- Politics and Social Issues»
- Economy & Government
How Does a Person Become Homeless?
Being rich, maybe famous, does not exempt you from hitting bottom and losing everything. The story is as old as The Book of Job in the bible, where God took all his riches away until he was homeless and penniless to test his faith in the Almighty. The story has since echoed throughout time and even today.
Of course, if one talks with homeless people, you will find that not all are or were drug addicts. Some were abused physically and mentally to such a degree they are not able to function or handle stress like "normal" people. Worse, are those who are educated, despite their appearence and smell, sometimes, well educated, that have just had too bouts with bad decisions and bad luck that over a period of time has battered their self esteem down to the point they just give up, thinking nobody gives a shit about them, no agency can help them and so on. The ones I have talked to have the same common thread to some degree. The thread is that if anyone encounters sufficient bad decisions and bad luck over several years in a row, they will drop out because all of their savings, investments, maybe love and support from others, unemployment and their extensions have been exhausted. By this time, they have hocked and sold whatever valuables they had, whether cars, computers, TVs etc.
Of course, those who have never had this event occur cannot even remotely relate to a homeless person. They think and ask, "you mean, you can't find some sort of job"? They seem to forget they are homeless. How will they eat, clean, sleep, get to work? They do not think that, what employer would hire them, even if they had proof the homeless guy had a BA degree from many years back. They seem to forget that an employer would never take a chance out of fear. What if the homeless person is 50 yrs, then age will come into play. The truth is, without some assistance and support they cannot evade the negative stigma, even if they appear to be "clean".
Today, I suspect, many people are either homeless or approaching it. Something they never in their wildest dreams thought would happen to them due to the economy. Lose a job, get unemployment until it runs out in six months, then apply for extensions, which you might not get. If you did, you have another six months, after which, it is gone. Many are still unemployed after a year, these are well educated people, yet cannot find jobs in their fields because of a host of related problems and all are not economic. A 50 yr old person trying to get a job at McDonalds who is well educated but down on their luck probably would not get it if a less educated person and younger applied for it. So, educated people don't always have it easy getting low paying jobs just to pay bills, meanwhile, their savings go down and down and down. At some point, their safety net is seriously threatened. So, they sell their car, TV, computers or high end stuff for money to keep going. Maybe they have already defaulted on the home loan and now threatened with eviction because their bank has taken it over.
Over a course of a few short years of bad economics and luck, many previously middle class people find themselves not in much of a better place than a poor or homeless person holding up a sign for money along the street. Yet, few passing by will give them a break and this includes most employers, so the spiral downwards continues battering the person's self esteem to the point the they give up. Having a BA degree in anything some 10-20 years ago means little more than the paper it is written on.
There is nothing worse than being well educated and one time a meaningful member of society that has become homeless because those that can help you think to themselves, "how can this happen"? They conclude that it must be something the homeless person did, something bad from the way they look and smell.
Sometimes, nothing could be further from the truth.