The word “homeless” is used to describe many different kinds of people with a variety of problems; the “homeless” includes veterans, the mentally ill, the physically disabled or chronically ill, the elderly on fixed incomes, men, women, and families that have lost their source of income, single parents, runaway children who’ve been abused, alcoholics and drug addicts, immigrants, and traditional tramps, hobos, and transients (Martin, 1999). In “Helping and Hating the Homeless”, Peter Martin claims that although these people all have different backgrounds, histories, and reasons for not having a “home”, they are categorized and stereotyped by society and all looked down upon for being “homeless”. He addresses his readers, those that pass by
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The participants in this study were asked four questions: How does being homeless impact the way I perceive myself? How does being homeless impact my personal outlook and/or personal development? What/how strong are my hopes of getting out of this situation? And what is my perspective on having a permanent residence or home? Many participants felt like those around them were judging them, which made them embarrassed of their situation. They also expressed that they try to look at the positives of where they are and where they are going. Throughout their answers they discuss how the stereotypes impact they way they perceive themselves and those around them, one participant said: For a lot of us, it is just that we are here. You can beat me over the head all you want; I have to figure this out myself, and thank you for offering. [Nonetheless] you know I’m going to try to be as nice as I can. It is not the end of the world: I do not have to be a bad person because I am homeless. I do not have to be mean and scream and yell and tantrum like a three-year-old either (23).
Many of these homeless people feel like they are completely looked down upon and expected to act out of line because of the way they are viewed by the public. Another participant explained that lots of times people will hassle them on the street and treat them like they are scum. He explained