EVANSVILLE, Ind. — According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report, approximately one in six Americans live in poverty, and Indiana’s poverty rate is higher than the national average. Furthermore, on any given night, around 500 people in Evansville, Indiana, are homeless – living in shelters, transitional housing facilities, cars, or tents.
To raise awareness of homelessness and its impact in Evansville, the United States, and the world, Donnie Gaston of Clark recently participated in Box City at the University of Evansville. Gaston is majoring in Political Science.
On the evening of Monday, Oct. 3 (World Habitat Day), approximately 135 college students built box shelters, listened to community speakers share personal stories of homelessness, and learned how local nonprofit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity are addressing the issue. Students then had the option of spending the night in their shelters.
“While participating in Box City could never give someone an accurate taste of living on the streets or being homeless, the event’s goal was to create compassion and a call to action through education and understanding,” said Calvin Wertman, event organizer and residential coordinator for the university’s Hale Hall. “The sleep-out’s true purpose was for students such as Donnie Gaston to step outside their comfort zone, reflect on all that they have, and consider how they can help address the issue of homelessness. We hope that this event has encouraged students to make a difference by getting involved in UE’s Habitat for Humanity chapter or other community efforts to end homelessness.”
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