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Homeless Now And Then Essay

851 words - 3 pages

Homeless Now and ThenThere is an ancient proverb that states "Judge not, lest ye be judged" (King James Version, Matt.7.1). There is a lot of truth to that statement. However, I would contend that it should say "Judge not, because you don't have enough information." Just as old as the proverb is a sub-culture in human society known as the homeless. I have my own experience with this group of people that has mingled through the fabric of humanity. My first childhood memory at is connected to these people. Not sure of my age at the time, I remember being in a place called Hillcrest Receiving Home. It was a type of orphanage in an old neighborhood in San Diego, California. The place was very crowded and I remember sleeping in a large shower room with newspapers for blankets. Experience with the homeless continued in my life, including the times our family shared our home with people who were displaced for countless reasons. Then, at the age of eleven, because of horrendous conditions in my household I decided to run away. I became a habitual runaway until I was emancipated at sixteen. Through the years I met many people who were without a home, and I have a place in my heart for their plight. Judgments and perceptions held by mainstream society will always drive the definitions, recognition, and status of people who are without homes, whether the contributing factors of homelessness are found in choice or circumstance,I have always been amazed by definitions and how they can change. In ancient history, people who traveled from place to place with no permanent residence were defined as hunter- gatherers. They made up the majority of societies. The title did not have any derogatory judgments and they were perceived as normal. Throughout history, there have been several nomadic societies. Moving forward to the time that I spent on the street, people who lived in society without an address were considered street people. Street people were a loosely knit community of people, who either chose to leave their homes or lost them through situations in their lives. Today these same individual and groups are described as homeless. They are perceived as victims or dropouts of society.The policies toward and recognition of hunter-gatherers, street people, and homeless have some similarities, but are, for the most part, quite different. The ancient homeless were accepted by groups around them, and often met and mingled seasonally for trade and social interaction. The street people were at their base a kind of grass roots movement, wherein...

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