Stereotypes About Homeless People That Just Aren't True

Stereotypes About Homeless People That Just Aren't True

How the world sees them is not the truth.
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It's not every day we think of ourselves as privileged. Living as a middle class, white person from San Jose, CA, I am very privileged. Yet, I am surrounded by those who are not. The homeless population in San Jose has grown enormously and is one that is not treated very fairly. The city has forced them out of their camps and has them constantly moved. Local organizations, food banks, and churches with open doors are just a few places where the homeless are given help. What would be even greater is to help them not just with shelter and food, but with comfort and a sense of belonging. It's a struggle living on the streets in such a rich and booming city as San Jose.

It is eye-opening to see how many people are homeless in my hometown. Many homeless people in a documentary called, "Exodus from the Jungle," mentioned how the city destroyed their homes and families by evicting them numerous times from their camps. They also talked about how they are humans too and how we shouldn't profile them and see them as not people. One man said, "We are not dogs, we just live like them." That really hit me hard because they deserve social justice and don't deserve harsh treatment constantly pushed upon them. They have children and grandchildren, they have social lives, and they are no different from you or me. There are so many stereotypes of the homeless: they are mentally disabled, drug addicts, or even choose to live this way. Yes, there are quite a few who are those, but only about 10-20% of the homeless population are homeless due to them. Most of people without homes are homeless because of job loss or not being able to pay medical or home bills. Another man mentioned how you could be one paycheck away from losing your house. They didn't choose to be homeless. They aren't animals, they're human beings. They deserve the same respect and courtesy we give to everyone else.

After spending time working with homeless men and women in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, I have come to realize that these people are dedicated to their community and are willing to help each other out. A group from my school and I went to serve in that district of San Francisco; It’s perhaps the poorest neighborhood in the city. We served as volunteers for San Francisco City Impact, a ministry based in the Tenderloin that works to build and help the community. My team and I were sent to work in their beauty center and do street ministry. I know what you are thinking, no one likes street ministry, people yelling, "Let Jesus Christ into you heart or else you'll go to hell." It wasn't at all like that. We walked around the district, handing out bags of chips and just having regular conversations. If Jesus or God was brought up, we did some preaching, but we didn't force religion down their throats like stereotypical street-preachers would.

When were doing our street ministry, we met few memorable folks. One was named Eddie (seen below). He ran away from his home Mexico just the day before. He and his brother were part of the Mexican military, Eddie being a sergeant. At a routine checkpoint in Tijuana, Eddie and his brother discovered a truck full of cocaine. Things escalated quickly. The owners of the truck shot down his brother in attempt to escape federal charges. In fear of his life, Eddie ran away to safety. He left behind a home, a wife, and three children between the ages of 16 and 21. At the time, he was trying to get a job, but was homeless and broke. We bought him a few supplies at nearby liquor store, prayed for him, and sent him on his way.

Another man we met (seen below) didn't give his name, but he did tell us about his wife, Karen. She passed away five years ago due to overdose. Being temporary street-ministers, we reassured him that Karen is up in Heaven with God in a much better place. He would not stop repeating, "I don't care if she's in heaven or hell, I don't give a rat's ass where, I'm coming for her." This year would have been their 40th wedding anniversary.

These people are so grateful for what they have and never give up hope. If you ever see someone asking for money (or not), please don't hesitate to give them some money, some food, or even some of your time; Just have a conversation with them. All I ask is, is that you stop profiling homeless men & women and help a friend out. We are one in the same, we are all children of God, and we are all human beings. Stop judging and just love.

Cover Image Credit: Samantha Ledbetter

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6 Places in New York City Every "Friends" Fan Needs to Visit

Grab a cup of coffee at Central Park.
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As a Friends fanatic myself, I often wonder about the places in New York City featured in the various episodes and whether I could actually visit them. Most of them are fictional or no longer exist, but there are a few places you can go to reminisce about your favorite Friends moments. So, here are 6 places in New York City you definitely need to visit as a Friends fan.

1. The Apartment Building, Obviously

The building used for the exterior shot of the apartments in Friends is real, and is located at 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove Street in Greenwich Village. It's an obvious must-see.

2. The Pullitzer Fountain

This is the fountain that the friends danced around in for the iconic theme song, and it's located right in Central Park.

3. Bloomingdale's

This is the department where Rachel worked before she moved on to Ralph Lauren, where she met Joshua, and where she started her career in fashion.

4. The Plaza Hotel

This is where Monica and Chandler celebrated their engagement in The One WIth Monica's Thunder, and is actually really gorgeous.

5. The Central Perk Replica

While Central Perk isn't a real coffee shop, a pop-up replica opened up in 2014 on Lafayette Street and it's definitely a must-visit.

6. Chandler's Office

The fictional Chandler works in the real Solow Building, located on West 57th street.

Cover Image Credit: Fame Focus

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Remaining Optimistic In A Cloudy World Is Difficult, Yet So Imporant

We tend to take the biggest hits at ourselves rather than those who may be slandering us much worse.

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We are all constantly going through something and we can hide it all we want, but it's present. There are so many difficulties that life brings to the table and we try to push those away and focus on the things that we can control. With those trials and tribulations, we are presented with challenges that test us on multiple levels. It's so simple to beat yourself up about the things that may be negatively occurring in your life over and over. We tend to take the biggest hits at ourselves rather than those who may be slandering us much worse. We cloud our minds and our bodies with the negativity that we take from the world rather than the great things that we accomplish daily.

As life is difficult and situations may bring out the best and the worst in us, we need to see more of the positivity in the world and allow ourselves to bring that light into the world. At the moment there is so much darkness but the light that we project is so crucial in order to create the world that we aspire to see. It's so simple to think of what's wrong the world and what needs to be changed but it truly does start with the way that we think as well as how we perceive the world ourselves. There is a truth with the reality of the space around us, but there is a perception that comes with it.

Even just changing the way that we think about one thing during the day from negative to positive, we could allow so much more light into our lives. By lightening a perspective or thinking of a way to see something different, a simple decision could leave so much more of a positive impact on someone's life. We are all here for each other at the end of the day, and the more kindness that we let out, the more that we can gain from one another. At a younger age hearing "What you put out into the world is what you receive" was a foreign phrase to me, but over time I realized the importance of the full circle that we live in.

Everything goes around in a circle, relationships, friendships, thoughts, and perspectives. We allow these to frame our thoughts and lives due to the importance that they hold in the world. The more that we care and listen to others, it'll become simpler to adjust our own framework to personalize and emphasize our feelings and what we want to personally put in the world. It's so difficult to see such a negative world and wanting to create a light yet not know how. So remember that it starts with you and everything you say and do will always have the ability to create happiness and kindness around the world. As life gets hard, keep holding on to what you believe in and you'll see that it'll frame the world around you.

"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow."
— Helen Keller

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