Human Interest Story Reminds Us that Some of the Over 9,300 People Experiencing Homelessness in NJ Truly Just Need Basic Necessities
A recent human-interest story featured on New Jersey 101.5 reminds us about the human face of homelessness and the risk that individuals experiencing homelessness face living on the street.
Many of us have been approached by individuals experiencing homelessness who tell us that they need money for food.
Writes Megan, “Would you give a homeless person money? There are those who would have no problem doing so, and there are those who think the homeless person will just drink it or buy drugs. Personally, I think you should give whatever you can to a homeless person without fear of what they will do with it.”
And Megan goes on to tell us why, in her opinion, we should consider giving money to individuals who tell us that they need money for food. When she called into NJ 101.5, she shared on the air that she has a family member who “struggles with housing and is sometimes homeless.” She lives in Bradley Beach, New Jersey.
Perhaps that is why, when five years ago, when an individual experiencing homelessness approached her on New Year’s asking for money, she gave him the $5, the only money she had left with her that evening.
“As Megan recalled, “Four years later, I’m walking out of a convenience store and I hear somebody say Miss Miss Miss.” The homeless person from five years ago approached Megan and said “I will never forget your face … because that one night you gave me five dollars. I hadn’t eaten in 3 days, and that five dollars allowed me to get food in my system and have the strength to apply for a job the next day, and I’ve never had to go hungry since then.”
This story certainly dispels the myth that many people experiencing homelessness who panhandle for money may use that money to either buy alcohol or drugs. “Megan hopes that people begin to stop and do something that they wouldn’t usually do, like offer money. As she says, “Because you do never know what’s going to happen with it, but you can’t always assume the negative.”
The news story points out that homelessness increased 9% in 2018. This number comes from NJCounts 2018, the annual point-in-time count of the homeless in New Jersey. Monarch Housing Associates coordinates NJCounts 2018.
The survey found 9,303 men, women and children experiencing homelessness on the evening of January 23, 2018.