Is Laziness the Reason for Homelessness?

Is homelessness caused by laziness? When I see a homeless person, I wonder what was the straw that broke the camels back? What happened in this person’s life to put them where they are? I don’t think that anyone wakes up one morning and says “Oh, I think I want to become homelessness starting…Now.” Once upon a time, I was not so concerned. I didn’t care, I found the homeless to be disgusting, and a nuisance. I would say rude things like “Get a job.” when approached by a member of the homeless population.

Some homeless people very well might be lazy. That doesn’t mean all homeless people are lazy. It is easier to assume that laziness is the reason for the misfortune of others, than it is to feel concern, or want to make a difference, or care.

I guess I started to feel more compassionately when a young guy took up residence by the pond across the street from my apartment complex. At first, I was pretty annoyed at the thought of looking out at the scenic pond, and seeing him there. My irritation started to subside, and was replaced by acceptance. After a month of indifference, I found myself feeling guilty. I lived in a lovely apartment, I wore clean clothes, enjoyed television, healthy meals, and a comfy existence. Three hundred yards away another human being lived by a pond, he bathed in the pond, and slept on cardboard. He wore dirty clothes, and picked up pennies from the ground, probably to survive.

I started thinking that ” Wow, the only thing that really separates me from him is my vehicle. My rent is $1200 a month. What if I lost my job? I would have to live in my car.” I knew I was very far from home, and I would be really screwed if misfortune fell into my lap. I found myself taking left overs from dinner, and bottles of water to the homeless kid. As I arrived at his spot at the pond I said “Hey, do you like spaghetti?” He said “Yes.” I said “Ok then, here. Bye.” I handed him a bag of spaghetti, water, and garlic bread. He said ” Thank You, this looks really good.” I hurried away.

A few days later my boyfriend and I took him a sandwich and soda, a few tshirts and pairs of socks. We talked to him for a few minutes. His name was Jon, from North Carolina, he was 20 years old. He wasn’t crazy, but damaged and shy. He wasn’t lazy, he just couldn’t get his self together, with a phone number, clothes or regular showers to find a job. He had no money, and no home to go back to in North Carolina.

It is so easy to assume that the homeless could change things immediately, if they wanted to. Laziness really isn’t the issue behind the situation. Lack of resources, education and money are the main causes, not to mention alcoholism, mental illness and abuse.

A small act of kindness can make a difference, if you don’t feel comfortable giving money to a homeless person, you can offer them a granola bar, a sandwich, or maybe a clean sweatshirt. What happens to people to result in their lack of a home is something that you may never know, but could it happen to you? If you found yourself out on the street would it be caused by laziness?

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