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Transcript of Homelessness
Federal investment in rapid re-housing is increasing, but it is still not sufficient to address all of the need...
During Fiscal Year 2013, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs made $300 million available for community-based grants for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing through the
Supportive Services for Veterans Families(SSVF)
The Administration also published a memo to states urging them to consider using
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
assistance to help families gain and maintain housing stability.
Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG)
program does provide flexible resources for communities to rapidly re-house households, but it has not been fully funded
Pop Culture & Media
The examples are endless from movies, shows, magazines, news broadcasts, and other sources many of us have come to rely on. When establishing personal values and opinions it can be assumed that a large fraction of the U.S. population utilize pop culture/media as well as other environmentally influenced societal guidelines established by society itself as "norms" or in other words what society deems as the dominant point of view(s).
How does homelessness relate to social welfare?
Homelessness relates to social welfare by showing that there is still an issue with having enough services to help homeless people.
“The national rate of homelessness was 20 homeless people per 10,000 in the general population. The rate for Veterans was 29 homeless Veterans per 10,000 Veterans in the general population.” (endhomelessness.org)
Consider the Kansas City Metro Area (population slightly above 2 million) using the national rate of homelessness provided, that would mean OVER 4,000 people in the KC metro area are homeless, Can you imagine even larger cities?
(population info at visitkc.com)
Homelessness and Social Welfare
A majority of persons identified as homeless were staying in emergency shelters or transitional housing, but 38% were unsheltered, living on the streets, or in cars, abandoned buildings, or other places not intended for human habitation. The size of the unsheltered population remained basically unchanged between 2011-2012. (endhomelessness.org)
Although it is impossible to accurately measure homelessness, throughout American history it has definitely shown increase; estimates by researchers across major cities, with populations greater than 100,000 in the U.S. reported that homelessness tripled between 1981 and 1989.
The number of people within homeless families increased by 1.4% between 2011-2012, however, there was no change in the total number of homeless families.
Between 2010-2011, all but 11 states reported an increase in the number of poor people living in doubled-up households. Nationally, there was a 9.4% increase.
Where We Live...
In 2009 Kansas’s homeless population was 1,892 (estimated)
Kansas ranked 50th among all the states
Programs and Assistance
Movies, Music, & Theater
-"Rent", which started as a musical on Broadway was turned into a film in 2005. Many depictions of homelessness and the struggles big cities like NYC have with homelessness as well as other issues were used when creating this popular movie in 2005. A group of friends living in New York together and struggling to make ends meet are brought together by their struggles with addiction, disease, financial problems, inability to find a job, loss loved ones, etc. Creating an image that those who are homeless usually meet one or more of the above criteria.
-Another movie with depictions of homelessness is "Pursuit of Happiness", starring Will Smith. This movie showed crowded lines for homeless shelters, difficulty getting a job even with education, having a child while being homeless, and shows many homeless people as grimy, dirty, rude, and wearing tattered clothes.
One journal wrote, "people's conceptions of the problem are likely to shape the way they treat homeless people." Also stating, with examples from sources like Time Magazine and ABC News, "The public is losing compassion and is becoming increasingly hostile toward homeless people. Newspaper, magazine, and television reports repeatedly emphasize growing public indifference and anger toward homeless people spawned by extensive contact with them."
Truong again reinforces that "stereotypes are prescriptive and lead people to make judgments about others based on dominant beliefs."
She shared an example of a study conducted in 1995 as well as one conducted more recently (2007) to represent the change in the public view(s) of homelessness:
"...respondents in Link et al.’s (1995) study believed that
55 out of 100
homeless adults are
addicted to drugs or alcohol
of respondents believed that
at least three-fourths
of homeless people are
addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Even higher numbers were identified in a 2007 Gallup poll, with
of the general public listing
drug and alcohol abuse
major factor contributing to homelessness
(Fannie Mae, 2007)."
Historic Foundations of Homelessness
Group Community Service
Our service project involved volunteering at the local shelter home.
The shelter is split into two levels with the main level consisting of family rooms, a kitchen, and a laundry room. The upper level consists of two dormitories split among genders.
It surprised me as to how some of the children reacted to us as volunteers. Overall, the families were very gracious when it comes to accepting our help.
Not all in the shelter is peaceful, however. We witnessed a confrontation between the staff and a potential resident that resulted in the police being called.
We all felt a sense of accomplishment from our experience even though we were not able to do any serious work with the families.
The Manhattan shelter is not a “homeless shelter” per say, it is more of an interim home for families who are experiencing troubled times. We could not do much when it comes to actual work within the shelter due to privacy issues. We did however, work alongside the residents and help clean the shelter.
What Would You Do?
A show that stages events in order to reveal how real people react in real situations that happen all over the nation when they do not know they are being watched.
Ex: Teenagers beating up homeless people on the streets. Results were that until one person spoke up first many people walked by in awe of the act and some said things like "hey! stop that!" then nothing else until one man called the police. Real teenagers around the nation were caught on camera committing acts like this without consequence which is why the show decided to create this scenario and see what the results showed.
"Carter Center Accomplishments - Advancing Human Rights, Alleviating Unnecessary Human Suffering." Carter Center Accomplishments - Advancing Human Rights, Alleviating Unnecessary Human Suffering. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. <http://www.cartercenter.org/about/accomplishments/index.html>.
Goldberg, Eleanor. "What Homelessness Looks Like, According To Ridiculous Stock Photography." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 25 Oct. 2013. Web. 27 Nov. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/25/homelessness-stock-photography-_n_4150518.html?utm_hp_ref=homelessness>.
Homelessness: Experts Differ on Root Causes. Constance Holden. Science. May 2, 1986. p569.
Link, B. G., Schwartz, S., Moore, R., Phelan, J., & al, e. (1995). Public knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about homeless people: Evidence for compassion fatigue? American Journal of Community Psychology, 23(4), 533-55. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.er.lib.k-state.edu/docview/205343196?accountid=11789
National Coalition for the Homeless. Hate Crimes Against the Homeless: America’s Growing Epidemic of Violence. 2010. http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/hatecrimes_factsheets/kansas.html
"The State of Homelessness in America 2013." National Alliance to End Homelessness:. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2013. <http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/the-state-of-homelessness-2013>.
"The White House - President Barack Obama." The White House. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/>.
Tompsett, C. J., Toro, P. A., Guzicki, M., Manrique, M., & Zatakia, J. (2006). Homelessness in the united states: Assessing changes in prevalence and public opinion, 1993-2001. American Journal of Community Psychology, 37(1-2), 47-61. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10464-005-9007-2
Toward a History of Homlessness. Journal of Urban History. Vol. 31 no. 6. September 2005.
Truong, S. V. (2012). "Please do not feed the homeless:" the role of stereotyping and media framing on the criminalization of homelessness. (Order No. 3551079, University of California, Santa Cruz). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 144. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.er.lib.k-state.edu/docview/1287787765?accountid=11789. (1287787765).
Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States. 2003
Last year Truong, while working towards her Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology at the University of California, stated
"Findings indicate that homeless people were frequently described in terms of stigmatized characteristics (e.g.,
) and behaviors (e.g.,
substance use, crime
), while positive
characterizations (e.g., hardworking) were rare. Moreover, policy discussions tended to focus on individual behaviors (e.g.,
panhandling, sleeping outdoors
) rather than structural causes of homelessness (e.g., lack of affordable housing)."
The American Journal of Community Psychology states, "the media’s coverage of a social issue may shape public opinion by framing the issue in a certain light, and by creating an illusion of popular consensus
that leads individuals to reassess their personal views. Evidence suggests that public opinion regarding value priorities and policy preferences tend to change gradually over time as the public slowly reevaluates values in light of environmental changes. As the public evaluates their values
concerning a given social issue such as homelessness,
media coverage of other issues may indirectly lead to
changes in public opinion.
Huffington Post: What Homelessness Looks Like, According To Ridiculous Stock Photography
A quick look at what stock photography has us believing homelessness looks like:
Homelessness did exist in early America; however, the homeless were not referred to as such, but instead by terms such as “wandering poor” or “vagrants.”
did not gain much popularity in the U.S. until the 1830’s through the 1850’s. However, during this time the idea of being homeless was seen as extreme cases that did not maintain the middle-class norm. It was seen as not only a lack of shelter but also a separation from a domestic unit.
Homeless populations have varied throughout history. The homeless in the mid-19th century included many women, children, and families. The average age of homeless people has decreased to the mid-30’s with the baby boomer generation entering the ranks.
More recently, homelessness has greatly increased in America in the 1980’s. Shervert Frazier, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, labeled homelessness as “the social ill of the eighties.”
There are many factors linked to the issue of homelessness such as breakdown of the family, disappearance of low-cost rental housing, and the shrinkage of federal social programs.
Historical Perspective from Zinn
Time for a Change
As media became more popular and further in the 60’s and 70’s, American citizens began to recognize the vast inequality (across sex, race, socioeconomic status) and disillusionment of the “American system".
Activists protested against the unfair American system, which benefited the wealthy and powerful corporate individuals and further harmed the lower class and minority citizens.
Presidency of James “Jimmy” Carter (1977-1980)
He attempted to cease negative opinions of the government with a “populist” appeal
Carter humbled himself to relate to the common working class man
He added women and people of color to government positions
Improved and created policies to meet the basic human rights
Founded the Carter Center in 1982 to “advance peace and health worldwide”
Greatest failure of Carter: not meeting the economic demands for citizens necessary survival and well-being.
Social Welfare in a Negative light
Media and politicians depict social welfare as something those who were to lazy to work, as we mentioned earlier.
Misinformed broadcasts focus on the immense amount of taxes we pay to Social Welfare programs when in reality when spend much more on military expenses
8. They take up the entire sidewalk, we're told.
2. They have impeccable penmanship (and very nice manners), according to stock photos.
1. Apparently, homeless people are mostly white men between 25 and 45 with great hair.
3. Homeless people are often ridiculously good looking, believe it or not.
4. Their cheeks are pretty much always filthy when being photographed...
Some indulge in fancy bakery bread.
7. Homeless people just sit around sulking, stock photos tell us.
9. And it seems they're either doing one of two things:
5. ...but somehow their hands are always illuminated!
6. They eat only bread apparently...
Asking for money...
Others just stick with the standard stale roll kind.