The first session of Shippensburg University’s Day of Human Understanding focused on homelessness, and was presented by social work students as well as a representative from the Safe Harbour shelter located in Carlisle.
Safe Harbour is a nonprofit organization whose goal is “to provide housing and support services for individuals and families to help them achieve independent living by increasing their basic life skills.”
Scott Shewell, vice president of community relations and development at Safe Harbour, told students of how Safe Harbour helps homeless individuals and families throughout Cumberland County.
“Our goal is to change people’s stereotypes of what homelessness is and how and why people got that way. We hope to change these individuals and send them back into the world as productive members of society,” Shewell said.
Shewell said that most of the people who stay at Safe Harbour are educated and once had successful jobs.
Many are families ranging in age from babies to war veterans and the shelter is always at or near capacity.
Social work students Jill Cox, Elizabeth Olendorf, Robyn Ross and Jenna Simmons then presented their research to the audience.
Their goal during the event was to raise awareness of homelessness on campus.
They raised awareness by explaining how it happens and what people can do to advocate for it and fight the problem.
The leading causes of homelessness are poverty, job loss, divorce and economic hardships.
People can support the cause by donating to local shelters, volunteering and engaging with local government officials.