Opinion | What responsibility do we have for CU’s homeless?

Ismail+Ahmed+is+sophomore+in+ACES+%28left%29+and+Abdallah+Marzouki+is+also+a+sophomore+who+is+in+engineering+%28right%29+and+they+share+their+thoughts+on+homelessness.+

James Hoeck

Ismail Ahmed is sophomore in ACES (left) and Abdallah Marzouki is also a sophomore who is in engineering (right) and they share their thoughts on homelessness.

By Nathaniel Langley, Opinions Editor

One stroll down Green Street is enough to register C-U’s silent yet present homeless plight.

Subsequently, as members of the community, we must reflect and consider what duty we possess in mitigating this predicament and protecting these fellow persons. The corresponding answers follow what several community members believe is our responsibility for the C-U homeless:

Natalya Miralaeff, second-year law student

“We have a lot.”

“There’s a lot of food insecurity in this community, unfortunately. The U of I community owes a lot to those people just because the school has brought in so much to this town that we kind of forget the surrounding community when it isn’t just college students or alumni.”

“So I think that with the money we’re given, instead of making big apartment buildings, it would be great to be able to give it back to the community.”

Jonathan Brown, alumni

“To make sure they feel like people.” When asked about possible policies or solutions, Brown elaborated, “Greet and speak — that simple.”

Courtney Richardson, graduate student

“Responsibility to at least see the homeless or those home insecure. See how we can help within our own ability whereas just connecting with other community or existing community efforts that’s going on. Reading the signage we see when people ask for help.”

“The first step would be to just … see other people and go from there.”

Abdallah Marzouki, sophomore in engineering

“It is out of our control — but … we could … hold an event or spread more awareness about the homeless. Because if you walk down Green Street, especially late at night, you’ll see a good amount of homeless people set up in front of McDonald’s or set up in front of those stores.”

“My personal opinion, there’s not much that we can do, but if we could spread awareness, try to raise money, go out of our way to set up charity or funds, it would definitely be better.”

Ismail Ahmed, sophomore in ACES

“I agree.” Ismail, who sat beside Abdallah, remarked. “Especially at night when I see a lot of people on Green not even acknowledging homeless people, sometimes that makes me upset. I try to at least smile at them, and at least make them feel like they’re acknowledged.”

“Not only that, I’ve heard the food pantry is a great place to donate food for the homeless as well. Honestly, spreading more awareness and, I guess, having more events like he (Abdallah) said would provide for the homeless.”

Yuritzy Tello, junior in AHS
“There should be more resources for people that might need it — maybe like a shelter. Places that they can go to and places where they can go and get resources.”

“I don’t know if there’s a resource place on campus where they can go and ask for the different resources this university provides or that there’s available in the community. That might be helpful. And maybe getting the word out and spreading information about where those resources are located and how they can get access to them.”

A common thread of basic charity and recognition ties these widespread opinions together.

Still, community members understand that those home insecure are our fellow residents. Additionally, as most of us have the option to enter and exit C-U as we please, those that remain on Green Street continually await sincere help.

Nathaniel is a junior in LAS.

[email protected]