There needs to be a social reevaluation of how communities treat those who are homeless. Often times, there is a severe stigma associated with anyone who is living or has lived on the streets. It’s assumed that these people are a drain on resources, do nothing to better their own situation and are the weakest points of society. Homelessness is not restricted to impacting only a select group of people. In 2009, more than 22,000 people were considered homeless in Washington state alone. Of these individuals, it is estimated that about 25 percent of them are military veterans.
Personally, I do not consider one who fought and risked death to defend the nation I call home to be a weak member of society. Many of the homeless have lost their housing due to the economic crisis that the U.S. is still working through. Whether due to unemployment or a lack of affordable housing, homelessness can impact nearly any social demographic and it is unreasonable to assume that a person’s homelessness is due to a fault of their own.
The United States must progress towards a mindset in which homelessness is not something that people are targeted or blamed for. If we can move past homelessness being an “illness” to be cured and focus instead on the people who are struggling to find a stable ground on which they might rebuild their life, I believe our culture might be able to change the nature of being homeless.