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Street Hope

Unfortunately in our disdain, we often assume all street people are unworthy failing to realize the reasons for homelessness are many.

Few of us drive down the road looking for people holding cardboard signs.  At best when we see them, we quickly refocus our eyes on more pleasant scenes, all to often stereotyping them as lazy, or worse yet, as scammers – people attempting to only take advantage of our sympathies.  Unfortunately in our disdain, we often assume all street people are the same failing to realize the reasons for homelessness are many.

Basic Reasons for Homelessness

The exact reasons for homelessness are many and often varied. But as we read through the literature four basic reason come to the surface.

  1. The first one is history –  When a child is born in poverty, and grows up in poverty that’s all that child knows. Poverty becomes an endless cycle.
  2. The next reason is the unexpected – things just happen in people’s lives, such as natural disasters, wars, or failing economy and people find themselves in poverty or homeless.
  3. Next, people become disabled – major sicknesses or accidents cause lifelong injuries; jobs are lost – poverty, or worse yet, homelessness.
  4. Last poor choices –  people sometimes make poor choices in life and they get caught in the cycle of poverty or homelessness. Maybe they chose to take drugs, or maybe they chose to drop out of school, or they made the wrong friends – for whatever reason, poor choices can lead to poverty or even homelessness.

No matter what the reasons are for extreme poverty, the difference is what people do when poverty comes. Some become complicate and depended on handouts.  Others escape the hardships of the streets through drugs.  Still others learn how to scam and take advantage of the innocent. But despite what most do, there are a few that see hope beyond and struggle to make life better.

The Film

In Street Hope we purposely bypass the scammers, the lazy, and the druggies and focus our attention on those caught in adverse circumstances – those on the streets who would if they could change their situation for something better –  a home, a family, a job.

Two years ago when we wrote the course, College Writing Made Simple, we took to the streets of Portland asking the question, How does poverty affect society?  This time, we are not writing a course, but a documentary focused on getting behind the scenes to see life from the streets.  Our hope is not to change their perspective, but to change our perspective, because the line between having a home and not having a home is often only one step away.

Someday we too may find ourselves in the same situation on the streets.  We may not be lazy or druggies, but simply caught in life’s hard circumstances.  Street Hope will help us understand and hopefully give us the courage to see beyond to a better day.

Richard Carrigan

Richard Carrigan has been an educator for over 30 years. He has experience teaching professional and academic English. He earned his graduate degree from Shenandoah University.

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