Helping St. Louis

A Blog About Helping Each Other

What’s up with mocking the homeless?

Posted by Schevus on March 25, 2009

I normally do not like to draw attention to bad posts, but this post pushed me over the edge on this topic. I realize this post is intentionally overblown and inflammatory, but I have seen several serious posts along this line recently. When did it become popular to publicly disparage and spout hatred against the homeless?

The big issue lately concerns homeless people having cell phones. Apparently some people view this as the most egregious offense a homeless person can commit. Let us evaluate some realities:

  • Homeless people do not have a home! Therefore, they cannot have a land-line phone. If they have a job, it is often important for them to have a way to be reached and since they cannot have a land-line, a cell phone is the other alternative. If they are seeking a job, it is also critical for potential employers to be able to contact them. This can be done through shelters and other social service agencies, but often employers are wise to this and may be prejudiced not to select a homeless person for a position.
  • Being homeless is dangerous! Violent crime rates are extremely high amongst the homeless population. In addition to this, the health of homeless people is generally poorer than normal. Thus it is important to be able to summon help in the case of a medical or other emergency. Having a cell phone also enables homeless people to stay in touch with social services, making their transition off of the streets easier.
  • Some families will provide a cell phone to a homeless family member in order to be able to stay in contact with them.

As you can see there are very real, practical reasons for a homeless person to have a phone.

I also find the derogatory and stereotypical attacks on homeless people in that post to be absolutely disgusting. This is one of the most vulnerable groups of the population, and includes a large (and growing) number of families and children, not just “hobos, winos and bums.” The homeless need and deserve our help, not disdain, stereotypes, and insults.


4 Responses to “What’s up with mocking the homeless?”

  1. I would also like to add that a sizable chunk of the homeless are also veterans. Should we, as a society, really be ok with tearing down vets?

  2. Bill said

    As always its the individual that makes the difference. Some homeless need help and have been abandoned. Others started out on a Jack Kerouac road and never got off. Kerouac killed himself with booze at 47. Its the broken spirit that comes from having no roots that keeps many of these Homeless out there. But unless you want to befriend one and bring him home then you are worse than the guy cutting them down. Everytime you give the bum a dollar it reinforces his behavior of quitting life. Making life extremely painful for bums would heal half of them and kill the rest.
    The only solution is in there heads not yours. Best not to waste time on things you cannot change.

    • Schevus said

      “Its the broken spirit that comes from having no roots that keeps many of these Homeless out there.”

      The majority of the chronic homeless are afflicted with mental health and substance abuse issues. These serious matters have nothing to do with a “broken spirit.”

      “Everytime you give the bum a dollar it reinforces his behavior of quitting life.”

      I do not agree with your statement, but I also do not advocate straight cash donations to pan-handlers. I do however advocate professional supportive services that help get people in the proper state of mind if needed and back on their feet. More to the point, your statement is not relevant to the matter I have addressed in this post.

      “Making life extremely painful for bums would heal half of them and kill the rest.”

      This is a disgusting, detestable thought! I cannot properly express my exasperation that you uttered this statement. People are homeless because they are at rock bottom. They have no home, scarce food, often no contact with friends or family, and many suffer from medical issues as I have mentioned. You would wish further pain on these people who are already suffering so much?

      “The only solution is in there heads not yours.”

      For those homeless individuals with medical issues, this is exactly correct, but it’s apparent they cannot cope with those issues themselves. They need our help whether they know enough to ask for it or not.

      You speak as though all homeless fall into the category of the chronic homeless, but they are a small minority of the homeless population. Many, many homeless people are children, families, and individuals who have fallen on financial hard times and cannot maintain their housing. There is no broken spirit, they simply cannot pay their bills!!

      – Schev

  3. I agree with this. I don’t see the point of bashing anyone, let alone homeless people. >_<

    Also, I saw your comment on my blog but I am not sure how to contact you, so I left a reply comment on my blog. 🙂

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