It is a common concept for most communities to have prejudicial ideas about the homeless in general. The homeless are considered lazy, addicts, criminals and general ne’er-do-wells. These stereotypical ideas do not cease necessarily when one becomes homeless. The ideas persist, because they see some people who meet these qualifications. This means that the homeless will often define themselves as a group by these same stereotypes that they are wrongly characterized by.
One of the ways that we know that it is not true is that individual homeless usually see themselves as being the stand out from the rest of their community. “Sure, they are all like that, but not me. I’m still the same as I used to be.” They see themselves as hard working, while others are lazy. They are moral, while others are immoral. This is partly because in these areas there is such a variety of work and a variety of moralities that it is sometimes difficult to see others as actually having something that they have an alternative form of.
And when a person gets off the street they either look at their friends still on the street with either disrespect or pity. But they see themselves as “different” now that they have an apartment or a job.