It is everywhere, yet it is unseen. Homelessness is a national epidemic which affects approximately 2% of the total population share of Michigan. Though this percentage is not as much as the 11% I used to see on the streets of my home state, New York, its effects are noticeable in the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan (United States, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 5). Over the course of three weeks, I have observed five regular and several wandering homeless people solely on State Street and East Liberty Street. However, homelessness is not a one-sided issue based only on affected individuals, it is also influenced by notions of the homeless from the non-homeless. There is an overwhelmingly negative connotation, a stigma, of homelessness due to misrepresentation. In effect, public perceptions affect how homeless are treated by other institutions and ultimately affect how efficiently homelessness is resolved.
Though there is a reported sympathetic view toward the homeless, there definitely seems to be a dominant negative connotation of the homeless. First, according to national opinion surveys, the public seems sympathetic to the homeless. According to a recent national poll conducted in March 2013, 43% of surveyed Americans “personally worry a great deal about hunger and homelessness” while only 25% worry “a little or not at all” (Gallup). In fact, other polls additionally show that a majority of surveyed individuals are so supportive of the homeless to the extent that they are “willing to pay higher taxes in order to help people who are homeless” and “support the construction of housing for the homeless in their own neighborhoods” (Buck, Toro, and Ramos 153). However, my primary research directly contradi...
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...omelessness Revisited. Annual review of sociology 36 01 Jan 2010: 501. Annual Reviews. 29 Oct 2013.
Lee, Barrett A. “Homelessness.” Encyclopedia of Sociology. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2001. 1202-1209. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.
Lubrano, Alfred. “Reacting to the Poor - Negatively.” The Inquirer [Philadelphia] 6 Aug. 2013: n. pag. Philly. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.
Media & Culture: Mass Communication in a Digital Age. 9th ed. N.p.: n.p., 2014. Print.
Rosenthal, Rob. “Homelessness.” Encyclopedia of Community. Ed. Karen Christensen and David Levinson. Vol. 2. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Reference, 2003. 596-600. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.
United States. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The 2012 Point in Time Estimates of Homelessness. Rept. 1. OneCPD Resource Exchange. Web. 17 Oct. 2013.
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