Homeless Thoughts: "The Circle of Homelessness"

During the next six weeks we will be discussing issues that the homeless face, most of these issues you may not be aware of. There are issues that the homeless face that keep them from getting off the street that you may not realize. One of the reasons for this series is to try to help you gain a better understanding of the circumstances they find themselves in. It is really important when you are trying to help someone that you try to look at the situation through his or her eyes.

This week we will be talking about the circle of homelessness. In order to get a legitimate job you need an ID card. If you do not have an ID you may be stuck getting a series of cash only jobs (which creates another set of problems that we will discuss next week). In order to get a to get an ID card you need an valid address in the City you are trying to get the ID in, and since 9/11 the government is very stringent on those requirements. Probably the most obvious statement I’m going to make this week is that in order to have a valid address you are going to need money. Finally, in order to have money you are going to have to get a job. Now start at the beginning of this paragraph and you now can see the circle of homelessness. I put together a diagram below to better explain how this circle works.

Once you get stuck on the outside of the circle it can be very daunting for the person to get back in. I have talked to people who have become very demoralizing and frustrating as they try to enter the circle.I have seen people break into this circle at all different parts; however, none of the entry points are easy. The way that most people enter is by working a series of off-the-book jobs or day labor jobs in order to gain enough money to get a place to live. However, for most people who live on the edge of the circle of homelessness, you are often less than a month from being on the outside looking in.

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