By Audrey Willett:
Help Homeless Inc. is a nonprofit aimed at raising money for homeless shelters on Long Island, New York. They also have educational posts on their social media pages and website about how you can help, not only with donations but also understanding homelessness. Please enjoy the interview below conducted by Audrey Willett.
AW: Tell us all about you and your organization!
HMI: About a year ago, our team saw a number of homeless people on 7th Avenue in NYC, and we were astonished by the number of homeless people that needed help and the number of homeless shelters that were in dire need of supplies during the pandemic. This shocking revelation resulted in the creation of Help Homeless Inc. to support those who are less fortunate. Help Homeless Inc. is a student-run nonprofit organization that aims to support homeless shelters around the United States through innovative fundraisers and supply drives so that homeless shelters can continue to take care of those who are at a higher risk of COVID-19.
AW: Why do you think it’s important for your generation to let their voices be heard?
HMI: I think that it’s important for our generation to let our voices be heard because we will be the ones who will be living out the future. If we don’t speak up for change, we will have to live with the consequences of our inaction.
AW: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
HMI: Although I have been pessimistic about the future in the past, I think that I am now more optimistic about the future because our generation has taken the most initiative to get our voices heard and to create a difference in society. The most recent example would be the many youth who created organizations aimed to combat anti-Asian hate. This increase in support to stop the anti-Asian hate movement led to President Biden passing new hate crime laws in order to protect Asian Americans who were being harassed.
AW: What are the most important issues facing our world right now? And in the future?
HMI: I think that the most important issues our world is facing right now are discrimination, poverty, and an increase in mental health issues. Discrimination is a pressing issue because many African Americans and Asian Americans are being wrongly treated, and this conflict will continue to divide the country. Poverty is also a significant issue, because COVID-19 has financially affected lots of American families, affecting the future of many children. Furthermore, mental health has also been a prominent issue in the United States. Due to the quarantine requirements and the threat of the virus itself, many Americans have elevated stress and anxiety levels from a lack of social interaction, which leads to increased rates of depression, harmful alcohol and drug use, or suicidal behavior. In the future, these rates will continue to rise if people do not reach out for help.
AW: What does your organization offer that helps the world be a better place?
HMI: Help Homeless Inc. offers support to the many homeless individuals because they are the most vulnerable to the virus. Our organization aids homeless shelters around the United States, impacting the lives of many people who are less fortunate by allowing the homeless shelters to provide better services and more supplies for the homeless.
AW: Will you be voting in the next election?
HMI: Unfortunately, none of our members are old enough to vote in the next election.
AW: Please tell us all about your current campaigns, projects, and endeavors. Tell everyone where to find you online and on social platforms.
HMI: Currently, we are raising money for two homeless shelters: United Veterans Beacon House and the Bethany House. The United Veterans Beacon House is a veterans' assistance center that helps veterans and their families by providing services and supplies so that they can return to their normal lives. The Bethany House is a homeless shelter that aims to help the homeless communities of Long Island. They also provide services to help women, children, and those with special needs. Any amount of money donated is appreciated. Thank you for your contributions!
Audrey Willett is a southern California sophomore in high school. She is an activist and aspiring filmmaker, and the Social Media Outreach coordinator for The Gen Z Collective.