The next time you pass a homeless person on the street, try to envisage what really went wrong and why they ended up there. Dismissing all these people as failures, dropouts and drug addicts are grossly misleading. It is time to reflect on the real reasons for homelessness and look at individual stories to get a more rounded picture.
Here are some facts and stories to help us do just that.
1. They may be talented people.
There is so much stigma attached to the homeless that it is difficult to overcome it. One campaign has started to show homeless people with placards revealing their many talents, skills, and handicaps. Speaking several languages, biology graduates, recovering from open heart surgery, being born deaf, the range of stories is surprising.
2. They may be regarded as criminals in some states.
You might think that a homeless person would be assisted by the state or some local authorities. The reality is totally different. In some US states, authorities are cracking down on begging, homelessness, and loitering by making these criminal offenses. According to one report, at least 18% of US cities now regard sleeping in the open as a crime. This number is increasing.