Living Under the Stars
Homeless in the Twin Cities
Living with a roof over my head has struck me as being a privilege that has just always been there. I do not have any real interpretation of what being homeless might actually persist of. I could imagine it contains a lot of stress along with loneliness and a large amount of hope. Being homeless would not only be a way of suffering but living in the twin cities without a home would amplify the effect dramatically. The winter in the Twin Cities does not go easy on those without a shelter. I have never experienced this feeling other than a church activity I was apart of back in high school. With my church we first were not allowed to eat on the whole trip. We then went to a homeless shelter in Minneapolis and served food to the homeless. The last part of the adventure was to spend the night in a cardboard box in the church parking lot. I learned a lot on this weekend adventure. Although I only touched what a real homeless person might feel, I still wished I had a meal and a nice bed to sleep in. I always took these things for granted until this experience.
Homelessness is something that is a serious issue in this nation. Since I have been born I have heard news about progress being made on helping the homeless. A lady named Mary Jo Copeland, whom I have had the honor to meet, helped fund and build several homeless shelters throughout the twin cities. I volunteered to help serve dinner at one of her shelters. It was a good experience because I learned a lot about the personalities of the homeless people. The typical stereotype of a homeless person is someone who spends all their money on booze. Well this may be the case for a very small percentage but the majority has more logical reasons for not having a home.
The facts on homelessness are quite startling. On any given night in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area there are around 8500 people sleeping without a shelter. Thirty years ago a person could make enough money in a week to afford a monthly rent at some sort of housing. Today it requires a wage of almost thirteen dollars an hour to afford a 600 dollar monthly appartment lease. The gap between minimum wage and the amount needed to afford a place to live is continuing to grow causing a larger homeless population. The only way we can fix this problem is to continue to volunteer and help with the communities in which we live.