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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Why we easily scare when we see a homeless person

The issue of homelessness is one that has always existed throughout history. It is currently
a social phenomenon, and has been insensitively misrepresented in the media. When seeing a homeless person from a distance, or approached by one, our initial thought is to ignore them or get rid of them as quickly as possible. As a society we attempt to ignore the homeless population because the media depicts them as being mentally ill, drug addicts, or violent people. It is important to recognize the media’s misinterpretation. I recently spoke with a friend who shared her experience as a volunteer at a shelter called Midnight Mission that intrigued me enough to look more into.

Located in downtown Los Angeles, Midnight Mission is a non-profit organization attempts to in fact do something about the problem of homelessness instead of ignoring it. Through their life changing programs and services, homeless people are given an opportunity to overcome their current lifestyle, and a second chance to live among accepted society. At Midnight Mission, the homeless people are given a safe place to sleep, three hot meals, clothes, shower and shaves, job
training classes and much more. This all men’s shelter is not easy to get into, and actually requires homeless people to qualify by proving they are dedicated to turn their lives around. The programs they offer are nine months, where strict rules are enforced; including class attendance,drug tests, and being found intoxicated or causing havoc will result in disqualification from the program.

The media creates negative connotations towards the homeless who are commonly seen as lazy people who choose to be in that situation.Midnight Mission is a great cause, that proves these people are not all lazy, violent, addicts, or mentally ill. In fact they are just like any of us, capable of so much, and have quite fascinating stories and experiences.

Another common issue where the media fails is in the notion of being homeless. The media has led to the term being used to categorize them unfairly, for the reason that their are so many different types of homeless people. Not all homeless people are the one’s you see sleeping in the park. Being homeless can mean living out of your car, or a student who finds ways of living around campus to avoid paying expensive housing fees.

The media portrays them in a negative manner, as if they are all bad people. What people need to understand is that becoming homeless can happen to anyone. My friend explains how while volunteering she met numerous men who have undergone obstacles that led to their unfortunate situation. In one case, a man had his family killed in a fire, which led him to break down mentally and lose his job. Another man was a college graduate from the University of San Diego, but was overwhelmed with his student loans and became homeless.

The fascinating story that journalist of the LA Times, Steve Lopez writes on Nathaniel Ayers, a musician who develops schizophrenia and becomes homeless, is proof that their in fact remarkable people who are homeless. This story may sound familiar for some; because it was later made into a film starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx called The Soloist. The media is quick to depict the homeless population in such an incorrect angle, and they fail to show they are not all the stereotypical image of being homeless. Midnight Mission illustrates the ability homeless people have. The media could do more by showing more success stories on the homeless people, and show they are capable of starting a new life, such as Nathaniel Ayers.


Blogger Cxarlesab_methamorfosis said...

Hi Erik, you're right in something, the society in which we live is some kind of hybrid ideas of how we must be, we live in some type of trance by TV, institutionalism, patriotism, some people get more than enough of that and they chose a life outer from we designate as normal, all of this is about decision, and if you're waiting that media do something for changing the world, you're wasting your precious time dude, something that you have to understand now is that we don't need TV, the world wide web, facebook or nothing like that, we need to go out, talk with real people, turn off the electronic devices, being homeless is their election, as we have chosen to be like we are, I hope to meet you some day, see you around.

July 9, 2012 at 8:59 PM  

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