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Ending the Stigma of Homelessness There have always been different social and economic classes. The country was built and made strong by people of all backgrounds and class levels. The country’s recent economic downturn has widened the gap between the upper class and middle class. People who were once comfortably in the middle class are struggling. A larger number of people are finding themselves dealing with poverty and homelessness. In order to address the increase in the un-housed population, we need to rethink how we view homelessness. The dictionary definition of homelessness is not having a home, but many people define homelessness by the stereotypes. Rather than as individuals, the homeless are seen and lumped together under the same description: dirty, dangerous, addicts, mentally ill, and too lazy to get a job. These exact stereotypes are making it difficult for a homeless shelter to be built in Olympia, Washington. Residents do not want to see homeless people on the streets, but they are fighting the building of a shelter. An article on Thinkprogress.com quoted a senior citizen as saying, “I don’t want to come home in the evening and have to worry about being mugged on my way to the door” (Leber, 2014). Instead of concentrating on what we think we know about homeless people we need to take a look at the actual facts. 1Matters, an organization working for and with the un-housed explains that the chronically homeless make up 15% of the homeless population, but they represent 100% of the homeless stereotype. The National Coalition for the Homeless declares that 44% of homeless people have at least one part-time to full-time job. (February, 2012). A large percentage of the homeless population is families with children.... ... middle of paper ... ...teen days in advance, for any gatherings of twenty-five or more people (Couch, 2014). The city officials have stated this is not directly related to any particular organization, but to groups who gather to feed and aid the homeless and hungry, this is bad news. One organization called Food Not Bombs, says they have been feeding the homeless for over ten years. They regularly have greater than twenty-five people gathering around. They are considering legal action against the city (Couch, 2014). Homelessness is a wide spread concern in America. It does not discriminate between men, women, or children. There are hundreds of thousands of people sleeping in their car, in parks, shelters, and couch hopping every night. This is a complex issue without an immediate solution. Unless the general public’s definition of homelessness is redefined, a solution will never be found.

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