Its incredibly sad that so many people sleep on the streets. In the essay, Helping and Hating the Homeless, Peter Marin describes the problem of homeless people and the lack of help for this growing problem. Marin had many strong points in his article on the homeless. Marin strongly points out that society does understand the reasons for the homeless problem because most people are ignorant to the problem or are misinformed.
First of all, there are many different reasons as to why the homeless became homeless, but most people categorize all of these reasons into one, the homeless. They think it is one major group of people with the same problem; living on the streets. However, the homeless are made up of veterans, the mentally ill, single parents, physically disabled, runaway children, drug addicts and alcoholics. The majority of this list were normal people before becoming homeless. Some were members of the working class who ran into problems and ended up on the streets they had no were else to turn.
The homeless problem is more complex than most people can imagine. The word homeless tells us almost nothing (299). People who do not agree with the American life style sometimes end up homeless because they want to be excluded from society. Some people do surprisingly choose to be homeless.
Others choose to be homeless because they can not live within a normal society. For example, veterans might have to turn to the streets because they couldnt escape the trauma and couldnt live a normal life with all of the troubles they endure day to day. There are some homeless people who no longer want help, who no longer recognize the need for help, and whose experiences in our world has made them want to be left alone (301-302). Some of these people are content with living on the streets. They do not want a change and seem to be happy in what seems to be a very unfortunate situation. Many people are misinformed about this kind of circumstance.
Next, some homeless people start out with a normal life then start living on the streets because of a traumatic experience they can not escape. The story about Alice shows this vividly. She had a job as a teacher and one day she was raped. This led to a nervous breakdown and three months in a mental institution.
After returning she had no job and no belongings in her apartment. We must learn to accept that there may indeed be people, and not only vets, who have seen so much of our world, or seen it so clearly, that to live in it becomes impossible (301). She eventually felt she had no where to turn except the streets. Alice was a person similar to many others in society before she was raped. This story shows how the tables can turn in life suddenly and drastically. Most people would never realize that some of the homeless people they walk by day to day is a person like Alice.
Society tends to think that the homeless are without homes mostly because of themselves and not because of traumatic experiences. Many people are ignorant to the situations of homeless people and they tend to look down on some who used to be a lot like them. Society tries to rehabilitate the deviant nature of the homeless rather than give them the help and compassion they need. Most shelters are not made to improve the homeless peoples lives, but to control them. The shelters have ridiculous rules that seem to be for rehabilitating the homeless rather than giving them shelter.
Compassion is little more than the passion for control (304). The .