Of course you do! Awareness is a big part of the solution. Here's a partial list of resources and references we use to get information to share with you. Our goal is to acquaint the public with the scope of factors that can lead to homelessness, and how we can help.
Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness (pdf)
The City of Austin official Web site lists local resources for homeless services.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness seeks to improve homeless public policy, educate thought leaders, and build on-the-ground capacity.
Report on the State of homeless in America 2012 provides a comprehensive look at data from 2009-2012.
HUD Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (2010). "...the 2010 AHAR is the first report to provide national estimates on the use of the full continuum of homeless assistance programs—from homelessness prevention to homeless residential services to permanent supportive housing."
There's lots more, and for the next few months, we'll address the ten factors that can lead to homelessness:
shortage of affordable housing
fewer jobs that pay a living wage
decline in public assistance
lack of affordable health care and disability assistance
substance abuse and addiction
release from incarceration with little or no transitional assistance
aging out of foster care
Please consider how you might be able to easily contribute to Macpack through donations of money, time, or items, distribution of backpacks, in-kind services (logo/branding, printing, meeting venues, legal services, for instance), and moral support. Do you write? Research? We'd love contributions of poetry, stories, interviews with community leaders, any thoughts that shed more light on homelessness.
Take the time to listen to the stories of the homeless around you. They may surprise you with their insight, courage, gratitude, and hopefulness.