Aug 07, 2022 News
By Nigel Williams
Kaieteur News – On any given day you take to the streets, you are sure to encounter a homeless person – a reality that becomes starker from the moment you enter Georgetown.
While the capital city may be most affected by the issue, the matter is one of national concern. The homeless persons are often also regarded an eyesore to tourists, even businesses, but we have a duty as citizens to help the less fortunate, because it is the right thing to do.
Very often, we associate homelessness with mental illness or drug addiction or even extreme poverty, but the reality is there are many people on the streets who do not fit into any of these categories.
Not all the poor, who have taken up residence on the neglected stands at D’Urban Park or on the parapets in front city stores are of this class. God-fearing, ambitious, well educated men and women have been brought to the depths of poverty or homelessness by illness or misfortune, often through the dishonest scheming of those who live by preying upon their fellow men.
Many who are upright and well-meaning become poor through lack of industrial training. Through ignorance they are unfitted to wrestle with the difficulties of life. Drifting into the cities, they are often unable to find employment. Surrounded by the sights and sounds of vice, they are subjected to terrible temptation. Herded and often classed with the vicious and degraded, it is only by a superhuman struggle, a more than finite power, that they can be preserved from sinking to the same depths. Many hold fast their integrity, choosing to suffer rather than to get caught up in anti-social behaviours. This class especially demands help, sympathy, and encouragement.
A 2012, Inter American Development Bank study revealed that Latin America and the Caribbean face large and growing housing deficit, emphasising that countries need to improve land regulation, boost financing and mobilise private resources to increase the supply of adequate and affordable housing
The study also stated that the problem can only be addressed if governments in the region foster greater private sector investment to increase the supply of adequate and affordable housing, noting that currently, one in three families in Latin America and the Caribbean, or 59 million people, live in dwellings that are either unsuitable for habitation or are built with poor materials and lack basic infrastructure services. As many as two million out of the three million households that spring up annually in Latin American cities are forced to settle in informal housing, such as slums, because of insufficient supply of adequate and affordable dwellings.
I therefore posit that if the poor and destitute now crowding our city streets could find homes upon the land, they might not only earn a livelihood, but find health and happiness now unknown to them. Hard work, simple fare, close economy, often hardship and privation, would be their lot.
The government often boasts of its housing drive, but giving out house lots is just one component of solving the huge problem of homelessness.
There are multitudes of poor families for whom no better grant could be given than to assist them in settling on the land bequeathed to them by God in learning how to make it yield them a livelihood.
The need for such help and instruction is not confined to the homeless, even among those who can find shelter, with all the possibilities for a better life, multitudes of the poor are in great need. Whole communities are devoid of education and opportunities in some parts of this country, families live in shacks with scant furniture and clothing, without tools, without books, destitute both of comforts and conveniences and of means of culture.
And so as we are confronted with this problem daily, it will do us well to reach out to the less fortunate rather than walk past them and ignore their plight.
There are lots of other ways to help homeless people. Donating food and clothing to homeless shelters is a great way to start. You could also volunteer your time with such an organisation. Educate yourself and others about homelessness and share facts about homelessness with others. Use letters to your local newspaper, blog posts, and social media to spread the word about how homelessness is a problem and what others can do to help.
Let us as brothers and sisters of this great nation, do more for our neighbours and we would be playing our part in helping to alleviate the suffering of the homelessness.
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