By Lori Austin, LCSW
Recently I decided to raise money for a charity I have passion for, Back on My Feet. This organization utilizes my favorite sport of running to motivate members who struggle with homelessness to motivate themselves to move forward. I don’t think too deeply into the actual homeless term. As I begin to fundraise I am asking deeper questions as well as being asked deeper questions about my thoughts about the enormity of this complex issue. I am overwhelmed. It seems easier to just try to feel good about myself in running a marathon and raising money and call it a day.
This is not the case. Not only am I a runner, but a social worker. As well in recent years I have had opportunities to work and travel abroad. I see through a lens now of these experiences also including the perspective as a 45 yr old woman who grew up in a lovely suburban town in PA in a ranch home given all my needs of shelter, food and warmth. You might call me a do-gooder who has never ever had to sleep out in the cold on the street. I am grateful for being born into having a home and I would like to take this time to call upon more of my compassion.
Over the course of the next few weeks I will share a few things from this perspective about those that experience homelessness globally and those who are trying to eradicate and prevent it.
In this introduction, it seems fitting to note that it is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and that it is positioned every year right before the week of Thanksgiving. If we, and I include myself here, are willing to look deeply, we may be challenged by the dichotomy between the haves and the have nots and a nudge to check in with our own compassion.You might call me a do-gooder who has never ever had to sleep out in the cold on the street. Click To Tweet
In this three part series we’ll explore:
- Who are the homeless globally which will be broken down into the several subgroups inclusive of adults, adolescents and other targeted populations -women, LGBT, and mentally ill?
- A few examples of evidence based practices.
- The compassion that some organizations are showing that help eradicate and prevent homelessness.
A few helping organizations showing compassion that I will highlight include:
- Homeless World Cup in Brazil
- Robin Hood Restaurant in Madrid
- Community Solutions Inc.
- The National Alliance to End Homelessness
- Back on My Feet.
These highlights will bring further to light the complexity of this worldly problem that impacts all of us but, particularly, those who are cold, hungry, lonely and without a sense of safety – without a home.
Lori Austin, LCSW, is a 2000 graduate of Boston College with joint Master’s Degrees in Social Work and Pastoral Ministry. Lori has worked in a variety of clinical social work settings primarily with children and families. Most recently, Lori worked as a Military and Family Life Counselor in the United States and has traveled overseas working in Asia and the United Kingdom. She provided brief solution focused counseling to military families and children. In her free time Lori likes to run, drink coffee, laugh and make others laugh and help make the world a better place. She hopes you will consider a donation to Back on My Feet or other effort to eradicate homelessness.