In life we may have a few bumps in the road, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get past them successfully or learn from our mistakes. Imagine a homeless person that you see on the streets, holding up a cardboard sign with black expo marker writing on it, while all the vehicles drive by swiftly.
That person is homeless for reasons only they know, but yet we judge them based on their outer appearance and let that assumption rule over them being a normal person. Every form of life has their own book metaphorically, and we should never judge a book by its cover.
One possible definition, “A homeless person is someone who lacks a regular residence, and not an individual who is imprisoned”. Which seems fairly adequate, because individuals who are imprisoned have a place to stay every night and are fed on a regular basis. Opposed to homeless people who have neither food nor shelter.
Pondering on how many stereotypes we have on homeless people, when I went on a tour of a local homeless shelter the tour guide was explaining about how there are a few teenagers there. She explained how ashamed they are of being homeless and how they try to hide it from their school friends by wearing the most fashionable clothes available from the shelter.
Mainly because we emotionally make fun of those who don’t have as much as we do and judge them based upon their looks. This shows that even people around their teenage years are affected by homelessness and that we should treat them equally even if they’re homeless or don't necessarily have everything a normal teenager would.
As an example of a common situation that may happen regarding judgement based upon looks, in a book titled A Man Called Ove, it shares a story starting with Ove and his wife talking about money. Apparently Ove’s wife gave away money to a homeless person on the street, and Ove didn’t agree with that. Ove disagreed and said that the homeless man would buy an alcoholic beverage (Schnapps) with the money (pg.187). Ove’s wife told him that it’s none of their business what a “beggar” on the street does with the money that they give them.
This introduces the stereotype of how homeless people are alcoholics or drug addicts and the reason they are homeless is because they spend all of their money on these substances. So in other words, we say it's all their fault that they're homeless.
Overall, the stereotype of homeless people always having substance abuse of some sort is wrong, for those who are homeless could have many other reasons for being homeless. This ranges from their family conflict to experiences of abuse at an early age. Another reason, could be because of a psychiatric disorder, and any of these reasons could lead them to continue to fall into the deep pit of homelessness.
Considering the fact that everyone has their own story, metaphorically speaking we can’t judge a book by it’s cover or in other words, put the assumption on all homeless people to have some sort of substance abuse.
Leading me to my final point, a client of Sam’s once said “I walked around for years without a single key: a key to a car, a key to a house, a key to anything… I do not think people understand what a key typifies. It is something that belongs to you. It is something huge”. This quote points out the thing we all need to consider more, which is how grateful we should be for all the opportunities we are given in life because of the fact that we can go to a place called home.
This client of Sam's shows us that we need to be grateful for what we have and most importantly not tear other people down for not having the same possessions as we do. By not making assumptions like Ove did upon that homeless man, and as we all have made once in our lifetime, all homeless people should still be treated equally.