Affordable Housing Series: Who It Impacts
“To me, homeless people are like superheroes, the things we have to endure, aren’t just for everyday people. I forget what it’s like to sleep on a bed. You can’t remember what it’s like to walk up to your faucet and just have a cup of water.”
Hendricks Reyes, age 49, has been homeless for nearly 8 years. Originally from New York, Hendricks came down to Florida two years ago after his dad passed away from cancer.
Hendricks heard about The Sharing Center around a year and a half ago.“You know at The Sharing Center, they care. If I didn’t show up here for a couple of days, they’d call me to check-in. And that feels good.”
Homelessness Has No Face
The myth that homelessness is a choice must be dismantled in order to continue to fight for those that are in need of affordable housing. According to a Hud Exchange report, on any given night in the US, about 550,000 people experience homelessness– which is equivalent to the entire population of the state of Wyoming.
Hendricks Reyes states, “A lot of people just don’t know. It’s like you have the plague if you’re homeless. They don’t open the conversation. We’re real people, just like me and you, we just don’t have a place to go. You get to go home at 5 o’clock, and you’ll have somewhere to be. You’ll get to go home and love your family. I’d give anything to be in your shoes.”
Breaking the Stigma
“Not all of us are on drugs. The majority aren’t. We just don’t have a place to go. That’s the stigma that needs to break.” says Hendrick Reyes.
Homeless Hub states it perfectly, “Certainly, the nearly 50 percent of homeless people who are women and children don’t choose homelessness over being housed.
Further, the 25 percent to 40 percent of homeless people who are reportedly veterans would presumably prefer to re-establish the lives that they had before their military service rather than choose to become homeless.
Finally, we know that 35 percent to 45 percent of all homeless people suffer from some kind of mental illness. If some homeless people are mentally ill, do they really have the mental capacity and ability to choose being housed over being homeless?”
Reaching Our Neighbors In Need
Every day, we serve our community’s most vulnerable and work alongside them to reach sustainability. Homelessness, or even being at risk of homelessness is multi-faceted, there are so many factors that lead someone down this path. We can work together to bridge the gap from homelessness to self-sufficient stability.