Homelessness Imagine being Invisible

02:33:00

Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/ocean_child/356307820/
So a friend shared this amazing video on Facebook today and it blew my mind...Literally. I've always been an advocate for helping the homeless. I don't understand this huge stigma with homelessness, as if it's a choice?! When I grow up, I want to be homeless, dependant on the charity of others. Are some people so ignorant that they can't see a person struggling to survive? That they literally sleep on the streets, it's not just a saying. Not every single homeless person is a drug addicted alcoholic, that 'only has themselves to blame.' It could happen to anyone. I once spoke to a man, who's wife was cheating on him. She left him, took the kids, the house, the car, the everything. And left him with nothing. Being a man without children, the government refused to help. There was only so long he could survive with what he had and the stress meant he lost his job. I'm sorry, but whats the prevention for this? How do you make yourself immune? Even if they are/were drug addicts (9% of homeless), people make mistakes. It's so easy to be in the wrong crowd and lead down a bad path, in which your drowning and need help to get out of, but instead neglected. Fine, drugs will always be here for me. 

I've worked in central Cardiff for the last 3 years and I've seen no improvement. So many homeless people sit with their heads bowed down with what looks like the weight of shame society has loaded on them. Some not even wanting to ask for help. There's this one man who tries to give off the impression that he isn't. If you saw him, you'd have no idea. But seeing him every time I work a night shift, sitting in Burger King, reading his newspapers I soon clocked on. By day he asks for change for transport, since he 'lost his wallet.' Then he sits in the warm with his bags for a few hours. Then, I don't know. Wow, it goes to show, once your homeless, your branded.  In one documentary I watched, one guy used all the free cleaning samples and perfumes to care for himself, then tried to pull a different woman each night to get a bed! Amazingly, the majority of the responses I've seen from the lack of empathy are always positive. They'll respond with an 'Ah ok, thanks, have a nice day.' With nothing, they still manage to crack a smile and I can only assume thinking 'Can't win them all.' I can't fathom that it's illegal to be homeless now too?! Call me crazy but what?! Oh sorry, I didn't realise, I'll just stop doing what I'm doing and go back now. Sheltered alcoves have spiked cones poking up from the ground and public benches are slopped, 'You can't sleep here.' Why is there not a bigger movement to rehabilitate these people? They need help. We need to help.

"Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice" - Nelson Mandella

The most heart breaking thing for me, is not that people don't give them money. Not that they go without, have nothing to eat or even a shelter over their heads. Yes this is all awfully tragic. But the worse thing? Just sit and watch. Go into your town centre and observe. People will purposely cross the road, put headphones in, walk faster or just look away. "Urgh their gna ask me for change, that's gna be so awkward when I have to lie." It kills me. Imagine being completely invisible. And not in the good sense. You hear faint voices creeping up from the edges of the roads, nestled outside busy stores they wait. Their underlying tones scream; Please see me. Please help me. Please acknowledge me. A basic necessity in life is human contact. Just having a conversation with someone, debriefing your day. It's so essential for mental health to communicate, to keep you going and know that your not alone. So beyond everything else the very least you can do is take a second out of your day and ask them about theirs.

Here's the video that was shared and a few others that are also brilliantly exposing of society. The last one gets me the most, it's just people. Not a different breed of human. How do you feel about homelessness? 

'Homeless' man tries to give money.

Homeless man asks for money Vs business man (Same guy)

Humanising the homeless

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4 comments

  1. Thank you so much for writing about this! I am appalled that the dehumanizing treatment of homeless is considered to be socially acceptable.

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    1. Thanks for reading! I know it's crazy to think. We disregard it so often because it is genuinly such an awkward exchange, but it shouldn't and needn't be. We can solve this! Somehow.

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  2. I appreciate your acknowledgement of this, most times i find that im just torn between empathizing for them or turning a blind eye. Im never sure whether its acceptable to just politely say no because society is expected to give to the needy and refusing is something guiltyly do and justify by having it in our heads that we dont see them at all. We need to find the source of this negative stigma around the homeless first of all. And also realize that there are two sides of the story and the homeless have also at times taken advantage of society. Its a two way street and both sides need to know better :)

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    1. Thank Canesia! :) Yeah I agree, it's hard to decide what to do in that split second. And everyone is in two minds about it, there's just not enough info to go from.

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