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A hope beyond hell lived

Homeless People Women and Men who with their silence express their pain and frustration.
"As a leafy tree whose roots are deeply embedded in the earth, the factors that affect people walking homeless are at the core of relevant social conflicts"

homeless1A person does not end up in the street from one day to the next, his situation deteriorates with time. Nor is there a single cause. The reasons are many and varied: some depend on the person or others have to do with the society in which we live.
Homeless people are not on the street because they want to. They accumulate chained traumatic experiences that make them lose their emotional stability, their economic resources and their support network. Our social protection system is insufficient for the fall caused by these circumstances.
To end up on the street is in itself an aggression that brings loneliness, violence, and premature death. The homeless are only related in equality with other homeless people. Most of their time is spent alone. They can not exercise their rights. They also do not have privacy or private property, they do not have their security guaranteed ...
They accumulate chained traumatic experiences that make them lose their emotional stability.
The homeless suffer aggressions and suffer from illnesses that are not addressed or are inadequately treated.
The average life expectancy in the street is only 60 years, 20 less than the rest of the people. More than 50% of the homeless have suffered assaults.
Only 13% of homeless people exercise begging. This percentage is the same as that of the homeless who have higher education. They are not mentally ill. Only 12% of homeless people have a serious mental illness. They are not criminals nor are they usually aggressive.
What are we failing ...? The resources are focused on addressing the emergency, not social reintegration. It is not just about increasing the number of shelters if this is not accompanied by other measures and if at the end they are taken to mass shelters in the periphery of the cities.
We ask ourselves many times why some homeless people do not want to go to shelters?
• The hostels are overcrowded and they have to share the room with 6 people.
• They can not access with animals.
• They can not access with their partner.
• It requires a discipline and schedules (which, sometimes, the person can not assume).
• They are far from the areas where they are. Eg. The dining rooms and day centers are usually in the center and the hostels in the periphery.

On many occasions we can see people who live on the street and we wonder how it could have come to that.

If in our life we ​​are in a more or less stable social and economic situation and we have some senses awake, when we see people on the street begging, sleeping, looking through the garbage, with posters asking for help ... we can even ask ourselves how these arrive people to this situation and why.
Is it that these people want to be in these conditions? Is there nothing they can do to resume a decent and decent life?
Well, it is important to bear in mind that the situation of exclusion is "forming" in a multidimensional way. I mean with this, that there are many factors that usually influence, and that occur in time, not overnight.
In this process of exclusion is due to alterations produced in different aspects such as accommodation, affectivity, social isolation, poor job training, difficulty in accessing the labor market and include, among others, aspects related to physical and mental health.
The pillars that support the life of people in general are the economic, social relations and housing rights among others already mentioned.
Economic aspect: this is what we usually value in order to maintain the rest of the pillars in a good "status" both social relations and housing maintenance.
When the economy of a person or family begins to weaken for different reasons (a layoff, low salary and not being able to cope with expenses ...) is one of the moments when the person begins to be discouraged causing effects on the other aspects.
Social aspects: it is very important when a person changes their personal situation in whatever aspect, always have family support, friends, co-workers ... because if the closest people exclude it will be another reason why get discouraged and see no meaning for what to fight.
Aspects worthy housing: the fact of losing the house, loss of work and breaking social relations are a cluster of situations that can lead a person to live on the street. At the time that affects mainly housing or employment the rest of the aspects worsens, for this we mention that the process of exclusion is dynamic and multidimensional.
 "In the world there are more than one hundred million people without homes," says the UN. If the figure is accurate, that means that approximately 1 out of every 60 human beings does not have decent housing. The true extent of the problem, however, is difficult to pin down. Why?
The definition of "homeless person" varies from one place to another in the world. The methods and objectives of those who study the phenomenon influence the way they define the expression and, therefore, the statistics they publish. So it is difficult, if not impossible, to have an accurate view of the problem.
The book Strategies to Combat Homelessness, published by the United Nations Center for Human Settlements, says that "homeless person" is "one that does not have a decent home. That would include all those who live in conditions below what is considered acceptable "in a certain society. There are those who live in the street or in abandoned or dilapidated buildings, while others take refuge in shelters for the destitute or stay temporarily in friends' houses. In any case, as the same source says, "when you label someone as a 'homeless person', it means that you are in a state where you have to do something for them."

In view of the extent of the problem, you may know people who are affected. His sad situation raises several questions. Why do these people lack adequate housing? How do they manage to survive? Who helps them? And what will the future hold?

How to help the "Door of Light" Project for the homeless

There are many ways to help the homeless, either by donating, by volunteering to work on them, by informing you and others of the fact of not having a home, and by sharing information about this situation with others. Disseminate information about how homelessness is a problem, as well as how others can help.

Donate money. The simplest way to help the homeless is to donate money to the "Puerta de Luz" Project whose mission is to support these people. This will ensure that social workers and professionals who know better how to help those who are homeless, have the necessary resources to carry out their important work.
Donate items. Donate your new or used items is another simple way to help. Give them to the "Puerta de Luz" Project or other organizations that support them, or give them directly to the homeless in your community. Among the best items you can donate are the following:
1. winter clothing (hats, coats and boots).
2. new underwear and stockings.
3. Small-sized hygiene items (toothpaste, soap, etc.).
4. Professional clothing (an inconvenience to overcome the homelessness is the inadequate image during job interviews).
5. First aid items (Neosporin, bandaids, antibacterial cream and hand sanitizer).
6. secondary medical items (sunscreen, ointment, anti-allergic and bandages).
7. bus passes (excellent to help homeless people go to job interviews).
8. bedding (sheets, towels, pillows and pillowcases.

Provide food. One of the constant difficulties of the homeless is the inability to find enough food. Donate canned or boxed foods.
1. Before making your donation, get in touch with the "Puerta de Luz" Project and find out what items are most needed.

Volunteer your time. If you can not donate money or items, register as a Volunteer in the "Puerta de Luz" Project. The kind of volunteer opportunities will vary. You should probably perform the following tasks:
1. pack boxes with food to distribute to the homeless.
2. Serve hot food in a soup kitchen.
3. Help the homeless to make the transition to a job.
4. train homeless people to develop skills such as fixing the garden or playing an instrument.
5. Use your own skills to help the homeless in other ways (for example, you can cut their hair for free or provide tutoring to homeless children).

  • Supports mental health services. Mental health problems can be a cause and an effect of homelessness. One of the best ways to make a difference with the homeless is to promote access to mental health services for free or at a low price through the "Puerta de Luz" Project. Support mental health clinics and write to politicians about the importance of this Project.

    Supports free and low-cost medical care. Basic health care can also be a big problem for homeless people, who are more likely to suffer serious health problems, but who are at the same time in a position where they can not afford care. Support the "Puerta de Luz" Project and the local clinics that provide free or low-cost care, and strive to make more centers provide medical care in your city and provide a service at no cost.

    Oppose laws that make it a crime to have homeless people. In many places, living on the street can take you to jail. If a homeless person is arrested, it will be much more difficult for them to regain economic stability. To help these people, vote against measures that classify this situation as a crime, as well as against politicians who are in favor.

    Generate jobs. If you find yourself in a position where you can employ a homeless person, do it! Whether hiring and training someone for a secretary or archivist position, or giving them simple jobs like mowing the lawn, employing a homeless person can really make a big difference in their life. However, make sure you do not take advantage of it, and pay a reasonable and fair amount.

    Give recyclable objects to the homeless. Many homeless people depend on the small amount of money they get from selling bottles and cans to recycling centers, as they can buy food and meet other needs. If you live in an area that supports this type of recycling programs, stack all the cans and bottles in a bag. Ask the homeless in your community if they would be interested in accepting your recyclable objects.

    Contact emergency services. If you do not feel comfortable approaching a homeless person and can not communicate with the non-profit organization of the "Puerta de Luz" Project, get in touch with the emergency services. They will send a specialized team that can help you and find out more about your condition. Also, contact these services if you see a homeless person who meets the following requirements:

    1. He has a psychotic episode.
    2. It is a danger to oneself or to others.
    3. It is drugged.
    4. It is in danger due to weather conditions.

    Try to understand the homeless. There is a lot of information about homeless people that can help you better understand the causes and impacts they have on other people and society. By knowing more about what it is like to live without a home, you can identify more ways to help people who live in this situation and educate others about the problem. You can also watch documentaries about life without a home or attend conferences related to the theme that are taught by the "Puerta de Luz" Project.

    Identify and end stereotypes. Many have preconceived ideas about how homeless people are and why they are in that situation. For example, some think that homeless people are on the street solely because of their own choices. However, that is usually false. Look for stereotypes in others' way of thinking and correct them with kindness when you hear little-informed statements about the homeless. Constantly evaluate your own ideas about the homeless and keep an open mind.

    Respect the homeless. They deserve the same level of courtesy and consideration as everyone else. Treat them with the same level of kindness that you treat your friends and colleagues.

    Be friendly. Generally, homeless people feel invisible, which can damage their self-confidence and general attitude. Smile at them every time you cross them and talk to them kindly in case you have the opportunity. The only fact of smiling at someone or greeting them can usually make their day better.


    • Do not put yourself in danger. If you have any questions, ask for professional help.
    • When you go to give food or other things to the homeless, always go with someone else. Never do it alone.
    • Be careful when you give money directly to the homeless. The most advisable thing is to give them food, drinks, and leave the monetary donations in the charitable organizations that support the poor.