Every homeless person you see has a story which most of us don’t acknowledge. Ever since we were little, our parents have told us to ignore the dirty people sitting on sidewalks panhandling and as we grow up we continue to do the same. It is hard for us to understand where they come from. Think about it – why would a young person run away from home? What makes them leave the shelter and support they have and instead be out on the streets? Why would they make such a crazy decision? If we want to stop people from running away we need to be aware of why it happens. That’s what National Runaway Awareness is all about.
Running from, not towards!
The most important thing to understand here is that these people aren’t running towards homelessness. They are running away from something. Think of it like this – you see someone jump off the second story window of their house. You will be puzzled – the person jumping knows they will end up breaking a bone or two jumping from that height. Why are they jumping then? The reason is that their room is on fire. The flames keep getting closer and they realize that while jumping will hurt, staying inside the room will be much more unbearable.
The people who run away are in a mental state which makes it more unbearable to be at their home than to be homeless.
Why Kids Run?
Children are at a high risk of running away because they don’t understand the world around them or what is happening inside their own head. Kids (we are including teenagers in ‘kids’) often runaway due to abuse happening at home, but that’s not always the reason. Sometimes the young person thinks that they are unloved and no one cares about them at home. Other times they feel like their family will never accept them for who they are.
That is why often kids from seemingly loving families run away as well. This was a big epidemic for young people who realized they were gay and understood that their family will not accept them as such. The changed perspectives of our society towards homosexuality have reduced this danger, but there are still kids in such situations and they are at a risk of running away.
Why women with children run away?
The most alarming runaways are women with children. These women often end up on the streets. Their needs are also much greater, because they need to provide for their children as well. These women are almost always running away from abusive relationships. A roof over your head and food is important but not that important when your husband beats you every day. These women often do not have the support of family either and they end up running away.
The best way to prevent runaways is to build better communities and be better friends with the people around us. See someone who seems to be lost in life? Someone who is shut off? Talk to them. Be friendly with them. Let them share with you what they are comfortable with. A simple change in our approach can have wide reaching effects.
Spread word about National Runaway Awareness on social media so more people realize the signs and help others around them. Learn more about how you can help those in need and visit www.CommunityHomelessSolutions to get more info.