Life of Homeless Men in Urban Cities

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| | |The Life of Homeless Men in Urban Cities | |Joanna Fils-Aime | | | |Washington Adventist University | |12/3/2012 |

|This document will discuss the issues surrounding homelessness in our society today and in history. It contains the observations made by the | |author on this particular population as well as research found pertaining to this population. |

Introduction

What does it mean to be homeless? Homeless is not just a category for the people living on the streets and drinking their way into oblivion. To be homeless is to be a part of an ever growing culture. The homeless are a group of people that have different stories and backgrounds yet relate to each other because they know the struggle. The purpose of this paper is to abandon the ideology that homeless people are lazy, good-for-nothing beggars that choose not to better themselves. This paper will help shed a positive light on what is known to be a negative lifestyle and advocate for those without a voice.

Coalition for the Homeless

The agency I visited was a branch of Coalition for the Homeless which is a non-profit organization that works to help the homeless as well as those at risk return to self-sufficiency and independence. One of the programs offered for single men is transitional housing that requires them to remain drug and alcohol free, perform various types of chores, and receive support in finding employment as well as permanent housing. I visited the Webster House in Washington DC and attended their weekly house meeting. The Webster House is one of the transitional homes for men offered by the agency. The house meeting is where the 12 men of the house discuss and give updates on their individual lives with each other as well as the director of the house and the social worker that handles their cases.

As I listened and observed these men, I was awestruck. My first impression was that these guys would be hardcore and tough, not truly caring about their status but simply looking for a handout. I have never been so wrong in my life. These men were sincere and genuine when it came to talking about their struggles. They discussed a great deal of politics and the economy that I had been completely unaware of. They shared their feelings of hurt because of the stigma that is associated with homelessness. They even encouraged me to never give up on my education or dreams because those are the very things they let go of that left them in the position they are now in. I was greatly inspired.

The issues that their population faces cannot be easily addressed. It all boils down to the government and creating more jobs and housing, something that will never happen overnight. Some of the men have records that prevent them from being able to find stable employment. The Institute of Medicine (1989) discusses the causes of homelessness as such:

emphasizes homelessness as the result of the failures in the support and service systems for income maintenance, employment, corrections, child welfare, foster care, and care of mental illness and other types of disabilities. Homeless people in this view, are people with the...
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