The other day I was walking to the bus stop after work and I saw a mother and her child walking down the sidewalk. I looked at the little boy, he must of been three or four, and I saw how happy he was. He was smiling just like all children should, not having a single worry to think about.
I then thought to myself, I hope that boy is never homeless. I got so sad picturing that little boy growing up and ending up on the streets. His life flashed by in my head and picturing him suffering from poverty and homelessness was heartbreaking. This little boy, having a good day, laughing, and playing, growing up to be like one of our guests at the Gubbio was a horrible thought.
In my experience with the injustice of homelessness, if you are someone who lives on the street than that is the only identity people think about. Before this year, when working with people who live on the streets I would only think of them as being people who struggled with poverty. I would think about what caused people to become homeless. I would think about what could be done to help people off the streets. This mentality creates the identity of a "homeless person".
We should change the identity of a "homeless person" to a "person that is homeless". I don't want to work with the guests at the Gubbio and only think of them as being homeless. I want to think of them as a child laughing and having a great day playing and messing around. I want to think of them on their wedding day, celebrating a major moment in their live with all their loved ones. I want to think of them holding their grandchildren for the first time tearing up with joy.
A person is not defined by being homeless, a person just sometimes is affected by homelessness.