High School Students Confront Stereotypes

The following are before and after statements from high school students at the “It’s Your Move” Conference which took place on March 12 at Case Western Reserve University. Every student filled out a sheet before the presentation about what they thought homelessness was, and then again after the presentation by members of the Coalition for the Homeless. Here are a sampling of their responses.

I think homelessness is when a person has no home - no place to live. They have no warm, safe place to go at night and no place to keep their belongings. What I’ve seen (on T.V.), homeless people sleep on streets, in cars and anywhere they can.

Homelessness is not something people choose. It happens and it can happen to anyone at anytime. I still see it as I did before, as someone without a home, but now I have a better understanding of it.

--AGE 16
BEDFORD HIGH SCHOOL


Homeless is being without someplace that you can stay permanantly.

It’s something you have no control of.

--AGE 16
TRINITY HIGH SCHOOL


Homelessness is a problem. In some cases people have been removed from their homes for various reasons, where women and children may be escaping domestic violence, or where the elderly are not supported anymore. Where people have become down on their luck.

I think the same as did before, but now I know that that I have to do anything in my power to help.

--AGE 15
WEST GEAUGA HIGH SCHOOL


Homeless means a person without a suitable or reliable place to live or just no place at all.

Homelessness is a person that has had problems in their life that affected them and caused them to be homeless.                                     --AGE 17

MARYCREST HIGH SCHOOL


A homeless person is someone that is forced to live on the street because they have no money, job or family support. People like me, but don’t have enough people caring about them.

A problem that isn’t going away and that we all need to help with.

--AGE 17
LORAIN CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL


Homeless to me is a hole in which one feels they can’t climb out of.

Homelessness could be a chance to start over.

--AGE 15
NORTON HIGH SCHOOL


Homelessness is the situation of people living on the streets for various reasons - runaways, war veterans, people who have lost their job and had housing taken away from them or who have lost their home through fire or other destruction.

Homelessness is people faced with situations that they can’t handle alone and the result is living on the street.

--AGE 17
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS H.S.


Homeless is when you do not have an income, or home. You may stay in shelters or work odd jobs to get a meal and/or money. You may live on the streets too.

Homeless is when you may not have a job, or someplace to stay. They are the same as you and I. It’s a bad situation.

--AGE 16
FIRESTONE HIGH SCHOOL


I think homelessness is when someone for some reason has no home to stay in, and is trying to survive in the streets.

I think homelessness is when someone has no permanant place to stay because of a problem they may have.

--AGE 14
LIBERTY HIGH SCHOOL


Homeless - someone less fortunate who does not have the bare necessities, e.g. a home, a family or a place to go.

--AGE 16
ST. IGNATIUS HIGH SCHOOL


Homelessness - A serious problem in our nation, faced by most major cities. The homeless are often unemployed, and often undereducated, although that is not always the case. The homeless are forced to live on the streets and often need to beg for sustenance.

Homelessness is a problem which can affect anyone but some can prepare for it better that others.

--AGE 15
MAYFIELD HIGH SCHOOL


Homelessness to me is when a person has nowhere they feel welcome, where they can get a hot meal, a place to stay, love and companionship.

Homelessness to me is basically the same thing. Someone that is unable to make positive choices about how they want to live their life.

            --AGE 15 ½
MARYCREST HIGH SCHOOL


Homelessness - When a person has no home, shelter or place to live.

Homelessness - Not having a job or not being financially stable so therefore you have no home.

--AGE 15
LIBERTY HIGH SCHOOL

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published March 1997-April 1997 Issue 20