Each November, homeless awareness month brings attention to the heart-breaking prevalence of housing and food insecurity in our communities. On any given night, more than 7,500 people in Nevada will not have a safe, secure, or permanent place to sleep, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Of those individuals, almost 40% are teens and young adults.
Homeless Awareness Month: How to Take Action All Year Long
To bring attention to the estimated 1.4 million children experiencing homelessness across the country, in 2021, the U.S. Senate designated November as Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month. It’s no accident that this month, known for turkey and time together, is also Homelessness Awareness Month, and when Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week takes place. Each year, these events educate participants on the interconnected nature of hunger and homelessness, inspiring them to work together to solve these pervasive problems.
We can’t solve the problem of homelessness without first understanding its complexity, developing empathy for those experiencing homelessness, and acknowledging that there is no simple answer.
Homeless Awareness Month: Get the Facts
Homelessness has many causes, and the population experiencing it is very real and diverse. They are families with small children, veterans, and individuals. Problems like unemployment, serious illness, the end of a relationship, financial difficulties, and family strife can leave people temporarily homeless. When someone has experienced homelessness for a long time, they experience chronic homelessness and often struggle with poor health, mental illness, and addiction. People experiencing homelessness deserve compassion and support, regardless of their circumstances.
Organizations To Learn About During National Homelessness Awareness Month
The effects of homelessness extend beyond the individuals directly affected by it. Children experiencing homelessness often struggle in school and are more likely to drop out. Families experiencing homelessness are another example. Many must frequently move due to housing or living costs, disrupting social ties and making it difficult to access essential services. Homelessness also strains public resources, such as police and hospitals.
Recognizing the impact of homelessness is a critical first step in addressing this complex issue. Many Northern Nevada organizations provide resources and support, as well as work to raise awareness about the issue and identify best practices for prevention and intervention. These local organizations also offer shelter and support services to people who are homeless and play an essential role in providing a path to stability:
Eddy House, located in Reno, aims to end youth homelessness in Northern Nevada.
At-risk youth and people between the ages of 18 and 24 who are experiencing homelessness can find a safe place to stay at the organization’s emergency shelter. They also have access to necessities like food and clothing. More than 12,400 bed nights and 11,100 meals have been provided by the organization since 2021, helping nearly 400 people. Eddy House’s transition programs help individuals develop sustainable independence by learning life and job skills.
Northern Nevada Dream Center
The Northern Nevada Dream Center was created to bring hope and relief to individuals and families in need by providing support and services that address hunger, poverty, homelessness, addiction, education, and well-being. Individuals and families in Northern Nevada can work with the Dream Center to receive food, clothing, emergency shelter, and other services. Since 2021, the organization has served almost 3,900 people and provided 165 emergency shelter nights and more than half-a-million meals to bring hope and relief while preventing homelessness.
Northern Nevada HOPES
Since 1997, Northern Nevada HOPES has been on the front lines of community health, caring for the most vulnerable members of our community, many of whom are living in crisis every day. While most patients come to HOPES seeking medical care, 25% of patients are also experiencing homelessness. HOPES offers supportive services and helps people find the resources to find not only housing, but the tools and support to thrive. The organization also actively advocates for more affordable housing options for Northern Nevada community members and encourages others to do the same. Sign up for their newsletter to receive advocacy information.
STEP2 provides gender-specific supportive and rehabilitation services to women, women with young children, and expectant mothers experiencing substance use disorders. Many STEP2clients are single mothers struggling with addiction and poverty while caring for dependent children with little family or social support. That’s why women and their children are treated as a unit in STEP2’s year-long rehabilitation program, which includes residential inpatient services at a 20-bed facility, outpatient services, and transitional housing. Some of STEP2’s wraparound services include case management, medical care referrals and coordination, childcare assistance, parenting education, transportation assistance, domestic violence advocacy and education, and on-site mental health assessment, therapy, and medication assistance. These are all integral parts of helping women on their path to recovery. Learn more about how to support STEP2 on their website, or check out their Amazon wish list.
With our support, these local organizations can continue their vital work in addressing homelessness in our community.
Ways To Get Involved in Ending Homelessness
Homelessness is a difficult thing to witness or experience in your community. Nobody deserves to go without necessities like food and shelter. Yet, there is no simple solution to the problem of homelessness. There are, however, ways that we can all contribute to making a difference—even small actions can significantly impact our most vulnerable community members.
Simply volunteering at a local shelter or donating items like clothes, food, and blankets can go a long way in helping someone in need. Another way to help reduce or end homelessness is to advocate for policy changes at the local and national levels. For example, you can write to your elected officials and express your support for policies that increase affordable housing funding or provide rental assistance to low-income families. Of course, monetary donations to local homeless shelters and organizations working to make a difference are always appreciated.
We Want to Help End Homelessness—Will You Join Us?
You can also support businesses that are also working to end homelessness. Greater Nevada Mortgage is passionate about helping people unlock their dream of homeownership. Through our Keys to Greater program, homeowners can help people in their community who don’t have a home. We reinvest a portion of the proceeds from every mortgage and refinance into organizations working to end homelessness and support those experiencing it. Since the program began in 2021, we’ve donated almost $150,000 to organizations that include Eddy House and the Northern Nevada Dream Center. By learning about the issue, getting involved with local organizations, and advocating for policy changes, we can work together to make a difference in the lives of those struggling to find a place to call home.
There is no Greater way to help someone than to ensure they have a roof over their head and a safe place to live. Click the button below to learn more about Keys to Greater and how to get a mortgage that leads to a welcome home for Nevada’s experiencing homelessness populations.