I came to Chicago in 2012. My first impressions of the city were the amazing skyline, the nice weather and the clean streets. However, I also came to notice many young and healthy homeless people panhandling on the streets. I was intrigued to know the reason because in my country, most homeless are too old or handicapped with no ability to perform daily work.
There are more than 100,000 homeless people in the city of Chicago. Most pedestrians ignore them by not taking a second look. I wanted to understand why they couldn’t find a job and seek a way to help. After a few conversations, I came to realize some major reasons.
First, they could not find a place to stay at least for a night before their job interview. If they cannot locate a place to stay, they can’t clean up and have a good rest. Shelters were suggested but it was not a good choice for a rest. Second, they don’t have the budget to own a contact number. Without a contact number, it is difficult for employers to contact them. Even if they could provide the shelter’s number, it is not as effective. Third, with no place to stay, they don’t have storage space either. These young homeless cannot carry all their belongings to an interview.
There were more reasons to why they couldn’t get a decent job in the city, but the three mentioned above were the most common responses.