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"The Homeless: An Invisible Minority" Essay

1398 words - 6 pages

During my first ever trip to Starbucks with my friends, I bought a coffee worth more than five dollars. That is more than some homeless people spend in a week. I spent it all on a drink that I didn't even finish. "There is increasing inequality of incomes and a widening gap between the rich and the poor" (Nunez 367). In our economy some people can afford to buy a five-dollar cup of coffee every day while others would spend that amount of money on five separate meals. To redeem ourselves for our frivolous behaviour that day at Starbucks, or perhaps due to it, my friends and I bought some treats from their snack bar to give away to the homeless. The people we gave them to were very grateful; I felt guilty, standing there drinking my venti frappacino. This was my first time giving to someone on the street, and my first time looking a homeless person in the eye. Usually I look away so they won't ask me for money and I won't have to deny them. "The stereotypical view of homeless people portrays them as passive, lazy, disaffiliated, and disempowered"(Boydell et al. 26). I believed the stereotypes: homeless people are lazy; they will spend any money you give them on drugs; and if you help them they will never help themselves. However, no one deserves to be homeless and sometimes people do need a little help.People busily walk down the sidewalk every day, hardly anyone even glancing at a person sitting in a doorway panhandling. The individual is sidestepped like a mud puddle, avoided as a nuisance. The social isolation that homeless people experience on a day to day basis is what originally leads them to become homeless. The article by Morrell-Bellai et al. looks at a study of homeless people in Toronto. It focuses on why people become homeless and why some of those individuals remain homeless. In society, when someone loses their job and has no other means of support such as family, friends, or government aid, they become one of the growing population of homeless people. Events concerning the individual are the micro-level factors contributing to homelessness. Craft-Rosenberg's article focuses on the health of homeless individuals. "In many cases illness and disability lead to unemployment, loss of income, and subsequent loss of housing, which results in homelessness" (866). Others are laid off or have mental breakdowns. Divorce may lead to homelessness in some cases where one spouse is the major breadwinner. Morrell-Bellai and craft-Rosenberg agree that the event that leads a person to become homeless is usually traumatic, and many homeless people suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Macro-level factors in becoming homeless are those which apply to society as a whole and our economy. For example, there are simply not enough jobs to go around and not enough affordable housing units. Poverty, low wages, and public assistance cutbacks also contribute to homelessness on the macro-level (Morrell-Bellai et al. 582).Morrell-Bellai and Ralph Nunez...

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