A Chinese woman recently took to TikTok to express how shocked she was after seeing the staggering number of homeless people living on the streets in Portland, Ore. after she moved to the U.S. two years ago.
“Stray people”: In a video posted a week ago by @lialiu_chinese, the TikTok user discussed some of the “things in America that Chinese don’t understand.” She raised concerns about the growing problem of homelessness in the country.
@lialiu_chinese Why are there SO MANY homeless ppl in America??! #lialiu #language #languagelearning #chinese #learnchinese #tutor #edu #learn #learnontiktok #todayilearned #hanyu #中文 #beijing #china #asian #mandarin #中国 #homeless #homelesspeople #culture #cultureshock #why #how #america #americavschina ♬ original sound – lialiu_chinese
- Speaking in the video, @lialiu_chinese recalls how her brain “exploded” after her husband told her that the tents they saw on the streets had people living inside them. Her husband explained that there is one shelter where homeless people can stay, but many of them choose to live on the streets because “there’s certain rules to follow and they may have drug or mental issues.”
- “When I was in China, I saw videos like this all the time. Some Americans rescue stray cats, stray dogs… what about stray people? Do you want to give them a home?” the TikTok user asks in her video. She also mentions that her friends advised her to avoid homeless people for her safety.
- She then compares the situation in the U.S. with that in China. She says that Chinese authorities help displaced people return to their hometowns, where they are placed in shelters and receive social welfare.
- She adds that unlike in the U.S., where residents need an address when applying for most jobs, anyone in China — even people without homes — can look for work.
- “For homeless people, they don’t have an address so they can’t find a job… in China, you just need an ID, you can find a job, like you can be a waiter, [and] they provide food, lodging and salary, though not gonna be much,” the TikTok user says.
A growing concern: Oregon reportedly has the seventh-highest number of displaced people in the country at around 15,876 in 2021, as per World Population Review, citing data gathered by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. California ranked the highest at 151,278, while Wyoming has the least at 548.
- Last year, the National Alliance to End Homelessness reported more than 580,000 displaced people across the country immediately before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Most of the homeless people recorded were individuals (70%), while the rest were “people living in families with children.”