Hiding the the truth

I asked a question on We Are Visible about whether or not folks hide the fact that they are homeless or have ever been homeless. As expected, everyone’s answer varied according to their situation but I have to ask, why? Why hide something that is becoming a growing epidemic? Why hide the fact that there wasn’t a safety net in place when so many are slipping through the cracks of a social services program or programs that policy makers are unraveling quickly?

Yes, there is the attitude among many that homeless folks must be lazy, have addiction problems or mental health issues but you know what? If you let those kinds of attitudes influence you against standing up for yourself or speaking up for compassion, then you are feeding into a system of negativity. I see this as no different from those who say that you shouldn’t tell anyone that you were abused as a child or that you should keep it a secret that you were raped.

That being said, I still think that folks should work at making their lives worth living. Taking handouts to perpetuate complacency contributes nothing to getting out of homelessness. This is not the same as accepting help when you’ve done everything you can to help yourself but still can’t get out of homelessness due to revolving door policies that don’t work or make things worse.

I also understand that there may be times that you might want to use discretion about revealing your circumstances. A lot of employers have issues with hiring homeless people even though a job would certainly help towards ending homelessness. To my way of thinking, it’s a person’s skills and experience that determine whether or not I hire them; not their living situation.

I am a homeless single mother and this is what I write about. I am not ashamed of my situation, I’m ashamed of others who did nothing to stop it. It is my goal to educate others about the growing reality of homelessness in this country. I encourage those of us “in the closet” to come forward and let people know what’s going on in your world.

The more people know, the less they have to fear….right?

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About invisibull

Let's see now, what should I say on here to make people think I'm more interesting than I actually am...I'm a single mother of two with a passion for helping others less fortunate than myself. I like to write, finished a book and am working on another. Other than that I live a real-life video game where the goal is to get out of homelessness and provide a better future for my kids. Peace!
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9 Responses to Hiding the the truth

  1. Galaxian says:

    “I also understand that there may be times that you might want to use discretion about revealing your circumstances. A lot of employers have issues with hiring homeless people even though a job would certainly help towards ending homelessness. To my way of thinking, it’s a person’s skills and experience that determine whether or not I hire them; not their living situation” (Quoted from this post, above).

    Why employers look at such things: They want to hire a responsible, reliable person. To maximize their odds of getting one, they make simplifying assumptions regarding the observable characteristics a responsible person has, such as a stable residential history, a car, a phone, a cell phone, a home computer with internet access, and a clean record with bureaus of credit, criminal identification, and driver licensing.

    Some business publications even advise against hiring a candidate who, at any time in their adult life, has had a spell of unemployment longer than two months.

    Factors of this type are significant barriers. It is possible to get a casual, day-labor job without credentials. Some production, construction, and restaurant firms also may hire someone with a checkered past. But a homeless person unwilling to take absolutely the bottom of the barrel in the labor market can expect to remain homeless. Even if the minimum-wage job is obtained, expect to work at least 60 hours a week to keep a roof overhead.

    • invisibull says:

      I think “credentials” can be forms of discriminating against those who don’t have them or are unable to obtain them. Look at all the crooks who have embezzled from companies that had “clean records” with the bureaus of credit….just a thought! 🙂

    • Galaxian says:

      This of course is blatantly Neanderthal. Lots of good people are in bad spots. But, in a private-property state where freedom of association mandates at-will hiring, it represents the way things are. If you want work, you cannot show any weaknesses in your employment application. Later, when you have a job, you can perhaps explain your weak spots and be understood, after all, everyone has these. But the application and interview are designed to screen candidates out. You won’t be able to lie about your motor vehicle, credit, or criminal record. But if an ally allows you to use their address & phone as a “base,” then you can at least do that.

  2. slohomeless says:

    I think you answered your own question when you penned the sentence: “I also understand that there may be times that you might want to use discretion about revealing your circumstances.”

    Due to the many stereotypes that surround homelessness, there is a socially pervasive air of fear: non-homeless folks are afraid of the homeless and the homeless are afriad of being stigmatized. Nor does it help that the homeless support services industry (who should be leading the fight) has done little or nothing to dispel those stereotypes — and, in fact, often times use those stereotypes as a means to excuse their overall lack of reducing the numbers of homeless in their respective communities.

    – michael –

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  4. Query Eve says:

    I live in an RV, or should I say, my home has wheels 🙂 I found your blog by reading an article a friend posted on Facebook, and then doing a little digging for more as your story intrigues me. I have three kids and I am a single mom as well. By all intents and purposes I am homeless. I prefer to say I am not living in a stick house at this time, since the way I look at it, this is just a phase and one day we won’t live in an RV anymore. Maybe a bus. Or even a camper van. And then after that, someday one day, we’ll live in a house on land with a garden and craft house. We’ve lived in cars before… Camped in forests… and Stayed with friends… I don’t drink or do drugs either, and I finally came out of the dysfunctional relationship, which was the primary reason we stopped living in stick houses for a time. I don’t know if this interests you but I also have a blog, http://www.queryeve.wordpress.com/ and right now we are parked and I am working on my home business. I want to buy your books in a few weeks but I would prefer that you get the sum of the money if that is possible, please email me 🙂

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  7. Peter says:

    After fighting hard for two years to avoid eviction my wife (who is disabled) and I were finally unable to avoid the inevitable, and in early March we lost the fight. It’s a long story, and it’s getting longer with each passing day.

    The hardest part to bear was my wife’s abandonment by her family of origin right when we needed their support the most (one relative is a multimillionaire by inheritance and we were told not to contact her under any circumstances, so we didn’t; when my wife’s pastor became concerned at our plight and called the relative to make sure she knew our circumstances, we were threatened by a member of the family with being arrested with a view to being charged with harassment).

    We fell through just about every crack there is and then some. So many programs have failed because of sometimes intentional underfunding or have had to shut their waiting lists down because they’re becoming silly (durations running into years rather than days), while others are set up exclusively for one demographic (such as those older than 62, those with substance abuse programs who are single, or those with mental health issues).

    We have been amazed at the number of programs that offer only dormitory-style sleeping arrangements, which inevitably means segregation of the sexes (and as I’m my wife’s carer, that’s a really difficult obstacle when none of the shelters provide substitute carers to help out, let alone reasonable levels of security).

    Being required to be out during the day is also a hardship when you don’t have anywhere to store your belongings (such as a transport wheelchair, walker, tub bench, and so on).

    Politicians who argue that they have to cut social programs in order to make the economic system healthier should be hung, drawn and quartered IMHO. At a time when military spending is obscenely high and being protected by special interests, this mindset ought to be political suicide and it should be a matter of national shame that it isn’t.

    To employers who want to hire only those with no blemishes on their history I’d say: you’re shaping up to have your business fail very soon. Eventually there will be no potential employee whatsoever who doesn’t have some kind of recent problem, whether it’s poor credit or homelessness or a history of short term contracts (which are generally the responsibility of previous employers, obviously, who have responded to a need to manage budgets by cutting back severely on staff).

    We could do with a rating system akin to the Federal Food Code that is applied to restaurants and other providers of prepared food, only in this case it’s whether the business has a strong social conscience so we can determine those firms that are worth doing business with or applying to work for.

    Some firms tout their apparent sense of social responsibility but the reality is that they pay only lip service to it, so weeding out the fakers would be vital. Let the process of natural selection (where we are “Nature”) get rid of those that don’t contribute positively to the community.

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