The title of the article quoted below struck me as significant. Many of us hear the term “homeless people” and immediately form a conclusion about the individuals labeled as such. I’ve been struggling to stress the importance of the “people” part of that phrase in order to get past the stereotypical negative connotation.
How simple the solution is. I am talking about people without homes, not homeless people. I’m talking about people like Aaron in London, interviewed below, who reminds me a lot of Chris in Painted Black.
Aaron is 32; he started working in a glass factory at 17 and spent his early twenties qualifying as a joiner. By 25 he was self-employed, “doing some decorating, some carpentry, good quality work. I like my work.”
“There is my mum, but she is looking after my little sister and they barely make enough to put food on the table already. I don’t want to make things even harder. That’s what it means to grow up. You have to look after yourself. I know I’m not in a great place now, but I’ll find my feet.”
The diversity among homeless people is increasing. Ollie Kendall, who helps to coordinate homeless shelters, explained: “While we do get some street drinkers and drug users, the majority of our guests don’t fit the homeless stereotype. Most of our guests are individuals who have, for whatever reason, been without a community to care for them when things went wrong.” In the current economic downturn, many people are losing their homes because they cannot secure enough work. Others are economic migrants, trying to learn skills and find employment.