It’s time to expand our grossly inadequate understanding of homelessness

The Chicago Reporter

In the report, William Darity from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy challenges the status quo perspective on homelessness. “Indeed, close to half the individuals who are homeless in the United States actually have jobs: the problem is the jobs pay very poorly.” He continues his discussion about the working poor by exposing how the reality that uncertainty of hours, fluctuations in payment and salaries, and absence of quality work environments perpetuate and pull people into “toxic conditions” of homelessness.

As someone who has seen and experienced this firsthand, and has family members who are in this very state of flux between working homeless and shared occupancy status, I appreciate that there is more research on this issue and that our definitions are being expanding. However, there is still so much more to be done.

In no way do I wish to minimize the complexity of the issue, nor reduce the solution down to a three-point sermon, however, there are ways community leaders must begin to impact the problem of homelessness. We must realize that our definitions and presuppositions about homelessness are not always comprehensive. What we think about this issue is reflected in what we speak and communicate. We must be willing to challenge and change the narrative that parks the homeless problem in a box comprising only people who live without shelter on the streets and expand that narrative.

Read the full article here .