"The Homeless: An Invisible Minority"

Essay by gabby209University, Bachelor'sA, March 2003

download word file, 6 pages 3.7

During my first ever trip to Starbucks with my friends, I bought a coffee worth more than five dollars. That is more than some homeless people spend in a week. I spent it all on a drink that I didn't even finish. "There is increasing inequality of incomes and a widening gap between the rich and the poor" (Nunez 367). In our economy some people can afford to buy a five-dollar cup of coffee every day while others would spend that amount of money on five separate meals. To redeem ourselves for our frivolous behaviour that day at Starbucks, or perhaps due to it, my friends and I bought some treats from their snack bar to give away to the homeless. The people we gave them to were very grateful; I felt guilty, standing there drinking my venti frappacino. This was my first time giving to someone on the street, and my first time looking a homeless person in the eye.

Usually I look away so they won't ask me for money and I won't have to deny them. "The stereotypical view of homeless people portrays them as passive, lazy, disaffiliated, and disempowered"(Boydell et al. 26). I believed the stereotypes: homeless people are lazy; they will spend any money you give them on drugs; and if you help them they will never help themselves. However, no one deserves to be homeless and sometimes people do need a little help.

People busily walk down the sidewalk every day, hardly anyone even glancing at a person sitting in a doorway panhandling. The individual is sidestepped like a mud puddle, avoided as a nuisance. The social isolation that homeless people experience on a day to day basis is what originally leads them to become homeless. The article by Morrell-Bellai et al. looks at...