Our View: We hate the homelessness problem

DKS Editors

To anyone passing by the impressive new developments and businesses downtown, Kent looks like a prosperous, comfortable and safe place to live. As we briskly walk across campus to get to class, or make the trek downtown for a bite to eat or a cup of coffee, it’s easy to get caught up in our own lives and not think much about those around us.

While many of us struggle to pay our way through college, most of us are fortunate enough to have a bed to sleep in and warm clothes on our backs. It’s difficult to perceive the fact that there are many Kent citizens without homes, food or clothing to stay warm in the winter.

Homelessness is not as visible in our college town as it is in larger cities or areas where poverty is a highly discussed issue. While some people without a place to live choose their “street homeless” lifestyle, there are others who end up homeless due to different circumstances. Regardless of the reason, surviving harsh Ohio winters without shelter is an issue that citizens of our city and county face each day.

The city of Kent has reached out to those in need by providing food, shelter and other resources at the Miller Community House, Freedom House and Kent Social Services. Because Kent is regarded as a tight-knit community, there is outreach within the city, but the campus as a whole should also do its part to recognize the issue.

Service organizations, such as the Campus Kitchen Project, have enabled students to volunteer and provide for those in need. Helping the homeless does not necessarily have to mean donating money or food – two things college students sometimes have trouble getting themselves. Students can volunteer their time and energy preparing dishes or donating old clothes to those in need this winter.

The campus could also better facilitate those who may need a place to sleep during the night. While this is a tricky issue with no simple solution, becoming sensitive to others’ needs and not sweeping the problem under the rug are steps in the right direction.

Understanding that homelessness is an issue in our city, and learning about what these people actually need for survival, are key to providing help and service to those who need it. We all must realize that there are people in the community that might not lead lives as fortunate as the average student.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.