Homelessness in the Developed World/ Thoughts on the Issue Before my Coming Trip to Sydney

Essay by Luke Foster

“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked, and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”  Mother Teresa

I have travelled quite a bit internationally and the common thread in all big cities is homelessness. I have seen this in London, Seoul, New York, Rome, and Barcelona.

“There is a saying in Tibetan that “at the door of the miserable rich man sleeps the contented beggar”. The point of this saying is not that poverty is a virtue, but that happiness does not come with wealth, but from setting limits to one’s desires, and living within those limits with satisfaction.” Dalai Lama

I think overcoming homelessness in the developed world is a major complex problem and I don’t know what the answers are, but I feel if we band together as compassionate societies we can come up with solutions.

“Home was never a dream for homeless people as they used to have their homes. Living in a home was their reality. Now we need to help them to find the lost reality – again.” Munia Khan

I have never been homeless so I can’t imagine how difficult life would be to live in that situation.

I am sure what the answers are to such a complex issue, but I was thinking all day about it after starting this essay this morning in the notes on my iPhone and a few ideas I had are:

  1. More drop-in centres that provide community support and cheap or free food for the homeless or those without a job or mental illness in danger of becoming homeless.
  2. Centres that guide the most vulnerable into employment or ways to make money on their own to assist with their social security payments or food coupons. For example, collecting bottles and cans for recycling is a good little money earner.
  3. Bills to be passed in governments for think tanks to brainstorm this issue and substantial funding to put these solutions in place.