What do we make of the Homeless?
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How do you perceive the homeless, are they a nuisance, or are they just a victim of circumstance? People are either dismissive to them, or are helpful to them, then rarer, the ones who see them not as victims, but criminals. While it may seem nice to give to them in their time of need, not all are victims. They can look at you with some being the master of sob stories of a nasty divorce, being used and thrown away, or just cast from the military once their job was complete. However, some have cast this upon themselves from excessive drug abuse as well as heavy alcoholism, and with what you give them, just may be used for their fix.
Even though most of the homeless have become drunks or drug addicts once they are forced into homelessness, but sometimes even well before it had occurred. However, it still makes it difficult between those who have just been given a very bad deal in their life, and those who do it through self-destructive tendencies, which still doesn’t make it easier to discern the two. That’s why we act as those in the UK have, Inspector Coates said “that the first thing the police do when they find someone begging is to identify why they were begging. If they find that addiction is the underlying problem, then they will try to get them help and will give them a warning for begging. Nonetheless, if they find that the only reason the person is begging is to make easy money, then they will try to prosecute” (Lines 16-17) which allows the homeless to get the actual help they need whether or not they truly want it. I believe this may be the course of action we should be following, However, many like to claim this as being cruel to them, that some do drugs since they put on the streets, so how are we supposed to help them then?
So, let’s say that we were to simply give all homeless benefits which we actually do now, but not all are actually getting some of the benefits they deserve. As found in a study by the NHCHC in 2011, they notice something interesting, “Nearly 16 percent of the non-institutionalized U.S. population is disabled, yet people with disabilities constitute over 40% of people who are homeless in America.1,2 Diminishing affordable housing, depressed wages, higher unemployment, and decreased access to health insurance coverage over the past two decades has placed an increasing number of individuals and families with disabilities at risk of homelessness, and makes leaving homelessness more difficult as well.” (1-2) which shows that not only are just homeless not receiving some of the benefits they need, but over 40% are simply homeless due to varying disabilities. Which many will say we can’t give out anything else, but as we all know there are different types of disabilities from mental to physical. So, are really all of them completely helpless? No, which we must also see that we also can’t shove every disabled into the workplace but need to understand these people whom we ignore.
Well, just who are some of these people we see and may even show to our youth and threaten them with that person that they see as “filth”. Well, most couldn’t be wrong on that assumption as a study by Goldrick-Rab who discovered that, “Overall the study concluded 36 percent of college students say they are food insecure. Another 36 percent say they are housing insecure, while 9 percent report being homeless. The results are largely the same as last year's survey, which included fewer students.” (9-13) which we can see that while we assume that those, we see poor or homeless are not as lazy as we like to think. If you had gone to college or even had heard of it have known for it to be expensive. So, the sad truth being that even if you can make it to college you may not even succeed in life, so instead of us criticizing them as if they are the failure, we try to understand them?
Now, while we see many hardships of everyday people from, homelessness, and the unemployed. As we may still treat them as just simple “filth” we may not know everything about everyone, and their life story. Perhaps instead of seeing them as just a nuisance, but as a person. We could just might see past just their appearance, it may lead to an even larger workforce for many of the growing industries of today, but the question is, will we ever try?