Housing: an invaluable, underappreciated resource


Molly Zupan

A photo of Special Sections Editor Molly Zupan’s childhood home, where many memories were made and her life began.

By Molly Zupan, Special Sections Editor

In my high school psychology class, my teacher showed us Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The levels of need and their components all made sense to me.

First, people need physiological satisfaction with food, water, warmth and rest. Second, people need safety and security. Third, people need to feel a sense of belonging with intimate relationships and love. Fourth, people need healthy self-esteem and experiences of accomplishment. And fifth, people need to feel they are achieving their full potential, with opportunities to engage in creativity.

When my teacher explained this, my initial response was, ‘Sweet, I have most of those things … I’m good.’ Since then, I’ve learned a lot, and I am relieved to say my perspective and understanding of these needs has matured.

Over the past few years of my life, I have taken courses at the University which have changed my life for the better. I have read articles and books which have opened my eyes to a variety of difficulties I have never dealt with. I have interacted with people who have gone through hell-like experiences and made it out alive. And with each, I have reflected.

I have met passionate people who devote their time to teaching future generations about the struggles of the lower and middle classes, and the flaws in our laws and policies which push people and families down.

And I am so grateful.

I have had food, water, shelter, clothing, safety and everything else for my entire life. I lived in the same house for 20 years and I spent that time laughing, growing and learning, without worry or concern about the well-being of my family or myself.

I have an incredible family and loyal, kind friends. I am in college, pursuing greater education, in a field I love. I have access to many resources and opportunities, and I rarely feel threatened. I find comfort and confidence in various environments that make me feel welcomed and appreciated amongst classmates, co-workers, friends and family.

And I am so grateful. But, I am most grateful for my access to housing.

It has given me so many things, such as a space to relax, a space to create and a space to live. It has given me focus and direction. More than anything, it has given me a place to belong. Without housing, my life would be turned upside down; it would be something much less. I would be someone else and I wouldn’t have a majority of what I have now.

There are millions of people who don’t have housing and some of them are closer to you than you think. There are people who have to move from house to house, people who have lost their homes and people who spend most nights on the sidewalk you walk on. What do these people have if they don’t have adequate housing?

The next time you walk in your door, take a deeper step. Recognize the value and opportunity in what you have, especially in the roof sitting above your head and walls surrounding and promoting your well-being.

Housing is essential, but it is not guaranteed. Cherish it.

Molly is a junior in FAA.

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