Friday, August 15, 2014

Homeless Help Hyperbole

This is one of the most damaging aspects of advocacy for the homeless - the exaggerated claims about how much help is available.  Some do it because they think they are actually helping,  though most do it as an excuse to not help the homeless.

    "Oh, there is plenty of help available for the homeless." = WRONG!

Sure, just ask any homeless service provider and they will tell you a story, alright, a story about all the great things they do for the homeless.   You, the listener of the story will come away with a feeling that things are being taken care of - you'll send your money to the provider and believe that you have solved homelessness.  But, you really don't know anything about homelessness, and don't really know how your money will be spent, don't know what homeless people really need, and so don't know what questions to ask, so to vet the claims made by the homeless service provider.

But trust me when I say, they exaggerate.  They exaggerate A LOT!   They want you to support their work, they want you to think they are doing a bang up job, that they know exactly what homeless people need, and are providing all the right services to the homeless.  And they want you to tell others about how good they are.  Their paychecks are dependent on your donations.

I recently had someone tell me that - "There are a tremendous amount of resources that can get you Housing."

I then told her that I just spent an entire month with one such resource that kept stringing me along, but never got close to getting me into a place.  Of course she said that I shouldn't give up but should try another resource.

I guess she doesn't understand what it means to string someone along.

Resources to help the homeless are very limited, ladies and gentlemen.  If for example, a service provider says they help people with paying their rent, what they don't tell you is that they only help certain types of people pay rent, and that they can only give help based on strict requirements and that  even when they do help, the provide a very minimal amount of assistance.  It usually ends up that they only help a few people a month and leave the majority of those in need still wanting.  This happens with every homeless service provider in every aspect of their "services."

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