On any given night in the United States, it is estimated that over half a million people have no place to call home. Edmour Giguere, a business owner from New Jersey is a concerned citizen who has a heart for the homeless. As a single father, he has spent much of the past 12 years working hard to make ends meet and get ahead for his son and he understands how others can easily fall on difficult times. With a desire to help others through charity, volunteerism, and job placement, he is one person making a difference in his community in a big way.
The homeless population in Giguere’s home state of New Jersey is dropping. In 2013, there were an estimated 12,000 unsheltered individuals throughout the state, whereas a count conducted in January 2016 estimated the amount to be around 8,900. This decrease is also reflective of a 41.7% decline in homeless rates in the state since 2007. New Jersey has seen a larger decrease in the homeless population during this timeframe than 45 other states and can be compared to a national homeless rate that dropped by 11% for that same period. This drop in homeless numbers is encouraging for those who seek to help the needy throughout the country. Despite the overall decrease in homeless numbers, the number of the unsheltered among the homeless is on the rise. With an increase of 48% over the past year, these statistics indicate there is still work to be done for the homeless community.
There are many ways to make an impact on the homeless community. Homeless shelters, food pantries, “soup kitchens”, and donations of food, money, and clothes from the community can make a large impact on those suffering from homelessness. Many homeless individuals could also benefit from outreach programs that work on improving skill sets, job placement, and medical/mental health attention. When these more intrinsic needs are met, then the homeless will have a better opportunity to move forward in life rather than “get by” and communities can put an end to the issue of chronic homelessness.
Individuals like Edmour Giguere who choose to donate time and money to homeless initiatives are greatly encouraged to see that their efforts are helping those in need. Seeing a decrease in the homeless population is one step in the right direction. Recognizing those who may be at risk of homelessness is one way to remain proactive and keep these numbers low. Anyone can help in the effort to improve homeless rates and the quality of life for those in need. Business owners in the community, such as Giguere, often have a wider reach and greater ability to help and give back to those who help make their companies a success.