Lack of Education in the Homeless

Lack of Education in the Homeless

Audience Analysis
The audience that I am targeting in this paper is everyone who is concerned about the homeless problem that we have here in the United States. The problem is only getting worse and if I can bring it to the attention of one person, then I feel good about this paper. I want people to understand that the homeless are not just alcoholics and druggies that don’t care about their children; some people have had to leave abusive relationships, didn’t have anywhere to go, and had no money and no family to help them out. This is how some people become homeless it is not always their fault. In most cases people could have made different choices, but it still doesn’t hide the fact that we do have a problem that needs to be solved.

Lack of Education in the Homeless
When we think of the homeless we think of alcoholics, drug abusers, and lazy people, who choose not to work. Although sometimes this is the case, in this story it seems to be lack of education. In “The homeless and their children “Jonathan Kozol, tells a story about a family that describes the daily struggles that homeless people face. Without education, mainly not being able to read, the mother is unaware that two of her children are in need of medical attention. Her seven year old son has “dangerous levels of lead” in his blood and her four month old daughter has scabies. She received a letter from the hospital telling her that her son was in need of treatment, also a letter from the nurse telling her that her daughter needed a cream to get rid of scabies, but the letters were useless, simply because she could not read them.

Jonathan’s mother was also affected by not being able to read when she shopped, according to Jonathan Kozol the mother said “if there is no picture, I don’t buy it”, which means she can’t buy the cheaper brands with no picture to save money. If the mother had at least the skills to read she would be able to save money and take better care of her children, maybe even making her become dependent enough to live on her own and not be a homeless statistic any longer.

Living each day in a dangerous and unsanitary hotel is no way to live. There were a lot of maintenance problems in the hotel, but telling the manager didn’t do any good, he would tell her someone will come fix it, but then no one ever comes. She tells him about the lead poisoning and he tells her “I don’t want to hear it”. Homeless people who live in shelters like the Martinique Shelter are given a task, to look for a home. Without being able to read, owners do not want to rent to the homeless, or people on welfare this could be almost an impossible task. How are you going to get a home to live in so that you are not homeless anymore if a renter will not rent to you because you are homeless? This makes no sense, part of the problem is people not wanting to help other people because of the stereotype mentioned earlier about the “homeless”.
When Jonathan Kozol talks about all the letters the mother received and was unable to read ,he shows how the children have suffered from their parents not being educated enough to be able to read a simple letter telling them that their children need medical care. Spending a childhood under these conditions, receiving no medical treatment, and possible not having food is just not something that you would want to imagine, but it is possible for anyone to become homeless.

According to the National Coalition for homeless, 41% of the homeless population is comprised of family’s, according to the Literacy training for the homeless, developed by Jan-Marie Spanard states:
“Education provides an opportunity for homeless people to improve their present conditions by learning to cope and survive in today’s world. Their choices are expanded with knowledge, awareness and basic literacy skills. Homelessness doesn’t cause illiteracy, but illiteracy is a contributing factor to the frequency and duration of homelessness”.

The New York State Education department’s philosophy on education for homeless adults, is to give homeless adults the opportunity to gain basic skills and knowledge needed to become self-sufficient, this is at least a start to the growing problem that we have in the United States with homelessness. It really makes you stop and think about everything that you have and how lucky you are just to have a home and a roof over your head let alone food to eat and clothes to wear.

Work cited
Kozol ,Jonathan. The Homeless and Their Children city, publisher year
National coalition for homeless www.nationalcoalitionforhomeless.org
www.hudrivctr.org 01/20/2012