Hatred for Homelessness: Why the Aggravation?

Homelessness is on the rise, and public accommodations can’t keep up. Can we provide a welcoming environment? Will we be able to break to stigma?


Mohss Elaine, Staff Writer

Homelessness is an issue that is prevalent everywhere, but is often refused acknowledgment. When ignorance is bliss, we tend to leave those who desperately need our help in the dust in favor of keeping our minds in easy rest. The need to separate ourselves from those who we deem less than us becomes more frequent as the winter months pass by; those who show their kindness to the homeless are seen as martyrs. Though the homelessness problem only gets worse, there are little to no forwarding on eradicating it.  


When everywhere you go requires a full wallet, where can those who carry their lives on their backs turn to? There are few places that have exalted the use of paying for their product, but one sticks out like a gash among sore thumbs- public libraries. Public accommodations, like restaurants and public transportation are often known to turn away the homeless, or choosing to ignore their presence all together. Public libraries, however, continue to be institutions that -although begrudgingly- welcome the homeless.


There are many stipulations against the homeless population that often seem to outweigh any sort of positive an open institution like a public library can give, from the overwhelming hatred given by sheltered citizens to the flat out exclusion of homeless citizens for arguably idiotic reasons. Regardless of what point of history you turn to, the homeless population is overlooked and stereotyped into being deceptive drug abusers. The most common reason for this stereotypical viewpoint is the sheltered population’s outward hatred for the homeless.


It’s one thing to keep to yourself; it’s another to publicly belittle someone for their living situation. Some authors for articles much like this one will openly hate others for their current afflictions. An article by Louis Fowler, a former public librarian, titled “The 5 People Who Make Me Hate the Public Library” explained in detail his distaste for most of the public library’s visitors. He put the homeless and mothers in the same categories as sexual perverts, calling the library a “makeshift sexual habitat”. The narrow viewpoints of this author clearly exhibit how many people think, if this article was considered publishable. Regardless of the real reason behind writing what seems to be a satirical article, it still damages an already tarnished image of the homeless.


It truly baffles me, a more-than-regular of our high school’s library, that someone who has the ability to provide a helpful, welcoming space such as a public library can close the barrier between themselves and the rest of the population so harshly. Libraries are more often than not a safe haven for people that cannot provide for themselves, or simply need a peaceful place. Are you really that entitled to think that a free, public area that is required to let the population in is yours to decide who belongs there?


You cannot solve the problem of homelessness by creating an elitist mindset and excluding people. The divide only grows greater when we burn bridges. I recognize that there are many steps to taking care of homelessness, and that simply stating my position on the matter doesn’t change major issues. However, it is extremely important that the message of hate is not spread, and respect for others is crucial to changing anything.


No matter what you do or where you go, remember to respect others, regardless of their outside image. Keep your words kind, and the public libraries welcoming!