You could be homeless

By Suzanne C. Smith R.N. Safford, Az

We see them at the park, and at cross roads. Who are they? What occurred that they are homeless? You may be surprised to learn the facts.

A natural disaster such as a wildfire, or flooding could leave any of us without a home. A governmental, military or political crisis could leave people homeless. An injury, the illness of a loved one, crime; we are all at risk for becoming homeless at some time in our lives.

Homeless Statistics

  • 20.7% are children: The 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress
  • 31% are elderly according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • 14% Community College Students: National Study of Basic Needs Insecurity in Higher Education
  • 17% are military veterans. 53% are disabled: Department of Veteran Affairs

Work injuries may result in homelessness. If Workman’s Compensation is denied or runs out, and the individual is not employable, they may lose everything, directly due to their injury at work.

Chronic illnesses such as heart disease may led to frequent call in for sick days. Many employers will ultimately release an ill employee due to poor attendance.

Family Illness. The single parent of an ill child may have no support from their employer.

Toxic Work Environment. Sometimes the environment at work contributes or actually causes illness. The employee calls in ill. Jobs are lost. Most American workers are one paycheck away from losing everything.

The homeless are not “Them and Us.” There are homeless among us. The working poor. The person in the next pew may be homeless or at risk for becoming homeless.

Homelessness can happen to an innocent, educated, non-drinker or addicted person through the actions of another or others.

My story:

My husband and I enjoyed the benefits of university educations, owned businesses, we were not troubled with any substance abuse- no smoking ,drinking or gambling. NONE.

When my husband contracted dementia, he killed our golden retriever, gave me twelve hours to get the horses off our land. He dug a huge pit ( 30 ft deep) and he said he would put any future trespassers in it. One dark night he took me to that pit. Our property was like a prison. I was a prisoner. One day I was able to escape! The next four years he stalked me, and I lived like a fugitive in my own country. For four years I slept on friend’s couch or in spare rooms. When I see the homeless I have one thought. But for the grace of GOD go I.

When we see the homeless around us, let us not be judgemental, but compassionate.

With seven years of college and over forty years of healthcare experience Suzanne C. Smith R.N. searches the world for answers to pressing health questions. Hundreds of hours of medical research and review of the latest information from trusted sources around the world are retrieved. Evidenced based research was interpreted into easy to read and understand language. You will not need a medical dictionary to read her books. Suzanne C.Smith R.N.,has enjoyed serving others with tender nursing care and strong patient advocacy. She came up through the ranks- first as a nursing assistant- then an LPN, then a Registered Nurse. She earned a CPHQ- Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality in 2004. A graduate of the University of the State of New York- Regents College, Albany, NY. and Pima Community College, Tucson, Arizona- Honors and Phi Theta Kappa. She had had chaplaincy training and is a Parish Nurse. A lifelong student of theology -and a Bible teacher.

Smith has been honored by Congressmen and other community leaders for her work with senior citizens. Smith has worked in the Medical departments of three HMOs in the role of Utilization Review, Prior Authorization, Concurrent Review, Case Manager/Discharge Planner/ and Quality Improvement. She also worked in those roles within a private hospital and Home Health. She has been a board member of the United Way- Healthcare Allocations committee, served in the Red Cross, and numerous other volunteer positions.