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Post Holiday Call to Action - Remember The Homeless

As I coped with Ohio's recent inclement weather, It was hard not to be reminded of an article I came across a while back that described the increasing rates of homeless individuals and families in Columbus., I wondered how these people, having been forced to trade the comfort of their homes for a place on the streets might be dealing with the frigid temperatures. I wondered how painful it must be for those who are parents to have to be confronted with this devastating reality.

While this is a major issue that has existed in our country for many years; We have to consider that the current economic crisis our nation faces has ultimately been a contributing factor to the increase of homelessness in America. It is an issue that has affected everyone one way or another. According to a study conducted in 2007 by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty approximately three and a half million people, are likely to experience homelessness in a given year. Since this study was based on a national survey of service providers - and many homeless people choose not to use service providers - , the actual number of people experiencing homelessness is likely higher what the study found.

What is even more troubling is that1.3 million of those homeless individuals are children. Needless to day homelessness harms children's health, interferes with development and prevents kids from performing well in school. This is a matter that should concern us all. It is amazing to see the amount of generosity that is displayed by the community during times like the holiday season. We're encouraged by the sensitivity and concern of people who rally to support those less fortunate. However now that we find ourselves well into a new year for many, those rallying calls quickly dissipate.

As we heed to the national call to action, transmitted by our nation's leader, we must consider the seriousness of becoming involved. We can serve as advocates making sure these issues become a high priority on the national agenda. We can become actively involved year round at our local food pantries, homeless shelters and church communities which help the homeless. We must be concerned. We cannot sit back and allow the adults and children affected by this epidemic to be ignored by their own communities.