The holiday season is over; gifts have been given, cookies have been baked and the kids are back in school. Yet there is still need for giving — giving to the homeless whose needs do not end with the holidays or with the seasons:
Misconception 1: Need Diminished
The holiday season is when donations increase; in fact, Joy Junction usually expects received donations to cover half of the yearly budget. But donations falter for the first half of the year.
Need doesn’t diminish with the change of seasons; our guests need food and shelter whether it’s 40 degrees outside or 90. The desert nights are always cool, and those out on the street need blankets to shield them from the cold and the hard ground.
Misconception 2: Homeless Services Enable
Some people believe that homeless services such as those at Joy Junction and programs aimed at helping those in poverty, such as food stamps, enable individuals to continue to rely on others instead of themselves.
Shelter and food top the list when it comes to the survival needs of humans. Without the services provided by Joy Junction and other programs, many individuals and families would have no way to even survive, much less take steps to reverse their situation.
It is almost impossible to change your situation when you can only worry about food and shelter. Shelters and programs give homeless and poverty-stricken individuals the basics so that they can focus on other needs, such as finding a job to those who are seeking to better their lives.
Misconception 3: The Homeless Could Find Housing and Work if they Wanted To
It’s an unfortunate truth that there are employers and landlords who will shut the door to living and opportunity if they find out that an individual is homeless. Some of the wariness to hire the homeless stem from various (and often untrue) beliefs about the homeless, such as substance abuse problems or mental health issues.
Misconception 4: Those Who are Homeless Want to Be Homeless
It’s true that there are individuals who chose to be homeless for a variety of reasons, a fact highlighted by the recent news coverage of the New York City Police Officer who gave shoes to a man he thought was without shelter.
Yet those who want to be homeless are in the minority. Homelessness is depressing, demoralizing and harsh. Most would much rather have a home to return to and the money to buy their own food than share a homeless shelter.
Homelessness is so difficult for those experience it, and at Joy Junction we strive every day to help those in need by providing the food and shelter that are so vital to giving guests a hand up.
Even though the holidays are over, please consider donating to Joy Junction — every little bit helps.