Although there have been improvements due to the strategy of preventing homelessness and creating housing for those in need, the issue has still not been resolved for the long-term. It seems that such programs are able to help a few by patching up some of the imminent and immediate problems at hand but are unable to create a program that can fully execute a solution that ends homelessness for good.
I believe that in order to find an effective solution we – society as a whole – need to re-examine and re-evaluate our moral standards, we need to let go of our individualistic mind-frame, and we need to treat homeless people as someone part of our community. There are many different circumstances that lead to homelessness. More than often society looks at homeless people as dirty, no good drunks who choose this lifestyle. Although there may be some who do choose homelessness as an ideology on how to live their lives, I believe that most of them are the product of hard circumstances that they were not able to deal with on their own. Truly our social systems and us who are not homeless are not equipped to be there to help them before they fall to the deep end. We might not be able to fully help those on the streets today, but we can create a system that prevents homelessness before it gets to that level. By facing and re-evaluating our moral standards as a society we need to aim to become more compassionate toward others. By challenging and identifying our perceived barriers we can get to the bottom of our underlying assumptions. Doing so we as a society would be able to find out why do wee feel the way we do, find out if we could re-examine whether our core beliefs toward homelessness are true or not and learn whether we are able to change our way of thinking.
Many of the people on the streets come from horrible backgrounds. Runaways from abusive relationships, drug addicts due to unresolved childhood issues or economical hardships such as unpaid medical bills and so on. Society cannot look at homelessness as a binary issue. Homeless people are neither bad, nor good. They are people with a baggage that might have become too big to carry in the social structure that we need to bind by. And we need to because if we don’t, the system spits us out right onto the street to fend for ourselves. In order to turn this way of thinking around, we need to evaluate the system itself that we so rigidly hold onto. Life as people look at it is very binary; therefore it is not surprising that the issue of homelessness is looked upon just the same. Would society be able to turn around and face the challenges we all feel deep within or do we go on about life as is simply because this is how it has always been? In order to get closer to a solution for homelessness, we need to first dissect our beliefs and our system to move forward.
It seems that societies have always been talking about ending homelessness. However, by ending they mean not seeing homeless people in the close proximity to their communities where they don’t want to see them. It is as if they don’t see them, they don’t exist. But they do exist and they live under bridges and in parks under very harsh circumstances right now as I am writing this paper. The first solution should not be that we place them somewhere we don’t see them. This first response to the problem tends to rely on common assumptions that are most likely not valid. We as a society need to look further and beyond the black and white options of homelessness. We cannot accept that homelessness is part of life. We have to look beyond and find a solution together, so when it comes to us living on the street we know we will not have to.
When people look at homeless people on the street, they quickly put them in the homeless category. People living on the street are homeless. And to most its an annoyance in their perfect lives, it is an eyesore walking or driving on the streets. But this category is not fair to all the human lives living on the streets. They are someone’s child too, maybe someone’s parents, maybe that man on the corner asking for money has been a long-time friend of a friend. But we will never find out, simply because the category homelessness defines a stereotype that lives so vividly in societies collective mind. It somehow never occurs to most that it is our fault as well. Maybe if we considered it as human issue or a life issue we would more likely to want to find a solution, out of consideration and not because we want them off our own streets.
Homelessness, like so many other issues are very complex because it requires us to re-examine our entire social structure and our core beliefs. Not only is this complex but also hard as old habits are hard to break and because we take things for granted in our lives that we were taught so long ago. In order to find a solution to any social issue, we first need to acknowledge that our old ways will not do anymore, that a human life is worth protecting when faced with hardships and that prevention is the key that all of us should support every single day. By not looking for solutions when it already happened rather then have sound systems in place for preventing it from ever happening to anyone, we are able to open up our minds and look for all the areas that need improvement within our social structure.
Video by rethinkhomelesness