Comments to HUD Using Orwellian Language

This comment from Brook F. was left on our Blog about the Department of Housing and Urban Development trying to redefine the word "homeless."  It is such a good comment it deserves its own entry.  Here is a link to the blog entry and below is Brook F's comment.

Being homeless IS NOT HAVING YOUR OWN HOME, either renting or owning, THAT YOU CALL YOUR OWN. Homelessness is: living with family or friends because you DON'T have your OWN HOME due to loss of income, due to health or disability, or due to extenuating circumstances out of your control.

Being homeless and living in another's home, a shelter, or on the streets creates severe limitations socially, emotionally, physically and financially. It also is at a cost for those who are providing you shelter, in particular those who open their homes to you. They become burdened as well, despite their helpful intentions: an increase in utility usage, food, loss of privacy (for both families in the home), and a strain on the familial or friend relationship.

This is JUST A SMALL PORTION of what it means to be homeless. I know. I am a homeless person. I just got back on my own recently. It was not easy. It was with the help of others' services. I am also a full time social work student at Case MSASS, working towards my MSSA. HOMELESSNESS is more than just being "on the streets" or in "an uninhabitable" place to sleep. It is a mindset you fall into, it is a way of surviving, it is being stared at, ridiculed, pitied, ignored, dehumanized, and devalued. MY LIFE MATTERS. And so do the MILLIONS of other homeless lives in this country. We want sustainable, livable wage work, affordable and safe housing and neighborhoods, and to be seen for the human beings we are, with intelligence, wisdom, insight, and understanding of the world and others around us. WE ARE YOU. We always have been you-- Just harder hit.

Brook F left on the NEOCH website on March 13, 2017

Unfortunately, many who work in the shelters or social service providers are not listening and continue to insist on using the offensive phrase "literally homeless."  I will correct anyone who uses it with me, but the federal department keeps using it and making this offensive language common. 

Brian Davis

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