Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Why Can't Cities Find a Solution to Homelessness? Psychology of Poverty

As mentioned in a previous post, there is an assumption that poor people want to immediately be thrust into middle class economic levels.  However, it has been shown that the poor are not able to consider long term, large economic goals, unless they are handed to them.  The poor, generally, are able to consider short term humble goals, because their brain reduces their expectations and self-esteem.  

Most American cities’ approaches to the homeless is to give a few individuals large steps of economic improvement, while not having the resources to help the far majority of those on the same economic level.  This leaves the poor the feeling that escaping poverty has nothing to do with their own ability or with self-reliance, but a more “lottery” mentality of escaping their life of crisis.  If they are lucky enough, if they get placed on the right list, then they will escape poverty with little work on their part.

If there is a clear stair-step to economic development with short but attainable goals, then the homeless would have the confidence to establish their own goals and climb up that staircase at their own time, according to their own confidence bolstered by peers who climbed the same stairway.  If it is not available to everyone, or if economic development requires goals that are by chance (such as shelter that is gender based) or are too large (find low-cost housing and the government will pay for it), then it will be considered a lottery available to those lucky to receive it.

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