Samantha Nowell / The Review
Newark’s homeless population receives very little attention from the city.

The streets of Newark are lined with restaurants, parties, and an abundant homeless population. Unfortunately, while Newark pays close attention to these restaurants and dages, Newark’s homeless population pays very little attention to the city. These are the words of Louis, a homeless man who lives on the streets of Newark:

“I’ve been in Newark for about 21 years and no, they haven’t offered me any resources [because] I’m from New Jersey. “

Louis’ words no doubt reflect the experience of countless other homeless people currently living in Newark.

It doesn’t take much more than a keen eye to see that homelessness is a problem in Newark. A quick afternoon stroll along Main Street shows that Newark doesn’t deserve its homeless population. Also, keep in mind that Newark is bigger than Main Street: the homeless population extends well beyond campus.

In 2019, Delaware had over 900 homeless people, a number that has certainly increased with the recent COVID-19 pandemic and has resulted in job losses. Of this number, more than a third have no accommodation in which to spend the night. Newark has failed its homeless population and must take care of all of its residents.

According to Louis, being unable to find work is a major factor making him homeless. Currently, the City of Newark does not offer programs or resources to assist those in need of labor resources (e.g., computers for entering résumés, writing résumés, etc.). This creates a cycle of unemployment and homelessness among existing homeless people: without resources to get jobs, they get stuck in a cycle of poverty.

In addition, many homeless people – especially veterans – suffer from mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Without the right resources – such as therapy and medication – to treat such disorders, they can hamper the application process or maintain a job. The mental health problems of the homeless need to be taken just as seriously as physical ailments. for they are just as detrimental to an individual’s life.

In addition, there is currently no emergency shelter in Newark with the exception of the Friendship House. According to their website, Friendship House is a New Castle County’s organization “trying to fill the loopholes in the homeless service network.” While the Friendship House does a great job, it clearly does not meet the needs of the entire homeless population in Newark. Another emergency shelter for the homeless is needed.

After all, homeless people face a lot of stigmatization about their status. Often times, people tend to ignore homeless people on the street. They become invisible to the average college student walking down Main Street.

At The Review, we urge students and other readers to overcome the stigma of homelessness by recognizing their presence. A simple conversation can change the lives of the homeless. The best way to help is to ask a homeless person, “What can I do for you today?” Treatment of the homeless in Newark is a failure not only by city government but also by residents, who often refuse to acknowledge their presence.

The review’s weekly editorials are written to reflect the majority opinion of the reviewer’s staff. This week’s editorial was written by Bianca Thiruchittampalam. She can be reached at [email protected]