Homelessphobia: Another Layer of Hate Against the Poor

Tiny - Posted on 12 November 2020

By Queennandi Xsheba Shabazz, PNN KEXU


There are always mixed feelings when people walk past one of our folks who is homeless, sitting on a sleeping bag or a donated mattress sifting through food given to them by a stranger. There are feelings of helplessness, cluelessness or pity towards individuals going through such hardships in life.


With limited resources coming from the city or state, compassionate folks from all walks of life would take to the streets and distribute food, clothing and other necessities to help alleviate some of the burden of struggle. Even with the dark cloud of Covid hovering above us there are kind souls who try to lend a helping hand to those in need.


On the other hand, there are many people who look down upon poor folks as a “blight” and nothing more than drug addicted mentally ill individuals with the agenda of “getting over on people” to buy a slice of the “devil’s pie” (drugs) and/or alcohol.  Harsh judgement spews from the mouth of passer-bys such as “you people need to be wiped off the face of the earth” or “get a job, you bum!” Saying these kinds of comments to someone that is facing spirit-breaking difficulties in their lives is like giving that final “kick in the face” to them and being “better off” is not an excuse to add on this extra layer of hatred onto an already lost soul.


Poor folks who are in struggle with substance or mental health issues living on the streets are not the only ones feeling the brunt of this burden. We have children who live in cars, hotels and tents who have to live with the experiences of poverty on a daily basis, along with elders with major health problems in which a high percentage of them die within a year of being homeless and vulnerable. In doing my WeSearch I have come across families who worked two jobs while raising children- all while living in a tent because of not only being economically impacted by Covid, but the nosebleed- high rent in the bay area makes it very difficult for folks to obtain decent and safe housing. With that being said, should innocent children and elders be “wiped off the face of the earth” also?


Being homeless is not just a “death sentence” for people dealing with substance or other life altering issues, this violation of human laws affects anyone all across the board regardless of age, gender or cultural background. However when it comes to looking at the injustice system as a whole it is people of color who had the most stones casted upon them. 


Instead of pointing the finger at someone who chose to self-medicate in (dis)order to cope with the systematic hell they have endured, let’s change the conversation to shaming the so-called leaders who always had a bad reputation of “shuckin’ and jivin” around with the issues surrounding poverty. Shame on the “leaders” for enabling “gentrifukation” and greed to push women, men, children, elders AND pets out onto the streets in the first place. Shame on “leaders” for issuing a “stimulate nothing” payment at the beginning of this year that wasn’t even enough for most folks to cover one months’ rent and still continue to “shuck and jive” around the negotiation table over the fate of this nation. It is also shameful that the “homelessphobia” attitude is tolerated to the point that poor folks have been criminalized, attacked and in some cases killed for no reason other than being poor. 


Hatred does not contribute to helping those who cannot help themselves nor does it heal the traumatized spirit, hatred is just another ingredient added to the already potent poison that has killed off the consciousness and morality of this country.


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