Deborah is homeless in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. At the time of this interview, she has been sleeping outside for three months.
Deborah received a 28 voucher for a homeless shelter. She was to go into housing, but like in most communities, there is never enough housing so the whole system bottlenecks. Deborah is disabled, and apartments wanted more rent than her disability check. The shelter extended Deborah’s stay, but then she was exited back to homelessness.
If Deborah’s story sounds confusing, that’s the social services system. The homeless sector does not make it easy for people to get out of homelessness. It’s a dead-end referral after dead-end referral. The bureaucracy is maddening. Homeless people often don’t have resources like a phone or transportation to navigate the broken system and on top of that, people have to carry all their belonging everywhere they go.
The bottom line is Deborah is disabled and cannot work. As taxpayers, we pay huge money for each homeless person that sleeps outside. Housing saves lives and saves taxpayer money – your money. The broken social services system that works against homeless people like Deborah, is expensive. We have to fix the broken homeless services system and we have to create more affordable housing or we’ll never end homelessness!
Your voice can help end homelessness. If we do not fix the affordable housing crisis, homelessness will continue to get worse. Click here to tweet, email, call, or Facebook your federal and state legislators to tell them ending homelessness and creating more affordable housing is a priority to you.
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About Invisible People
There is a direct correlation between what the general public perceives about homelessness and how it affects policy change. Most people blame homelessness on the person experiencing it instead of the increasing shortage of affordable housing, lack of employment, a living wage or the countless reasons that put a person at risk. This lack of understanding creates a dangerous cycle of misperception that leads to the inability to effectively address the root causes of homelessness.
We imagine a world where everyone has a place to call home. Each day, we work to fight homelessness by giving it a face while educating individuals about the systemic issues that contribute to its existence. Through storytelling, education, news, and activism, we are changing the narrative on homelessness.
This isn’t just talk. Each year, our groundbreaking educational content reaches more than a billion people across the globe. Our real and unfiltered stories of homelessness shatter stereotypes, demand attention and deliver a call-to-action that is being answered by governments, major brands, nonprofit organizations, and everyday citizens just like you.
However, there is more work to be done on the road ahead. Homelessness is undoubtedly one of our biggest societal issues today and will only continue to grow if we don’t take action now.
Invisible People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about homelessness through innovative storytelling, news, and advocacy. Since our launch in 2008, Invisible People has become a pioneer and trusted resource for inspiring action and raising awareness in support of advocacy, policy change and thoughtful dialogue around poverty in North America and the United Kingdom.