During National Salvation Army Week, The Salvation Army in Hillsborough County will highlight the realities of homelessness in our community. Homelessness is commonly perceived as people standing at busy intersections holding signs, or people approaching others outside shopping plazas asking for just enough money to make it to the other side of town. This image of homelessness leads to skepticism about homelessness as a whole. While most people want to help those at busy intersections, we never really know how our help will be received.
While this may be the most public face of homelessness, it only represents a small portion of homeless people. Most people who face homelessness could be your neighbors, coworkers or friends. People living paycheck to paycheck may be one Friday away from homelessness. Our tendency is to overlook victims of homelessness in an attempt to alleviate any fears of it ever happening to us. This perpetuates the negative stigma of homelessness, and prevents communities from finding realistic solutions. To truly combat homelessness, we must first understand the situation.
Events that lead to homelessness are things that could happen to anyone. Layoffs, mental illness, medical bills, broken relationships, and even returning from military deployments can leave people and families without a safe place to call home. Unfortunate events happen to good people, which is why The Salvation Army exists; to help people get back to a place of self-sustainment. The Salvation Army provides capable people with the boost they need to stand on their own.
For the duration of National Salvation Army Week, we will share the stories of people in the Tampa Bay area who have been empowered by The Salvation Army to get back on their feet. Inspired by the love of God, The Salvation Army enables people to reach their full potential without discrimination. The Salvation Army takes pride in “doing the most good”, and meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of as many people as possible. Join us this week to learn more about homelessness and connect with heartwarming stories of people who have overcome great obstacles with the support of The Salvation Army.