From earthquakes to drought to deadly diseases, there are devastating troubles all over the world. Here at home, though, we can often be isolated from much of the suffering around the globe. While an epidemic of a deadly virus or a civil war ravaging a country may seem far away, there are some issues that strike closer to us. And one of them is the experience of homelessness.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, “The January 2017 Point-in-Time count, the most recent national estimate of homelessness in the United States, identified 553,742 people experiencing homelessness.” And it’s not just adults who are facing this problem either. They also note that “about 33.3 percent were people in families (184,661 adults and children).”
Taking on the sad statistics
But despite these depressing numbers, communities across the country are working to tackle the problem. One of these cities is Winter Haven in Florida, whose concern for the younger victims of homelessness was reported recently by The Ledger.
In Winter Haven, the mayor was concerned about how homelessness was affecting students. And he put his concern into action.
He made a proposal. To which the city council gave the green light. To take on the problem, they agreed to provide $15,000 to have a white paper drafted. The paper will address ways to combat the homelessness problem. It will be put together by a local nonprofit (working with other organizations).
Who are the homeless?
A very natural question arises when talking about homelessness. Maybe it’s provoked to mind by what you’re reading now. Just who qualifies as homeless? And it’s a good question. In fact, defining terms can be an important part of a discussion.
Another local organization uses information from the federal government when it comes to who counts as homeless. So, using that information, people who are considered homeless could include those who are living in a camping facility. Also, it could count people who are staying with another family in the other family’s home. Plus, it could include people staying at a shelter.
Maybe mobile homes can help
One solution the New Haven white paper will be exploring is using mobile homes – specifically used mobile homes that could be fixed up for the purpose. As a mobile home enthusiast, maybe this idea holds a special draw for you. Additionally, it could be provoking to mind your own community and its needs. Could mobile homes be a solution in your community too? Could they be used efficiently to help struggling individuals or families?
Maybe your community also has a problem with homelessness. What could you do?
Taking your cue from the New Haven story, get your wheels turning about the potential of mobile homes. If you already live in one, you may be fully convinced of its usefulness to you. Now, you want to explore how you could “go bigger” with your love of this housing option.
Where to go from here
So, let’s look at some next steps you could take. First, keep your eyes open in the area. This means, whenever you’re out, be thinking about abandoned mobile homes you see as possibilities. Isolate potential homes (whether in a mobile home park or outside of one) so you can check into them later.
Get others to help you with this part of the job. In fact, consider asking friends if they know of any homes that could be options. They can help you by keeping their eyes and ears open too. We say, the more people looking, the more potential spots you could come up with.
Get even more people involved
This isn’t a project you have to take on single-handedly. Thus, talk to others to see if they’re interested in helping you apply mobile homes to your community’s homelessness problem. Here are some people you could reach out to:
- Local government officials
- Mobile home park owners
- Area contractors
- Area home improvement stores (a potential source of donated supplies)
Fixing up those homes
Let’s say your enthusiasm and ideas have been contagious, and you now have a team of community members and organizations standing with you. Fixing up those homes is one of your next steps and keeping expenses low while you do it is a priority. The less you can spend per home, the more homes you hope to get to.
Keeping expenses down
Here are some ways you may be able to control the cost of the work you’re doing.
- Shop deals – From seasonal sales events to going-out-of-business liquidations to coupon discounts, don’t pay full price unless you have to.
- Get free labor – See if there are community members willing to give away their services for free to help out. This could include area contractors. Not only may they want to serve the community, but it could also be good advertising or PR for them.
- Get the community involved via fundraising – Here you could use online platforms to raise necessary funds. Plus, you could host group workdays so people can donate their time to help with the work of fixing.
- Buy secondhand – Look for used items in great condition as a way to save money. Here, you may be able to secure cabinets, flooring, discount paint, furnishings, etc. In fact, search online classifieds or auction sites for sinks, windows, doors, etc. And if you’re looking for furnishings, search garage sales and local used furniture stores.
- Ask for donations – Community members may have used furnishings in good condition. Plus, they may even have building supplies for the exterior or interior of the house left over from their own remodeling projects.
Doing it together
As we mentioned above, don’t do it all yourself. You may find that other community members are more than willing to help you take on homelessness. And while you’re thinking about the topics of community and mobile homes, it’s a great time to check out How A Mobile Home Changed People’s Lives & Other Inspirational Stories.