Homeless Hate Crimes?

“It’s just that we’re there, and they don’t really think of us as real people, kind of part of the scenery.  They attack us just like they vandalize a stop sign, basically.”

I came across this quote while scanning an article on NPR.  The article was speaking about how many states are starting to consider adding attacks on homeless people to the list of defined hate crimes.  One of the speakers in this article discusses whether being homeless is part of someone’s personal identity just like someone’s gender, race, or religion.

The quote above struck me more than trying to consider whether homeless people should be added to the hate-crime list.  (However, I did agree with what Florida recently did by increasing the penalty for those who attack the homeless.)  “[W]e’re there… kind of part of the scenery.” This is the part of the conversation that sticks out like a sore thumb.  The number of homeless people, especially families, is on the rise.  Harsh times within the economy, lack of employment, and disaster are factors that put people out of their homes.  People just like you and me.

People who are homeless are just that, PEOPLE.  The definition of homeless is a person who “lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence.”  This definition is provided by The National Coalition for the Homeless, and not having a home can be part of your identity; however, being without a home should not define you as part of “the scenery”.

There are many programs that serve the homeless.  Take time to learn about these programs and discover the ways that you can help!  What are your thoughts on homelessness being part of your identity?  Comments are welcome. How can we help those who feel like part of the “scenery?”

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One Response to Homeless Hate Crimes?

  1. Cindy February 16, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    There’s no way being homeless would not become part of your personal identity. Colorado added the homeless to its hate-crime laws last week. Each such step brings awareness to the homelessness issue and hopefully will make more of us see the homeless as PEOPLE like us and want to do something to help.

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