Are the homeless and the poor really looking for a hand-out from the government?

A McLin/Flickr

I am sick and tired of individuals stating directly or indirectly that “All the poor and homeless want are free handouts from the government.” This statement is so far from the truth. Individuals who receive social services supplements are really in need of these services in order to assist in their current impoverished conditions that were imposed upon them by the very people who have created social economic imbalance in the first place. A $200 income in entitlement cards and a $200 check is almost impossible to survive on unless you miss a few meals per week and walk several miles per week because you don’t have enough for transportation. Homeless people and the poor aren’t looking for the government to bail them out from the challenges and obstacles they face. These circumstances are the direct cause of disproportionately bad health among America’s poorest population in this country. It is this inequality that ensures that the poor and homeless are the last individuals to receive equal opportunity and fair economic growth to allow self-sufficiency and self-sustainability.

I don’t know one person on the face of this beautiful green earth who wants the government to take care of them. Instead they simply want to be able to take care of their families by providing all the necessary things their families need through living wages and affordable housing. There is an alarming problem with poverty and hunger in Washington, D.C., and it shows its ugly head through many avenues that aren’t apparent to the naked eye. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 17 percent, or about 110,500 D.C. residents, are impoverished. From 2011 to 2013, 13.2 percent of D.C. households experienced food insecurity. It’s even more deeply disturbing when certain individuals make unnecessary comments that are derogatory and demeaning to justify or intentionally ignore concerns that affect the poor and homeless who face these critical challenges on a daily basis.

What the poor and homeless need aren’t demeaning statements to elevate the speaker’s position and importance, but physical solutions that both end poverty and homelessness as well as elevate each individual who has been subjected to these unfortunate events in the first place. One thing is quite certain however: that homeless individuals who neither have nor are presently living out on the streets deserve critical and life-sustaining services — like Housing First Programs — as much as those who have survived horrific situation and circumstance by living on the streets. Further, homelessness and poverty shouldn’t be an opportunity to shame or belittle those who are less fortunate and mistreated. It should be an opportunity to educate, heal, grow, restore and recover them to their full potential. This kind of inappropriate behavior and or language only gives a false sense of  empowerment to the antagonist by trying to hurt one of the most abused and vulnerable individuals on the planet. May we all learn to be more compassionate, sensitive and humble to the homeless, who are in need of kindness and genuine support, as opposed to name-calling and insults

Issues |Jobs|Social Services

Region |Washington DC

information about New Signature, a Washington DC tech solutions and consulting firm


email updates

We believe ending homelessness begins with listening to the stories of those who have experienced it.