Misconceptions Surrounding the Homeless
P1. There are many misconceptions people hold when it comes to the homeless population in the United States. Many are unforgiving and treat homeless people as though they are less than human and undeserving of compassion. Many look at the work Bornstein is creating as unnecessary, and promises no future solutions but rather wastes time and resources. There are people who feel there is a parasitic nature to the homeless and feel justified in how they will be antagonized. The problem with this mentality is that it stifles growth or opportunities for possible solutions and replaces these efforts with prejudice and apathy. A functioning society cannot afford to segregate its members in a way as classist as is this. The true measurement of society cannot be from how we treat our wealthy but from how we treat our less fortunate.
P2. James O’Connell explains how 40 percent of homeless people he has met in his lifetime are homeless because of a brain injury in “The Street Level Solution” by David Bornstein ““For many it was a head injury prior to the time they became homeless,” he said. “They became erratic. They’d have mood swings, bouts of explosive behavior. They couldn’t hold onto their jobs. Drinking made them feel better. They’d end up on the streets.” This breaks down a narrative that is in direct conflict with the stigma placed on homeless people. The misunderstanding of the homeless condition associates negative traits with these people rather than compassionate about their situation. We blame homelessness on the homeless because we associate them with negative behavior traits. We think of the homeless as failed humans and homelessness as the ultimate failure. The dehumanizing of the homeless perpetuates the myth that poverty is inevitable and that some people simply cannot be helped. We need to remember that the homeless may be dirty but they’re not undeserving; they were living normal lives until a tragic event took place. The side effects of a traumatic brain injury are sporadic behavior and loss of basic cognitive skills that are obvious requirements of an employer. The capitalistic system we live in today only categorizes people based of their usefulness to a business or skills so naturally a person that has an injury like this and possibly no immediate support system will fall by the way side as the injury continues to impair the person in question. The individualistic society we live in makes it hard for those in need to ask for help so they often do not. With the added hurdle of a brain injury it makes maintaining a stable normal life become a feat of a much higher magnitude.
P3. Humans are creatures of repetition and schedule these traits have allowed our species to thrive for centuries. The human mind is ingeniously adaptable to unfortunate situations and the same can be said about homeless people. When people become homeless they get into homeless habits and find a comfort zone in the desperation of their situation in order to survive. The years of living as a homeless person can have an impact on returning to a life with housing. Priorities are shifted from scraping food day to day to now managing relationships and finances. These changes even appear as formidable to a person who been away from social norms for a long time, “As with many complex social problems, when you get through the initial crisis, you have another problem to solve which is no less challenging. But it is a better problem.”stated by Bornstein explains how its hard for some homeless people to see the solution to their problem because of years of living in a particular manner.
P4. There are organizations throughout the nation looking at ways to solve the homeless issue in the United States. Many of the groups are met with opposition and people not understanding the issues taking place. In many organizations the new practices look at the idea of rather than give the homeless jobs so that they can afford housing, the best solution is to first provide housing first. This may seem counterintuitive and some may look at this plan with disdain since whenever money goes those in need those who are not look at the practice as an expense rather than a equally beneficial process. Although money is not just going down the drain. Logically looking at the issue its apparent that this demographic is known to cost the government money, money that some feel deserves to go to better places and resources enjoyed by the many and not the few unfortunate. However, it is important to realize regardless of if these programs are utilized or not money will be spent regardless. The homeless still go to hospitable emergency rooms and commit crimes using tax dollars regardless. A better system as organizations like “Common Ground” have proposed is instead of ostracizing those that need housing a better alternative would be to give these people a house and help them transition back into society so there is chance they could give back and live healthy productive lives.
Bornstein, David. “A Plan to Make Homelessness History.” Nytimes.com. N.p., Dec. 20. 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
Bornstein, David. “The Street-Level Solution.” Nytimes.com. N.p., 24 Dec. 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
Public knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about homeless peop. (1995). American Journal of Community Psychology, 23(4), 533. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/205342696?accountid=13605
Stolte, E. (2011, Nov 24). City commits $360,000 for chronically homeless; hundreds need more supervision, help, study says. Edmonton Journal Retrieved from http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/906159500?accountid=13605
Studentwriter, your essay has a lot of heart. You show compassion for an unfortunate group and explain that bad luck, not bad morals, has caused their misfortune.
P1. You identify misunderstanding as an impediment to eliminating homelessness. That’s a good start. It promises that once we understand, we’ll be willing to help. It also promises that you’ll help us understand.
P2. You identify the “triggering event” of traumatic brain injury as the underlying cause of much of our homelessness. That’s a good start to demystifying the problem and also eliminating the stigma the homeless suffer.
P3. You explain that homelessness becomes an inescapable way of life for those who learn to cope with their situation and who lack the skills to fundamentally change it without support. That they can survive it at all creates sympathy for them in your reader. I endorse this approach.
P4. You identify a radical solution that you have prepared us to at least consider. The flow of your argument, therefore, is quite logical. 1. We misunderstand. 2. It’s not their fault. 3. They’re actually good survivors who need one thing. 4. Let’s provide them that thing.
The plan is good. Where you need help, and lots of it, is in crafting your sentences to communicate that chain of reasoning directly and clearly. I will offer suggestions in the next Reply.
First, as I always suggest, the best writing consists of Complex Ideas Clearly Expressed. Your ideas are in pretty good order. But your expression could be much clearer.
Going to the March For Humanity in Philly. I’ll return to this when I get back.
Citation trouble in P2.
SW, you can’t drop this quote on us without letting us know in advance what it’s supposed to demonstrate. The solution is very simple. Move your last sentence to the beginning. And make that sentence a real sentence. Right now it’s a fragment.
More syntax problems in P2. (Syntax is broader than grammar, StudentWriter. If the subject and verb disagree in number, that’s a grammar problem. But if a sentence is unsound overall, even if the parts of speech are correct, that’s a syntax problem.)
Misunderstanding can’t create traits, SW. It can create prejudice, a feeling that the misunderstood people have negative traits. We can fix that. We also need a subject for “being rational about the situation.” Right now, there isn’t a person in your sentence who can BE rational. We can fix that too.
The topic isn’t a failure, but your sentence says that it is. You say the topic is hidden AND thought of as failure. We can fix that.
There is no NEED for poverty, true or false, but your sentence says that there is. You say that dehumanizing the homeless leads to some ideas AND normalizes another idea. The several ideas are very different and probably shouldn’t be combined into one sentence. We can fix that.
You’re afraid to say who considers the homeless dirty and undeserving, SW. It’s probably those “non homeless” people you refer to, but your sentence doesn’t say so. We can fix that.
I need to hear from you about these Notes, StudentWriter. Do you object to my editing your work for you as a demonstration? Would you prefer another type of assistance? Does seeing these changes help you to make your own revisions on the rest of your work?
This is a conversation, always. If you respond, we can continue. I like to help, but I require your participation.
I’m sorry for not responding to these changes faster and I’ve made the appropriate changes to my work i hope this was the intention of the notes provided.
Perfectly all right. Glad I got your attention. I’ll check out your changes.
Let’s start with a close examination of your first paragraph, StudentWriter.
We’ve done an exercise in class specifically to eliminate “there is / there are” and “It is / that means” as ways to begin sentences. Don’t begin an essay with one of them. You mean: “People hold misconceptions.”
You can and should also eliminate the needless extravagance of “when it comes to,” which is useful only 5% of the times it’s used. You mean: “People hold misconceptions about the homeless.”
We assume that you mean, when you say, “in the United States,” that the people with the misconceptions are Americans, not that all people have misconceptions about American homeless people. So, you mean:
I used your opening as an example here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rDtno6bchb-3XByACW4OvaFjI8EuW9Cm03uXeqRX_w8/edit
Moving on to the second sentence:
This common error antagonizes your reader. It establishes a binary order and a moral authority, both of which you haven’t earned. Alert readers will resist you immediately because you plan to disabuse them of their flaws by sharing your wisdom. Seduce them instead. We’re all guilty. We jump to conclusions. We blame the homeless for their condition. It’s OUR fault, not the fault of THOSE READERS OF YOURS who are unforgiving. Your first two sentences combined become:
Your third sentence wrongly assumes that your readers have read Bornstein.
They have not read Bornstein. They don’t know what you’re talking about. You have to tell them, with purposeful summary, exactly as much as they need to know, and no more.
It’s hard to know how to fix this because you assume SO MUCH in this sentence, but this might work.
If what I’ve said makes sense so far, you might want to abandon the rest of the paragraph, but if you decide to salvage it, let’s look at the next sentence.
We need to stop antagonizing the “people who feel” the way they feel, so, maybe:
You acknowledge in your next sentence that the attitude you’ve been attributing to “despicable others” is counterproductive. So let’s do that:
Keep it personal and confessional here, StudentWriter. Don’t retreat to the third-person “A functioning society.” Make it ours, yours.
So, what do we have after we craft a paragraph that INVITES OUR READERS TO JOIN US IN SOME SOUL-SEARCHING?
You’ve sketched out the frame of a compelling argument, StudentWriter, but your tone undermines your persuasiveness. I hope you can hear that in your uncorrected draft. It’s perfectly understandable that you want to adopt the more enlightened perspective you just learned yesterday, but moral high-handedness convinces no one. As authors, the more we admit to sharing attitudes with our readers, the better we can persuade them to re-think some of our shared misconceptions. Does this make sense? I need your reply, please, along with further revisions.
This makes sense I will use a more relatable tone as I continue to edit.
No further revisions.