The West Has Elevated Nations Of Millions. Why Not Its Own Homeless?

mobil shower facility in Sioux City, Iowa
A mobile shower facility for people who are homeless helps with hygiene. But isn't this the institutionalization of homelessness? Shouldn't everyone have housing?

A must-watch Ted Talk1 uses global statistics in an extraordinary animated way that is highly visual and actually understandable! The talk and its attendant animation punctures the myth that there still exists an elite ‘Western World’ floating serenely above a sea of human misery in ‘underdeveloped’ or ‘third world’ countries.

It seems that over the last few decades, a large number of other countries (though far from entirely all) have joined the the ‘West’ in its elevated life, whether by pulling themselves up by their own political bootstraps, hitching a ride through interaction with ‘Western’ economies, or both.

Better health, more education, greater longevity, and more material comfort have spread across the world. The ‘West’ has arguably been at very least a catalyst in this process.

But for all the ‘West’ has contributed to other nations and other citizens, it has remained remarkably unable to elevate its own homeless populations beyond ‘third world’ standards of poverty, misery, and early death. If anything, this problem is getting progressively worse.

Why? One convenient excuse for waving away a problem staring the West in the face is to classify homeless people as deservedly beneath notice — an underclass who are best defined as victims of their own toxic bad habits, and thus undeserving of basic human kindness and support.

A way of dispelling some of the myths that create the ‘untouchable’ categorization of homelessness is to meet some of them at a level beyond a handout.

A book that co-authored by two formerly homeless men provides that opportunity: The Man In The Dog Park

You can read excerpts in Next City: The Skills And Schedules Needed To Navigate An Unsheltered Life


  1. The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen


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