With the holidays approaching, it is always brought up that we should think about those less fortunate.
In doing advocacy research in Victoria with homeless and those who have very little, I asked them how poverty affects their families and what they think could be done to fix it.
Their statements were far from anything to do with the holidays. They were more concentrated on fixing transportation so they could get to work, bringing awareness to discrimination against people with mental-health issues and wanting easier ways to contact the government.
A father I talked to wanted somewhere safe to meet with his 12-year-old son without having to waste money at a coffee shop, and a young woman can't move out because her disabled mother wouldn't be able to afford to live without her.
Around the holidays, we really have to remember what is truly important, and that is our family, friends and loved ones. Homelessness and poverty are visible issues here in Victoria. Sometimes when we walk down the street looking at the man sitting on the ground or the woman asking for a smoke, we don't realize that they, too, have families. Homelessness and poverty can touch everyone's lives, but instead we ignore them, brushing them off.
I think our society needs to be more aware of the effects of homelessness, not just on the individuals, but their families as well.
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