Imagine you are at a packed Pacers game. There is a lull in the game and you take a sweeping look around the arena. It’s only then that you notice ¼ of the seats, more than 5000, are filled with kids celebrating a favorite American past time together. Kids building positive memories with their families and friends. You wonder what kind of fun activity, club, field trip, or celebration brought all of these kids together.
At half time, they announce the reason more than 5000 kids children have joined them for the game that night: they are homeless. More than 5000 kids that have experienced homelessness in Marion County, Indiana over the past year don’t have a singular story – some have jumped from relative to relative, others live in hotels, still more in shelters or cars. For so many reasons, this is never something you will really witness. However, most Indianapolis residents have been to Bankers Life and the visual of all those seats gives perspective to the number 5000 – a very real statistic.
It can be easy to write off the true causes of homelessness. To play the blame game of poor planning, lack of employment, and bad choices. Sometimes it’s impossible to understand unless experiencing something first hand. While many readers have not experienced homelessness, most can relate to the idea of being one paycheck away. Your car breaks down the same week that insurance and rent is due. You deplete your savings to cover the difference only to find out that your office is laying you off. Many of us are lucky to have safety nets. People that cover the difference when life throws you a curveball or two. What about when you’re one paycheck away with no safety net in sight?
SPOKES with School on Wheels Indianapolis and Young Professional Advisory Board with Children’s Bureau have teamed up with United Way of Central Indiana to help Indianapolis young professionals understand the challenges of breaking the cycle of homelessness and encourage them to become part of the solution. Encourage you to become part of the solution. We have pulled together a number of simulations that will give realistic insight into the excruciating choices that need to be made daily by our fellow Hoosiers as they try to break the cycle of homelessness. Join us and see if you can remain “One Paycheck Away”.
SPOKES and YPAB hope to see you Thursday, November 15th from 6-8:30pm at The Speak Easy in Broad Ripple (5255 Winthrop Avenue). Simulations will begin at 7pm. Beverages and light snacks will be provided. RSVP encouraged via Facebook event or Eventbrite page.