Attitude Check: Homelessness

A lot of what I am learning in my social work class indicates that a many of the problems in our world are a result of oppression in the form of institutionalized discrimination. This is really hard to change, especially if we contribute through our own prejudice. By reading about one of these forms of oppression- laws that make life more difficult for people who are homeless, I realized that my own attitude was prejudiced Therefore, I could not affect change in this area until I changed my own perception. Here are some facts that contributed to my attitude check, hopefully they will help you conduct one as well. People who are homeless deserve dignity, not shame.

1. Zoning laws make it so helpful organizations, such as shelters, can only be constructed in certain areas. Many consider this to be a form of legal segregation.

2. In a New England study, the rate of involvement in pro-social activities, like volunteering, was identical for the homeless population and the population with tenured housing.

3. Many times, when a homeless person is evicted from the area they are living, all of their personal belongings are destroyed.

All of this information comes from the article Hate Crimes Against the Homeless: Warning-Out New England Style by Sandra Wachholz of the University of Southern Maine Criminology Department. I hope it helps you think through this issue in a new light, as it did me.

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