Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Participate in Homeless Awareness Month

Homelessness is an important issue that needs to be addressed. Approximately 38 million people in our nation, 13.9 million of them children, live below the poverty line. As a result, homelessness is on the rise just about everywhere in the country. On average 3.5 MILLION AMERICANS including 1.35 MILLION CHILDREN experience homelessness in a given year. Approximately 800,000 individuals experience homelessness each night across the country, with about 12,000 in Ohio and 6,000 in Kentucky. Bringing attention to the plight of the homeless fosters a greater understanding and creates solidarity. 

One way that schools and organizations can participate in Homeless Awareness Month is by hosting a Shantytown.

The City-Wide Shantytown project began several years ago in an effort to bring attention to hunger & homelessness issues in our community.  For years, many public and private high schools had hosted individual Shantytown events throughout the school year.  In 2008, Andy Freeze (Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless) and Steve Elliott (Mayerson Foundation Service-Learning Program) thought perhaps they could increase the numbers of schools by collaborating on one common weekend or week. Through student meetings, sharing of resources, use of GCCH’s Speakers Bureau and agency connections we have over thirty high schools and colleges in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky raising awareness of the struggles facing our homeless neighbors. GCCH has expanded Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week into an entire month to increase its presence in the Greater Cincinnati Area and to give different schools and organizations many opportunities to participate. 

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