Friday, September 10, 2010

Who are the Homeless?

Who are the Homeless?

You see that tall gaunt gray-haired man who is panhandling at the corner? For many people he is the face of homelessness. We tend to think of the homeless as single men, beggars, failures.

But actually the facts are very different. 20% of the homeless are children. About 40% of the homeless are women who have finally managed to leave a violent husband or boyfriend. Another 40% are veterans.

These facts not only should make us reconsider our stereotypes of the homeless. They also tell us something very important about our country. Women– often with children – and veterans are victims of violence. Violence on the part of men breaks up marriages and forces women to flee. The violent choices of our leaders leaves behind generations of veterans deeply affected by the wars they were sent to fight.

Homelessness and its causes is one more reason for us to reconsider how prone we are to try to solve problems by violence. It is one more reason for us to consider becoming more peaceful.