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Reply #175: "the causes of homelessness ... " [View All]

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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-17-10 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #151
175. "the causes of homelessness ... "
The only one of those items on your list which is really substantially correct is chronic unemployment.

The idea that most homeless people are either mentally ill or addicts is a really harmful stereotype, and it's just not true.

It is true that Reagan dumped a whole lot of people who had been living in institutions onto the street in the 80s. Many of those people never should have been institutionalized to begin with, None of them had the living skills or support to survive on their own, so of course they ended up on the street. But that does not mean that 30 years later people who becomes homeless have a mental illness. That's absurd.

People in all walks of live are addicts. Saying that homeless people are addicts is a back-handed way of blaming homeless people for drug problems. Just like poor people are always being blamed for the crimes middle class and rich people commit. "God forbid" that people with money be held responsible for what they do.

The only cause of homelessness is not having enough money on a consistent basis to sustain a home. That means having a job with a consistent living wage, and not having family and friends to fall back on for temporary financial assistance when times are tough.

Many people can borrow a bit of money here and there in an emergency, and people in need often loan money back and forth around their family and friends as needed. The one who needs it now might be borrowing it soon, and vice versa. But isolated people, people who are alone, can't participate in these kinds of networks, and fall into homelessness more easily.

That means the more we have smaller families, only children of only children, with no extended family to call upon, where someone also may not be social enough to have a close network a friends to make up for the lack of a large family, people are at risk in hard times.

So unemployment, or underemployment, and family/social isolation are real causes of homelessness.

I'd have to see a study showing how common mental illness is among homeless people compared to the general public before I'd accept that as anything more than a bullshit stereotype. The same goes for addiction.
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