The title of this blog is, A Blessing in Disguise, a treasure chest at a homeless shelter.
A homeless shelter symbolizes the ultimate rockbottom that no one wants reach. As soon as I arrived at a local shelter in mid-December of 2016, however, I was quite elated. There was no doubt that I was materially poor. Without having reached this state, there was no way I could have gained the access to the realm that was filled with raw truths of life, especially the one in America.
While I am observing each of them diligently at this place, I’ve noticed several newspaper articles about the growth of homelessness in America. However, the societal approach against this issue has always been consistent by offering pity. It has neither worked for the government nor the homeless individuals. Why not? All programs operate based on the helpers’ perspective of what is appropriate for the needy. And, all of them are about cosmetic difference in the state of homelessness, rather than confronting its cause.
This blind spot applies to journalists as well. Although they claim objectivity by gathering the data from multiple sources, their third-person perspective that can at most either be critical or sympathetic with their subject matter. And, most newspapers tend to be sympathetic with homelessness, which makes it difficult to tackle the problems in honesty.
This blog is to offer a first-person viewpoint of an individual who currently accesses a local homeless shelter in New Jersey. I offer the direct experience, both good and bad, of what it is like to go through this system. Having a direct access to a variety of homeless individuals as their peer allows more frankness than to the governmental staff or outsiders. Compared to many other homeless individuals who had been marginalized for most of their lives, I have journeyed the entire spectrum of the class system. Therefore, I’ve detected the class and cultural differences that might not be apparent to others, which accumulates disadvantages in one’s life.
In the end, this blog is to accomplish four goals. First is to pinpoint the fundamental problems that are ignored by dissecting the data of homeless individuals in so many ways. Second is to suggest broader and long-term oriented approaches that can prevent and stop homelessness in America. Third is to serve as a mirror for the readers to examine their own lives through the examples out of the extremes, which is the clearest and easiest to learn. Fourth is to demonstrate the flaw of our economic principle, which has denigrated this country at an expedited pace in the recent decades. Homelessness is the ultimate destination of how far this idea can drag one’s life. Reaching the wider public with this truth has been my futile pursuit of the past 21 years, which eventually led me to where I am.
The homeless shelter has been very helpful to offer the reality of consequences to support my conceptual argument.