It feels like war. Homelessness, that is.
And I don’t mean the 1960s “War on Poverty” initiative. Although, for many advocates today, it seems as though the government and private sector have joined together for the first time to truly combat homelessness throughout the country. That’s why homeless numbers are trending down – albeit slowly – nationwide.
Despite these unprecedented national efforts, homelessness still feels like a turf battle. You could call it a war.
The theater of engagement consists of this country’s parks, streets, public libraries, alleys, bridges, riverbanks, beaches, business corridors, and hills. These are just an example of the turf occupied by people on the streets, but claimed by people who are housed.
Take New York City, for example. Their parks have become a battleground between “The Unhoused” (people who are banned from other locations and who flock to parks for refuge) versus “The Housed”(people who want to take their children to that same park but are fearful of the homeless).
Military terms such as “invasion” are typically used in public meetings around homelessness. “These people have invaded our park!” “We need to take back our streets!” Such conversations frame people without homes as foreign invaders seeking to conquer our precious land. Read More »