Bethany College Hosts Social Issues Panel to Discuss Homelessness



BETHANY, W.Va. – Have you ever thought about helping out the homeless people in your area but didn’t know the proper steps to helping them? Bethany College hosted a group of panelists on “The Issues with Homelessness in our Community” on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. in the Weimer Lecture Hall.

The panel consisted of representatives from the Wheeling Homeless Coalition, the Wheeling Housing Authority, the Wheeling Soup Kitchen, Catholic Charities, YWCA, and the Salvation Army. The individuals from the organizations provided the audience with some very helpful ways to assist the homeless people in your community.

One way people can help is by volunteering at any local shelter. The panelists specifically mentioned the Wheeling Soup kitchen because it is a short distance away from Bethany College. They are a non-profit inter-faith ministry incorporated with the State of W. Va., and are deeply dedicated to feeding and providing shelter for the homeless.

The Wheeling Homeless Coalition provides direct care to the homeless by providing a variety of case management and housing services. They support community emergency shelters by offering payments for shelter beds via the West Virginia Department of Health.

The Coalition also works on developing and supporting a seamless system of services in the greater Wheeling, W.Va. area. They also assist with providing housing opportunities for the homeless.

Homelessness does not occur instantaneously, but rather over a period of time due to certain circumstances. An individual can become homeless in a variety of ways such as; a loss of income, insufficient income, eviction, substance abuse, and mental illness. The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that in 2013 there were 610,000 homeless people and in 2014 that number is expected to remain consistent.

Bethany College student, Becca Westcom said, “Homelessness is a problem all over the world. The country needs to step up and find a better way to help the people who can’t help themselves. The statistics are out of control and need to be handled.”

A homeless person is an individual who is silently crying out for help, and needs your support. When you see homeless people on the side of the street late at night and you just can’t help but wonder what it must be like for them to have nowhere to go that they can call home. Jumping from shelter to shelter may lower a person’s motivation, but there are ways the community can help them to remain relevant in today’s society.

There are many ways the community can help out the homeless. There are thousands of volunteer organizations nationwide that allow those who are more fortunate to advocate and raise awareness through large-scale homeless awareness activities.

Winter is upon us, and these individuals need all the help that they can get. Whether it is time, or money, they need your help. Also, donated clothes and food are immensely helpful and welcomed to help the less fortunate people of our society.



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