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Re: “The helpers need help

Many think of Homelessnes as a problem. It is not so much a problem as it is the end result of a problem. Also we like to think that all homeless individuals have the same problems of mental illnes and substance abuse. However, there are other social and personal problems that have an end result of homelessness, and it is unfortunate when agencies such as RAP try to put all homeless individuals into the same identity box of substance abusers who are mentally ill.

There are homeless people who ended up homeless because they were victimized by others. Some have had all that they owned taken from them by family members. One man that I know became homeless because he became the victim of computer fraud and identy theft. I became homeless when my husband walked out of his life and took all of our possessions with him. I was at the time a woman over fifty, unable to work due to disabilities, and economically dependent upon him. I have met people who became homeless when they had their jobs phased out, and had no other job skills. One woman I met became homeless due to a house fire. Some have become homeless due to physical illness that would not allow them to work but were unable to quallify for SSI quickly enough to prevent the loss of all that they had.

RAP and other agiencies do very good work; but we must, as a society, stop thinking in such simplistic ways and quit thinking of all homeless individuals as male alcoholic derilicts...because the fact is that the majority of homeless people are NOT substance abusing mentally ill men. We have to begin "seeing" the elderly, the women, the children, the displaced, and the victimized as homeless also. Moreover, we need to find ways to help them that acknowledege their individual life tragedies in respectful and compassionate ways.

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Posted by Priestesscrone on 01/10/2010 at 12:24 PM

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