Perhaps, if we give away tents to everyone on the streets, we could hide them. We would just see their shadows. It is hard to put a face on a shadow. Shadows are easier to stereotype. They are easier to forget after we drive by them. Shadows sleeping in a pup tent are easier to label as lazy, drunks, or criminals.
Tag Archives: homelessness
I think that we sometimes spend too much time and creative energy on “helping” people who are homeless, rather than simply “housing” people who are homeless. The real solution is to provide real homes for people within our homeless population.
Single-mother families are nearly five times more likely than married-couple families to fall below the poverty line and poverty is the number-one cause of child homelessness.
Do we market our agencies at any cost—even if it means reinforcing inaccurate stereotypes of homelessness?
It seems to me that if average American wages are not high enough to pay for the average rent—in the long run, all of our efforts to house those who are currently homeless will not end homelessness. We will simply be treading water.
Today, I wonder why America—a society that is so sophisticated, wealthy, and compassionate—doesn’t pick up its lost humanity on the streets and connect them with housing and with the community of humanity.
Imagine if you were left-handed and homeless. When you tell the social worker you are a southpaw, she explains that bathrooms in the shelter are only for right-handed people. The response of these homeless shelters that bar transgender people is just as absurd as if they were banning people who were left-handed.
People like Clark, who have been sleeping on the streets for years, need an immediate housing solution… tonight. A bridge to a shelter bed that could very well be a former prison.
Four years after my homeless count blog post, sadly, we are still counting individuals and families living out on the streets that have fallen through the cracks of society.
“Anyone can be homeless. Homelessness is like a prison without the keys. Society needs to care enough to come up with those keys.”