Everyone has some idea of what homelessness is, but not how people get there or why they can’t get out of it.

Homeless people are lazy. Why don’t they get a job?

As you can see, the loss of a job is one of the most often given reasons sited when a homeless individual is being surveyed. If you work a low-wage job and one unplanned expense happens, you are at risk of being evicted because you haven’t been able to save or plan for emergencies.

Being homeless increases the odds that an individual will have trouble finding employment. Today’s job market requires technology, clean clothing, a good night’s sleep and showers, things which a homeless person does not have access to on a regular basis.

Homeless people spend time every day trying to find their next meal, shower or shelter. Most homeless people experience several barriers to employment such as criminal backgrounds, lack of internet access or lack of transportation.

Most homeless people are employable males.

Women and children make up almost 1/3 of the homeless population in the United States with the fastest growing group being a under 9 years old

Should I give homeless panhandlers money?

Giving money to individuals on the street is a personal choice and a temporary fix that can be necessary. The Path Home follows several successful models that addressed this problem. We are looking for better solutions that create long-lasting change as well as traceable resources. We follow larger cities with successful programs who also give information for a shelter or an actual resource (food, socks, etc). Our teams at United Way of Southwest Louisiana, the Lake Charles Police Department and the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Department hand out rack cards which contain contacts to the resources they need. The best thing we can all do is donate and/or volunteer with organizations that work together and communicate in order to solve our region’s unique homeless problems for the long-term.