Letter to the Editor for April 24, 2019

Homelessness has many reasons, forms

I am a Winchester native and social work student at the University of Kentucky. This semester I was given the opportunity to complete a practicum at the Clark County Homeless Coalition in Winchester as a part of my college coursework.

During my time at CCHC, I learned individuals affected by homelessness face many barriers. These barriers include finding employment, securing housing and maintaining stability.

Yet one of the most widespread barriers I have noticed is the societal stigma and stereotypes surrounding homelessness.

For many people, hearing the word “homeless” brings about a mental picture of a disheveled individual on a street corner with a cardboard sign. However, I learned “homeless” can take on many forms: a mother, a student, a hardworking husband, an individual with a college degree.

“Homeless” is a circumstance, not a person. Each individual affected by homelessness has a name, a story and a future.

I believe individuals and families affected by homelessness face enough barriers as it is.

As members of this community, it is up to us to break down the stigmas and stereotypes.

Let us not forget the only factor separating an individual experiencing homelessness from anyone else in this community is simply their lack of housing. They are still human beings, worthy of acknowledgment and support.

My proposal is this: Let us strive to treat all of our fellow community members with the dignity and kindness they deserve; even those without a place to call home.

Carissa Colley

Clark County