I challenge anybody on this forum to go deep into Downtown Detroit where most of the homeless live and walk one day in their shoes and then tell me that mentall illness plays a role. Live one day in the soup kitchens and serve these folk , I bet you that you will change your mind. You'd be surprised how these people use to live! How many of you have the will-power to do it?
I ask this because I have done it and I've seen the other side of things and I have changed my way of looking at the homeless. It will touch your heart ladies and gents.....
The homeless are those who are down on their luck. Mental illness has nothing to do with it. The way the economy has been flushed down the toilet and the way this country has been acting would drive anyone within the middle class standards to drop off the grid. Most of the homeless on the streets use to be wealthy and living high on the throne. One screw up is all it takes to loose everything. There is one thing they have that most dont ; and that's will power and faith. they are the strong one, they are the ones fighting to survive each and everyday they are alive. Not everyone has had the fortunate luxury of eating off the golden spoon.
Oh well, I have been a millionaire and also homeless.... the issues are complex, for example in London where I was homeless, there are enough places to wash every day, and rather than buy a can of fortified beer, it is possible to buy a razor and shave, so I think the classic images of homeless people represent something other than just people that are down on their luck - homeless means - without a home, it does not mean, unclean, drunk, unshaven, begging or any other images that the image above portrays.
For myself I dilligently washed as much of myself as was decently possible every day, given the choice between a beer or a bar of soap, there was simply no question which I would chose, there are plenty of places where you can get food in London and I believe now there are even shelters in London, getting them used is another matter.
Homeless people fall into different categories,
Addicts (of one from or another)
People so disassociated and mistrustful of society that they can not ( or do not want to be helped)
People who don't wish to change their situaiton and those that do.
Normal people in a temporary difficult situation (as was I)
Of course it can be a combination of all of the above.
Getting people off the street, can involve dealing with addiction, self esteem, history of abuse or just giving people a chance.
There are a lot of people in Western society who are emplyed to help homeless people, and I was lucky enough to benefit from such charity, however I think there are routes out of homelessness and addiction in most rich Western societies, unlike the billions who live in poverty throughout the Third World... and when it comes to sympathy I am inclined to feel more for those that have virtually no possibility of escape from their plight than those that do. ( I am walking proof that you can get yourself out of the gutter in the UK at least)
However, I do remember a very amaible chap who was involved in an accident at work (hit on the head with a scaffold pole), the subsequent brain damage, left him without the mental capacityl to sue anyone, or even to functiion in a modern society, his wife and kids left him, and he was left to fester on the streets - that was something that always stuck with me....
I feel that many poor people are in that situation because of bad luck, not of their own doing and some are in that siruation because of mental illness and some are there simply because they're too lazy to do anything with their lives.