A few years ago I began offering classes to teach basic HVAC skills to people who wanted to learn. A local High School (in Prince Georges County, immediately southeast of DC) asked me to meet with a group of Seniors who were interested in the course. The course was a hands-on crash in basic HVAC skills needed to get a job in the trade: How to braze & solder, how to wire thermostats, how to do a basic installation from start to finish. It was offered in a long 2 day course or over a few weekends at a more relaxed pace. The cost was very minimal, and those who learned the skills offered were immediately qualified for $15-$18/hr placement.
So, I went to the High School and gave my little talk, only to learn from the Guidance Counsellor who set up the session that about 6 of the 12-15 kids in the room were homeless.
Their families lived in shelters. This is not the poorest section of DC – this was the suburbs. There was no way they could afford even the minimal fee I charged for the class.
I was born and raised, and have lived most of my life, in this area. The revelation that such a high percentage of kids were homeless was a paradigm shifter.
All of that is to say that there is much around us that we do not see.