In Texas, at least 25,000 people experience homelessness and over 2,200 of them are in Austin, Texas. People tend to believe that if a person is homeless they must be lazy, addicts, just need a job, or even that it's their fault. Most times, that isn’t always the case. The main causes of homelessness are the lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty and mental illness.
Austin lacks enough shelter space to get people off the streets. Police were tasked to enforce ordinances that made it illegal to aggressively panhandle, sit or lie on sidewalks, and camp in public. Austin police would move homeless people around, sometimes aggressiving pushing them into uncorfortable or even dangerous places like the banks of creeks. For those that refuse to move, they were given citations, which often led to their arrest and jail time.
I used to be like every other person out there. Whenever I saw a homeless person next to stop signs and intersections, I would completely ignored them like they were invisible. I did my research, went to Austin, Texas and talked to the people I once turned a blind eye to and became aware. Hearing their stories was very humbling and truly eye opening. All it takes is one wrong move, one mistake, one unfortunate event and even you could be a part of the 2,200.