As Congressman Keith Ellison (MN) wrote, “Affordable housing is about more than just rent; it’s about ensuring that we maintain the ladder that makes America a land of opportunity.” It seems the “ladder” he was referring to, keeps being knocked down. Extreme poverty and homelessness are becoming more prevalent each year. After a series of misfortunate events, my family had lost almost all our possessions, starting with our house. Luckily, a family member took us in and gave us the time we needed to get back on our feet. I decided to pay it forward.
I started volunteering at a South Suburban PADS homeless shelter 3 years ago. Knowing I could have easily been there myself, it seemed like a practical way to help. While there, I continuously heard the pleas of, “Don’t make me go back on the street today. I have nowhere to go. I’ll clean. I’ll wash. I’ll do whatever, just please do make me go into the cold.” Like many shelters, the guests have to leave during the day as these places double as churches and such.
Enter my dream. Underway already, is the beginning of a displaced persons rehabilitation community. Here, we will take in able-bodied families and provide them with the resources they need to better their situations. I am finishing up my Bachelors of Science in Industrial /Organizational Psychology to gain more insight into people’s motivation to ensure the highest rate of success in assisting those who need the “ladder” the most.