The homeless are people, first of all, and some people are lazy. To say, however that all homeless people are lazy is unkind. I watch many of my clients expend huge amounts of time and energy just to reclaim some basics: filling prescriptions, obtaining a birth certificate or social security card, or applying for food stamps. Getting a set of glasses, for one client, took about six hours because she had a long bus wait and a long bus ride each way. That’s a long time to go without a meal!
We really should look at the individual because there are different homeless people out there, not just one big group of “lazy homeless people.” It’s an unfair stereotype, really.
The clients here at the Center for Respite Care are homeless and sick, so they have to navigate crazy bus schedules, medical/social work appointments, and answering some bigger questions about what comes next. I won’t deny laziness in some, but I refuse to label them as a group. If you met a lazy accountant, would you assume that all other accountants are lazy? I hope that you would not. Take the same approach with homeless people.
In the Center for Respite Care lobby, there is a sign that reads, “Homelessness is a situation, not an identity.” None of us are immune to this situation, either, and realizing this helps build compassion. I’m not saying there aren’t lazy homeless people, I’m saying that there are lazy people in all walks of life. That doesn’t mean we can’t feel compassion for them.