Reps from Bethesda Project, Horizon House and Pathways to Housing.

Dysfunctional families, distrust of the system, the lack of affordable housing — there are so many situations that could influence why a person can become homeless that others might not consider as they walk past those experiencing it.

“I think we tend to look for easy answers because homelessness is horrible and scary and you want that easy fix,” said Sarah Erdo, volunteer and community engagement manager at Bethesda Project. “The easy answer, I think, is the lack of affordable housing and the cycle of poverty.”

Bethesda Project and other local homeless services organizations hosted a panel at the Legend Galleries called “Bringing Homelessness Home” last week as part of Young Involved Philadelphia’s State of Young Philly event series.

The panel discussed the many challenges and aspects of homelessness that laypeople may be unaware of while, appropriately, surrounded by artwork reading encouragements such as “Perseverance with Dignity” and “Signs of Hope,” part of the gallery’s National Homelessness and Hunger Week exhibit.

Often those who are experiencing the cycle of homelessness have stigmas attached to them and can be regarded as less than who they are — human beings.

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Dominique “Peak” Johnson is a North Philadelphia freelance journalist. He is one of the founding editors and writers of the North Philly Metropolis, blogger for The Huffington Post and contributing writer to numerous online publications. Click here to learn more about Peak.