Talk Down

I understand why it happens, but that still doesn’t make it right. I was reminded recently of the treatment that all homeless people face when seeking assistance from service providers.

It really doesn’t matter who you are, or what you as an individual have, or have not, done. Practically every employee and volunteer of homeless service agencies is going to talk down to you. Their tone of voice, their choice of words, all show an overt distrust of you. You are treated like a criminal, whether or not you have committed any crime. And even if they don’t accuse you outright of doing something wrong, they treat you as if you are about to violate something or someone.

Even if a person starts out their homeless experience without a chip on his/her shoulder, the experiences they have while homeless will most likely change that condition.

Besides that, there is a condescending tone that homeless service workers have, that exposees their negative attitude towards the homeless. They assume that the homeless person they are talking to is less of a person, is beneath them, and is ultimately a burden. And again that happens regardless of who the homeless person is, and what they have done or not done, regardless of whether they’ve done something to be treated with way, or not.


About Kevin Barbieux

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

One comment

  1. I couldnt stand hearing any of my co-workers use that condescending tone of voice to my clients, and i was very sensitive to it, often noticing it even when clients didnt. I can tell you also, that not every employee uses it. I'm certain that i didnt (clients and other co-workers gave me feedback), and a few others around me didnt as well, especially the instructors. We treated them with compassion, respect, and the dignity that they deserved.


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