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  • Writer's pictureChurch@thePark

HOMELESSNESS MYTHS


Anytime we sincerely try to fill in that blank, whatever we tend to say is likely going to be untrue, inaccurate, harmful, or incomplete. This is not just true for unsheltered people, either. “Democrats are all ______ .” “All Christians are ______ .” “Duck fans are all _______ .”


Blanket statements and generalities are disfiguring forms of speech. All of us do it. It sometimes feels true in the moment. It helps us to make sense of the world. Generalities get attention in political speech, in the news, and on social media. If we catch ourselves, or others doing it, we can ask follow up questions. Are we simply trying to control a situation that feels chaotic by naming, or labelling it? Are we responding to a problem that causes us to despair?


This topic was partially addressed in Myth #5—”When it comes to homelessness, what we see on the street or in the news is representative of what’s really going on.” We see stories or narratives on the news, someone amplifies those stories on our social media feed, we have a negative encounter with an unsheltered person, and based on those types of events, we make blanket statements about other human beings.


Items #2 and 3 in this week’s newsletter dispel some of the common generalities that we hear. The first story talks about people who are working full-time jobs and are still unable to afford rent. The second story talks about the prevalence of domestic abuse victims who are unsheltered because they are fleeing from an abusive relationship.


Maybe there is no myth to dispel here, but there is an opportunity for all of us to check our speech and to be willing to speak up when others are using blanket statements to talk about human beings.


”Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.” — Mother Theresa


 

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