Homelessness in America

America has a problem that often goes unnoticed. Homelessness in the United States in the year 2018 was up to 552,830 citizens, and who knows how much larger it is now due to the pandemic. Often times, the homeless go unrecognized. Unremembered. Unappreciated. It is time that this commonly used mentally changed. Recognizing the issue, bringing awareness, and demanding change are our first steps to taking action. While homelessness can not be solved in a day, it is up to activists like us to help make the lives of those who live on the streets a little easier. So how can we recognize homelessness and bring awareness to it?


To begin, get to know your local statistics. Little Rock has a documented 131 homeless, this is compared to Arkansas as a whole with an estimated 2,467. If you do not know your local count, research through websites such as https://www.usich.gov/homelessness-statistics/ or through other online resources. From here, research local shelters that you can help bring awareness to their existence. This allows for people to help donate clothes, food, hygiene products, etc. It is vital, that especially in the time of Covid-19, that we as a community do the best we can to ensure that these homeless shelters stay open. If you are unable to donate, or even just want to go the step further, get in touch with these shelters and see what other opportunities are available to help. Many are needing volunteers to help pack care packages, serve food (socially distanced, sanitarily prepared, and masked up!), and even just write little notes to help make those who are struggling have a better day. Everything helps, you can help, and you can make a difference. By spreading awareness of the high numbers of those affected by homelessness, you are allowing for a difference to be made in hundreds of people’s lives.


In North Little Rock, there is a volunteer group called the Mayor’s Youth Council which I have been a member of for four years. A year after joining the council, I started going to somewhat of a soup-kitchen called Canvas. I made so many connections with so many people who live on the streets. Angel, who was always willing to help out. Biker, who always wanted a hug. Pancho, who was quiet but always would give a smile. Julius, who is deaf. Ken, who was and still is the “body-guard.” Hannah was always smiling, even with a mental illness.

Angel was schizophrenic and was killed by a drunk driver on New Year’s. Biker hasn’t been seen in months. Pancho was brutally beaten and had to stay in ICU for weeks. Julius still comes by Canvas. Ken has a job. Hannah passed away from Covid about a month ago. There are thousands of more stories, ones that have been unheard, unrecognized, underappreciated. It is time, that we stand up, and demand action. We demand their stories be told. And we demand a change. We are capable of listening, and enacting- and it is time we do so.


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Sam Montgomery

North Little Rock High School Junior


(Picture of Biker and I below, pre-covid, Easter season 2019)



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