Discuss about the Culture Of Homelessness.
Homelessness as the term defines is mainly the condition of an individual where individuals are without a lasting residence. Homeless people are mainly unable to obtain and continue safe and secure accommodation (Gaetz, Gulliver & Richter, 2014). Homelessness is thus, devastating, risky as well as isolating. However, there are many reasons for which many people become homeless like lack of inexpensive housing, unemployment, poverty, individuals coming out of prisons, army who have no homes, women who have to absconding from violent relationships. Moreover, the homeless people face many issues like that of personal security, privacy, protection of their possessions like beddings and clothing along with which they lack in hygiene facilities, washing clothes, preparing food or storing them in small amounts and it’s also difficult for keeping contacts without a permanent address. The homeless people face many other underlying issues such as decreased access towards health care as well as dental services, very less approach towards getting educated, the risk factors are high for being a victim of abuse or violence (Piat et al., 2015). Homeless people however are socially rejected as well as discriminated and thus, they loss the usual connection with the mainstream, not considered suitable for employment and lastly, not considered eligible for opting for the bank services or to any communication technology.
I have an experience of working as one of the volunteers in Calgary homeless foundation. This foundation was established in Mr. Arthur R. Smith in 1998 to create an integrated from to decrease homelessness in Calgary. This foundation further has an important role to play in the society as it serves the homeless people as an inter-linked network of agencies so that the homeless people or those who are at a risk of getting homeless are at appropriate time get the access of housing and basic resources (Nelson et al., 2014). The experience that I gathered after working here is that when you are doing something for the society or helping others who are deprived even with the basic needs, it feels amazing and satisfying that how doing little things for them can bring a big smile to their face. It actually felt so good that even words are falling short that how privileged I felt when I am doing things for other and in return I am not expecting anything. I further realize that a small gesture to the homeless people can positively affect them and make them feel good as well as acceptable. These 2years actually made me realized that how lives are for those who are homeless, along with which the lessons I learned here, I am sure I would not have learned it in any other work. While interacting with the homeless people I actually came to know many of their stories that made me realize how difficult survival has been for them and how privileged we are.
My work as a volunteer in Calgary homeless foundation made me associated with many public awareness campaigns for the homelessness. As a volunteer, I have organized many campaigns for both the society as well as homeless people so that the mindset of the people can be changed about what homelessness really means (August-Brady & Adamshick, 2013). I use to make scripts for all the people associated in the awareness campaign so that important messages are developed and delivered through the same script. Along with my team, we use to target the audiences for the campaigns who were either the homeless people or those people in the society who have rigid beliefs and behavior towards the homeless community. We use to organize street plays, small dance performances, debates where the audiences can get engrossed as well as participate in our campaigns. Along with this, we also use to campaign through websites, social media as well as by distributing posters or printed leaflets to distribute our messages to our audiences. My work was however, not limited to this rather I also approached people individually to lend their helping hands and come in support for making this world a better place to live for those who are homeless. My work in this foundation was to initially being part of these campaigns but later I was trained and was given the responsibility to host these campaigns with other team members.
However, the course readings as well as the discussions held in the class had greatly challenged my understanding of homelessness. Therefore, the impact it had on me is huge. I can proudly say that my conception as well as understanding regarding homeless people has changed largely and left a positive impact on myself. As I have observed that society perceive that people who are homeless might have chosen to be like that or might have born to a circumstance like that but after proper reading, research and discussions I can to know that are many underlying issues that force a person to become homeless ((Parsell & Parsell, 2012). Homeless people are actually has his or her own unique stories being in a situation like this. People further think that if homeless people are donated money they would simply buy drugs or alcohol. This is what the media showed to us and that is how like majority of the people in the society my perception was also biased against these homeless people. Then, another understanding is that homeless people should not have luxury items, as they do not deserve it. But my perception was challenged and I came to know that when I am not aware of what the situation of the homeless people are then it becomes much more easier for us to judge mainly because they are poor and even homeless.
It is a pre perceived notion that we all have that poor should be poor and those who are homeless must be joyless (Kilmer et al., 2012). Therefore, people usually gets angry with they find homeless people with luxury items. Nevertheless, lesser that we know that there are many government programs through which homeless people as well as those with low incomes get assistance financially and at times get sponsored mobile phones. Therefore, now I can proudly say that I have made myself free from all these rigid conceptions regarding the homeless and can understand that there are reasons as well as painful stories of every homeless people, which have pushed them in such a tough life. Personally, I am much more eager to help the homeless as well ready to donate as much as possible for their betterment and survival. I would be more than happy if my little contributions can bring a large difference in a homeless person’s life (Somerville, 2013). Therefore, I feel my understanding has been thoroughly challenged as well as changed for the long run.
My person belief and values regarding this topic homelessness was not clear that what it really is. From this course, my thinking has been modified largely towards homelessness. Along with the course readings, discussions as well as the experience that I have as an volunteer the valuable lessons that I have learned are priceless and I am definite this will help me to become a better person in my upcoming days. Before this contradictory perception came to my understanding, I remember to avoid people who are homeless and had a negative viewpoint about the overall concept of homelessness. I have started looking at my own life in a different light and started appreciating small moments because now I value these small gestures, as I know that for some this can be important but they are deprived of these small things. However, not only this I have also developed new skills, discovered new passions and also have earned new insights both about my own self as well as about the society I live in. This course has thus, given me the strength to consider that homelessness is a state where usually people are helpless and they need the assistance of others to fight it back.
However, for future practices, I would really want to use this course learning as well as my experience of being a volunteer in Calgary homeless foundation. Therefore I have plans where I can open a shelter for the homeless people mainly females as I personally believe that for a women is get all the more difficult to be in such a situation. For a women it is all the more dangerous to become homeless as it makes them on a more risky position to get physically abused or pushed into women trafficking mainly into the sex industry. Thus, my plans are to make the society aware that their minor contributions can actually be beneficial for many poor souls against which they are holding bias as well as wrong perceptions. Through my organization, I want the homeless people to get a support that we are beside them and they are also a part of this society and have all the rights to live a proper life. I would really like to do more research on the growing homelessness in the world and want to contribute as much as I can towards making the situations of the homeless people a little better.
August-Brady, M., & Adamshick, P. (2013). Oh, the things you will learn: Taking undergraduate research to the homeless shelter. Journal of Nursing Education, 52(6), 342-345.
Gaetz, S., Gulliver, T., & Richter, T. (2014). The state of homelessness in Canada 2014. Canadian Homelessness Research Network.
Hodgetts, D., Stolte, O., Waimarie Nikora, L., & Groot, S. (2012). Drifting along or dropping into homelessness: A class analysis of responses to homelessness. Antipode, 44(4), 1209-1226.
Kilmer, R. P., Cook, J. R., Crusto, C., Strater, K. P., & Haber, M. G. (2012). Understanding the ecology and development of children and families experiencing homelessness: Implications for practice, supportive services, and policy. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 82(3), 389-401.
Nelson, G., Stefancic, A., Rae, J., Townley, G., Tsemberis, S., Macnaughton, E., ... & Stergiopoulos, V. (2014). Early implementation evaluation of a multi-site housing first intervention for homeless people with mental illness: a mixed methods approach. Evaluation and Program Planning, 43, 16-26.
Parsell, C., & Parsell, M. (2012). Homelessness as a Choice. Housing, Theory and Society, 29(4), 420-434.
Piat, M., Polvere, L., Kirst, M., Voronka, J., Zabkiewicz, D., Plante, M. C., ... & Goering, P. (2015). Pathways into homelessness: Understanding how both individual and structural factors contribute to and sustain homelessness in Canada. Urban Studies, 52(13), 2366-2382.
Ravenhill, M. (2016). The culture of homelessness. Routledge.
Somerville, P. (2013). Understanding homelessness. Housing, theory and society, 30(4), 384-415.
Williams, J. C. (2016). A roof over my head: Homeless women and the shelter industry. University Press of Colorado.