The Homeless in Kern County


Grace Wilkes, Writer

There are many things homeless people struggle with on a daily basis, whether it be food, shelter, drug consumption, or an illness. When people think of the homeless, we think of people who don’t try and have nothing, when in reality, some of them try, but they still have no luck. Most of the time, homelessness is caused by the lack of affordable housing; this is believed to be one of the biggest culprits in driving up shelter numbers and pushing people onto the streets.
Most people don’t realize that there are four different types of homelessness. The first type is Chronic Homelessness; they are the most well-known type of homeless and are usually older. The definition of Chronic homelessness is when you are homeless for over a year. There is also usually something preventing them from fighting their way out of it, whether physical disabilities, mental illness, or addiction. The second type is Episodic Homelessness; this is when a person has experienced three episodes in the same year where they became homeless. When it has been four episodes, they are classified as chronically homeless. Usually, this happened due to addiction or health issues. The third type is Transitional Homelessness; this is a much more common type and occurs typically when someone is going through a significant life crisis/change or catastrophic event. This will also happen when someone loses their job unexpectedly; they may face this when looking for a new job. The last type is Hidden Homelessness; they often go unreported. Hidden homeless are usually couch surfing and don’t have the means to permanent housing. These homeless never access homeless support resources; therefore, they are never included in the national statistics.
The homeless have many needs, but the top six needs are socks, personal hygiene items, food, pet food (if they have a pet), transportation passes or gift cards, and especially in the fall/ winter time rain gear and jackets. There are always ways you can help the homeless. You can either volunteer at the homeless shelters, donate food and clothes, or show them the same respect you show everybody else. Many people often forget that the homeless are people as well and deserve to be treated with kindness.