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By Merjaunie LenaPublished about a month ago 3 min read
Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

When you think of someone who is experiencing homelessness tell me what it is exactly you think of. If you said someone who is a drug addict, or someone who is lazy, or an alcoholic then you've come to the right story. All those things you just thought about when thinking of a homeless person is called stereotyping. For someone who has been working in an environment with homeless people I don't think like that anymore. I used to stereotype homeless people into those specific categories as well. But once I started working in a homeless community environment I stopped because it really opened up my eyes and my heart.

Why do we decide it's okay to stereotype homeless people under these categories only? What makes homeless people any less human than us? We are all the same, and just because they are experiencing something we aren't does not mean that they dont have any feelings or want to feel seen or heard or maybe just want some help. At the end of the day we don't know what it is this person or people have gone through to be experiencing homelessness. But we decide to say "oh because they are probably on drugs " or this or that, but how do we really know when we don't know them or their story. Have you ever stopped to actually talk to someone and ask them how they got there? I bet your answer was no right? We judge people based off how they look but never stop to think the how and why. Humanity itself is becoming more and more ignorant because we decide to stereotype people. What do we get out of doing that, and more so what are we teaching the next generation. At the end of the day we cannot judge people we do not know. Be better or better yet do better by being a leader not a follower.

Since working in a homeless community I have gotten to know many people, and hear their stories on HOW AND WHY they have gotten to this point in their lives. You'd be surprised at the answers I have gotten, and let me tell you majority of the answers had nothing to do with being addicted to drugs or being an alcoholic or being lazy. A lot of people were struggling financially and could not afford the environment of living especially with low paying jobs in California. We forget how expensive it is to actually live in the state of California, and how low jobs be actually paying so this does have an impact on a lot of people experiencing homelessness. Some people had other issues that cause them to be at this point in life, but be assured it's not always just drugs or being a lazy person. Don't forget how hard it really is to make a living in such a expensive environment.

With my job and what I do I engage a lot with the homeless community, and actually get to take time out of my day to talk to people. You want to know what the number one comment I get from mostly everyone is when I just sit and listen is. That they are so grateful I just listen and hear them out. Most of the time people just want to feel seen and heard, and feel like they matter. Not to be judge by what it is they are wearing on their backs. Being able to lend a ear to hear will make someone's day I can guarantee you that. Just remember just because we aren't going through what someone else is going though does not make them any less important or any less human. Chances are the homeless community wants to better themselves just like we all do, but how can they when people see them as a someone who does not matter. Be kinder, be better, and stop stereotyping we are all equal in every shape or form. I joined this field because I love being able to help people, and seeing people go from struggling with being homeless to being housed is such a awesome feeling because I know the people I talk to and get to know will remember me for the caring person I am.


About the Creator

Merjaunie Lena

I write to express, and clear my head, it's my therapy.

It's not perfect, but nothing is

Being able to vent without a filter is the best way to go.

I am not a professional writer

Check it out 👇🏻

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  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    This is the key: just because they are experiencing something we aren't does not mean that they dont have any feelings or want to feel seen or heard or maybe just want some help. This is a wonderful piece that so many need to read. Different reasons create homelessness and not all that are, want to be.

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