I Hold The Torch To: Civic Integrity

Marc Manguray, NLC


It was a late-January night in Downtown Los Angeles. Headlights danced around the dark corners as the harsh dry Californian wind brushed up against Dave’s coarse neck. The chilly breeze prompts him to snuggle closer in the half-torn dirty sheet he calls a sleeping bag. Beside him were two individuals he met earlier that day at a local soup kitchen. Unfortunately, the three were unable to get a spot at the local shelter that night and was forced to fight the odds out in the cold concrete in Skid Row. I, Marc Manguray, pass by homeless people like Dave and his friends every day, and I can’t help but wonder how I could do my part to help them. Like millions of Americans, I am very fortunate to have never known the pain of being homeless, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore it, because it IS a bigger problem than we think and it could happen to ANYONE. Consider this…

  • The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty states that approximately 3.5 million people, 1.35 million of them children, are likely to experience homelessness in a given year. These numbers are likely to be higher due to the methodology of the study.
  • The most commonly cited causes for homelessness according to 2008 U.S. Conference of Mayors study are Lack of Affordable Housing, Poverty, Unemployment, Substance Abuse, and Mental Illness. A lot of these stem from the lack of social services, which could help prevent people from landing into homelessness in the first place.

Knowing these things, I hold my torch to the improvement and continual support for Homeless Assistance Programs and local organizations that help homeless people transition back into working society. So now ask yourselves:

  • In your opinion, what is the primary cause of homelessness in your community?
  • Would you help out a homeless friend / family member, even if they continued to display the same behavior that caused them to be homeless, if their behavior was contributing to their situation? Why?
  • How can you help improve the homelessness issue and help people like Dave get back on their feet?


Learn all about “I Hold the Torch,” the Integrity Week 2015 Initiative of the NLC! Hold the torch, meet the challenge, and get involved as student leaders on your campus, all across the ‪#‎NSCSnation! http://bit.ly/1zwE11K