Thursday, July 3, 2008

Another Irksome Thing

It is hard these days for all charities to stay afloat financially. The leading thought these days among people with money to give to charities, is that charity makes people weak and lazy. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. But, it does make for a great way to justify not giving to charities.

And so charities are becoming desperate to keep themselves funded. And the temptation often becomes too great, and the charities feel forced to stretch the truth a bit, about the true needs of the people they serve, just to keep their organization alive. But, in the case of homeless charities, and homeless shelters and service providers, there is a very damaging side-effect to all this.

To prompt those very few generous people to actually give, a shelter will play on their worst fears about homelessness, and will actually feed into stereotypes of homeless people and the predicament they are in. For a great many others, though, this erroneous portrayal of homeless people only reinforces the prejudices they have against them, and creates even more obstacles for the homeless to overcome, as they try to leave homelessness.

Be very leery of any "authority" on homelessness who tells you what "typical" homelessness is like. There really is no typical homeless situation, or typical homeless person. To say so is the beginning of a lie.