Homelessness is not an individualistic experience. It is one that is felt in the community as a whole. To solve this issue we have to start asking ourselves how we can become more involved and supportive of those facing housing insecurities. Placing importance on community care creates an open dialogue between people facing homelessness and the communities around them, allowing everyone to actively participate in finding solutions and resources to this complex issue.
There is a clear disconnection between unhoused individuals and the community in which they reside. This disconnect is incredibly common and happens for numerous reasons. Individuals experiencing homelessness are already facing feelings of intense stress and sadness due to the heavy impact of housing insecurity. By adding on feelings of being completely cast out by the communities they used to belong to, this can worsen the feelings they have mentally but also about the overall situation of being homeless. By just acknowledging someone who is facing housing insecurity, letting them know that they are seen and still valued members of the community, we open up a path for change and connection.
Focusing on community care is critical for those experiencing homelessness. Individuals facing housing insecurity are often without close-knit support systems and that is where communities can come in to provide it. The first step to community care is for communities to come together, connecting through a shared want for change. When people become involved in a shared cause, especially on a small scale, a real change can be made. There are many levels of community care from creating support groups or running food drives to getting involved in local politics or nonprofits to working on a higher level of support for people in need.
There are systemic issues within our communities that keep cycles of social and economic inequalities alive which leads to issues like homelessness. In order for community care to work, we have to lift the veil on these cycles and face them head-on to make real change.
Another thing that is important within community care is learning how to communicate with those facing housing insecurity. Bridging the gap between the unhoused and housed is incredibly important to the survival of true change. By understanding the issues unhoused people face and the reasons behind them, members of our communities can better understand the complexity of homelessness within our communities. It also helps us better understand the individuals themselves experiencing homelessness, allowing us to humanize and empathize with them. In the end, this will make us better advocates and a stronger support system for people in need.
Coming together as a community is one of the most effective ways to bring about change. Due to the close proximity to these issues and the people facing them, housed individuals can better understand and empathize which allows for more stable progress towards ending homelessness within communities. Community care is about using the tools that individual privilege has allowed us to carry to build solutions for the vast amount of issues that our communities face. When people come together and allow themselves to be open and vulnerable with one another, everyone can better understand the people around them and how to make changes within our communities for the better.