workers at the Lawrence Community Shelter help people overcome obstacles to achieve stable housing. Grounded in human rights and social justice, our mission is to advance compassionate solutions for people facing homelessness through advocacy, shelter, and housing. In 2021, LCS sheltered 422 unique individuals and helped 115 people move into stable housing. The faster we help people achieve stability, the more we can expand our impact. However, large-scale problems will require community solutions and community support.