Listening To The Homeless Provides Limited Information

It has been an activity of homeless advocates for years, especially of the political activist type, to cajole people into listening to the homeless and their stories of life on the streets. They do so with the belief that in giving homeless people the opportunity to voice their experiences, that the public will become better educated about street life, and that policy makers will make better decisions on how to deal with homelessness issues.

I have learned, though, from my many years experience living with homeless people, that most homeless are just as ignorant about homelessness as non-homeless people are. And they are unwilling to face some hard facts about their own homelessness, mostly because these facts potentially put them in an unfavorable light.

As much as non-homeless people believe certain myths about homelessness, so to do homeless people believe myths about their own homelessness. And often it is the homeless themselves who perpetuate those myths.

This is not to say that everything that homeless people say about their experiences is incorrect, inaccurate, or biased. But what most homeless people say about homelessness should not be taken at face value either. when talking to homeless people about homelessness it would be wise to vet homeless people to determine if they have given serious consideration to their homeless situation, and also determine the extent to which they are willing to be honest, and whether they have the ability to discern the truth of their situation.

Homeless people can tell some exciting, harrowing, depressing, pitiful or otherwise entertaining stories about street life, but when it comes to telling the truth about the causes and effects of their own homelessness they are often less than forthcoming.

Look for homeless people who understand this concept, and who have worked their way past their own fears and prejudices, and who have come to accept their own culpability, as well as the other issues that have lead to their homelessness . And, listen to those homeless people the most.


About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless
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