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Stigmas of Homelessness: Dismantling

The Importance of Dismantling Stigmas of Homelessness
“Society needs to get out of the mentality of what homelessness is. It’s not the person on the side of the street with a sign. It’s your neighbor, your friend, people you used to go to school with, someone with a degree, with a job. It can quickly turn into you, nowadays. In today’s times, the stigma of homelessness is no longer the man on the side of the street with the sign.” Oasis Case Manager, DaMario passionately stated. 

According to a study done by Georgetown University on The Stigma Associated with Homelessness and How It Leads to Ineffective Solutions, “Rejecting stigmas associated with homelessness enables effective problem-solving.” So how do we reject the stigmas associated with homelessness? 

Engagement. Making an active effort to see someone for who they are, not what they are experiencing. 

Ending Homelessness Starts With Rejecting Stigmas
There are plenty of different stigmas of homelessness, and in this series, we will cover just a few. The idea that every person experiencing homelessness is “lazy” or “crazy” or “dangerous” are labels that are “myths” versus reality.

The Sharing Center challenges you, the next time you’re driving off the exit of the highway, and you see someone with a backpack on or dirty clothing panhandling – don’t look at them from the outside and assume that they’re crazy, or lazy, or dangerous – or that they’ve chosen to be where they are. 

You are passing by a small chapter of someone’s life, and we urge you to treat them the way you would desperately need to be treated if you were in that same situation. Practicing empathy is a first step in rejecting stigmas we have all been taught or heard before. 

Experiencing Homelessness Everyday
Case Manager of The Oasis, Damario, shares his heart behind the scenes in the daily lives of our neighbors in need. 

“They’re prejudged before they’re actually given the opportunity to explain their situation. I think people just automatically assume a homeless person did something to be in that situation. They aren’t given a chance. Every day they push through their obstacles and circumstances to continue to fight. I see love in each of them every day. I see them searching to be loved, accepted, and seen past their image. Simply being acknowledged is something that they really value, they’re so used to going unnoticed, to be appreciated and valued because they are people with feelings is fulfilling. Every day they’re taking the initiative to continue to fight and battle mental health and drug addictions. A lot of them don’t want to be in the situation they’re in, they just don’t have the support they need.”