A privileged person’s guide to dismantling their own biases, stigma, and othering of people experiencing homelessness

(A work in progress)

Everyone is a human being
Everyone has human rights
Everyone deserves to have access to basic human needs and that includes shelter

There are many reasons people are experiencing homelessness
I do not know these reasons
I cannot tell if someone is homeless just by looking at them

I will do my best not to look down on anyone
I will not ignore or dismiss people because they happen to be homeless
I will treat people experiencing homelessness like I would any other person

I will do my best not to place blame or make value judgments
When I place blame or make value judgments, I will challenge myself
I will challenge my own biases and assumptions
I will challenge myself when I think of people experiencing homelessness as an “Other”
I will ask myself why I think these things
I will ask myself how I can think differently

We are all human
We all deserve a better world
I am a part of this process

Did you know:
Montreal tickets people experiencing homelessness for things like “loitering, spitting, dropping cigarette ends, lying on a public bench, being drunk in public, and jaywalking. However, the homeless population, by definition, has no other option but to use public spaces to carry out private functions." Toronto tickets many people for similar "crimes" under the Safe Streets Act.
People experiencing homelessness find it difficult to pay these fines and  end up in jail.
Between 2000-2010 the number of people panhandling and squeegeeing have decreased, but during the same period, there has been a 2147% increase in tickets given out through the Safe Streets Act in Toronto.
Between 2000-2010 only $8,086.56 worth of these fines were paid while just the policing alone cost taxpayers close to a million dollars.
Laws are used to criminalize the experience of being homeless.
These laws also send a message about who deserves the protection of the law, who deserves to use public space, and who deserves a private place to do the things they need to in order to live. If you’re experiencing homeless, apparently you’re undeserving of all these things.

Did you know:

Some thoughts and ponderings on the connections between Othering and deservedness

I just finished reading the article “Public Policy and the Social Construction of Deservedness" by Helen Ingram and Anne Schneider and it’s gotten me reflecting on the connections between Otherness and deservedness. (Note: This might be a little dense.)

Four things:

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Anonymous said: So this isn't a question but just wanted to let you know that people care and are reading this and this blog is awesome, so by extension you are awesome!

Thank you!

courteousaviarist said: I don't actually have a question for you, but I just wanted to tell you that I've enjoyed reading your posts. I think you're speaking about a problem that needs to be talked about much more. Much, much more. I'm looking forward to reading your future posts! Regards from Tennessee, U.S. (:

Thank you so much for your kind words and support! :)


Your message is intended to shame people on welfare and to spread the message that people on welfare are undeserving of the money they receive. Not only is this unfair, the idea that welfare is a “career opportunity” is a blatant lie.

Your message is intended to shame people on welfare and to spread the message that people on welfare are undeserving of the money they receive. Not only is this unfair, the idea that welfare is a “career opportunity” is a blatant lie.

Elites in 1834:Make social supports as shitty as possible so the people on them will be miserable and will be forced to work for us for shitty wages!
Elites in 2012:Make social supports as shitty as possible so the people on them will be miserable and will be forced to work for us for shitty wages!
The Legacy of the Poor Laws

We judge people in poverty as deserving or undeserving all the time. This post is about the history of how we came to think that it’s okay to judge people like this.

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